My Story – Dave Henard

Member's Bio

Dave is a published author with Victory Stolen  The Perspectives of a Helicopter Pilon on the Tet Offensive and Its Aftermath.

Dave became a member of Prairie Aviation Museum in 2022 and has assisted with our Special Event Days by hosting our OZ and Huey helicopters.

Dave worked with to produce the Angels On Assignment song and video about his experience in Vietnam.

My Story

An unpublished story.

The above picture is of our Diamondhead 10 pilots, the fire team that I commanded as the Diamondhead 10 team leader. There is one extra in the picture, Major Hipp, the second from the tallest.

Seeing this reminded me of a couple of very similar missions that I did not include in my book. There was no after-action report and for that reason, I could not put dates or locations to the actions.

We were scrambled twice to give close fire support to Green Beret officers, some of the very finest Americans who have walked this earth. These guys led company sized units of South Vietnamese soldiers or ARVN and were located in small base camps near very small villages. There were some very good ARVN units, but those irregular units led by our Green Berets were not top notch. These camps were usually surrounded with berms (or large piles of earth).

Our troops were easily identified by the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese because our guys were usually a head taller (don’t consider a fish heads and rice diet). This wasn’t good because the patrols that were often launched from the small base camps were ambushed on a regular basis, resulting in wounded Green Beret Commanders or radio operators for them, or both.

The commanding officer always kept the radio operator close by, because it was literally a lifeline for them. With this mission, I usually went down to low level flight just over the tree tops to get the attention of the bad guys so that they couldn’t cause more damage to our finest.

It was also necessary because I needed to see where the enemy was so that I could set up our fire mission. They were usually very close to our friendlies, which made it impossible to use artillery or fast mover air support. In both cases, the ARVN troops had retreated and in one case they had made it back to their base camp by the time we were overhead.

Our rockets, M60’s, and miniguns caused great damage and discouragement to those evil communists. We stayed on station until the Medevac aircraft made it to our location. We escorted the Red Cross aircraft into a landing area close to our wounded, and escorted them out. The dust-off aircraft didn’t have machine guns, but that didn’t stop the bad guys from hosing them down.

These were two of my favorite missions because I knew that we had saved
lives and because I respected the Green Berets and their mission so much.
Quote from the book by John Steinbeck about pilots: