This page is dedicated to 
Fred Thompson

Shark 7, 1970/71
August 1948 - November 2002

Succumbed to lung cancer
8 November 2002
GiaVuc02ab.jpg

Team of "Shark" Guns (UH-1C) standing  on the south end of Gia Vuc airfield 
(taken from north to south)  
December 1970/January 1971 , Photo courtesy of Fred Thompson, CW2, Shark 7

A TEST FOR THE WEARY MIND!

In-fact, a trip to Gia Vuc was not just a test but a treat for all of one's faculties.  The incredible beauty of the entire area, 
matched only by the awe of mystery that enveloped it.  Our unit participated in many diverse missions other than the combat assaults 
and re-supply of units in the field.  The LRP insertion-extractions held excitement and challenge.  
The mountain-valley spray missions and emergency medical evacuations all kept the adrenaline flow constant.  
We were situated on the coast, east of Gia Vuc and there was an almost false security there that one felt only vulnerable to attack 
from three sides rather than four.  While flying in the slick platoons. I had the opportunity to fly into Gia Vuc on several occasions 
and even once was weathered-in, forcing an uneasy R-O-N (remain-over-night)  The highlight being the wonderful hospitality 
extended to our crew of food, shelter, scotch, whiskey and security of the aircraft. 
I didn't quite realize it at the time, but every one of our crews took enormous pride in having been privileged to support 
the Special Forces in Any capacity at any time.  

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Picture one is taken looking north, from the south end of the airfield . . note 174th "Dolphin" slicks standing-by to load packs. 
December 1970/January 1971 
Photo courtesy of Fred Thompson, CW2, Shark 7

Gia Vuc was not just a few mountain valleys west of the coast.  It was Out there.  Like Kham Duc, this was what seemed 
the very heart of Indian territory to us.  It took nearly 45 minutes for us to fly one-way and with our armaments, we were regularly 
deep into a "twenty-minute" fuel warning light upon our return to Duc Pho.  The mountain valleys contained numerous well tended 
crops and terraced rice paddies.  Because of the lack of air traffic over these areas, "Charlie" had the luxury of tending some of these 
fields in broad daylight.  The more food he produced here, the less that had to be brought south to sustain him.  On one such return 
from Gia Vuc, we had three gunships that had been part of a LRP operation.  It was getting near dark and we caught what we observed 
to be four uniformed regulars in the open, up a draw, above a rice paddy.  They scrambled towards weapons but were beaten to the draw.

My last visit was as armed-aerial escort to the Dolphin slicks prior to a combat assault into a neighbouring mountain valley to the northwest.  I took these few photographs as the ARVN troops were being trucked to the airfield.  We had shut down for fuel  
conservation to allow us to complete the mission as fuel was limited at the location at the time we arrived.  You'll note though 
that no crew chief or gunner even considered tying the blades down to enable a speedy departure.  These pictures were taken in late December 1970 or early January of 1971.  Within weeks of this, our unit would pack up all essentials and move north to Quang Tri 
for Dewey Canyon II - Lam Son 719.  

My last visit was as armed-aerial escort to the Dolphin slicks prior to a combat assault into

Fred Thompson (then CW2, Shark 7 . . . '70-'71) 

To find more about
the174th Assault Helicopter Company
 visit their excellent website at: 
http://www.174ahc.org/

 

Go to the Green Beret website

 Steve Sherman the  archivist for 
 the Special Forces and Special Operations Associations  
 Need your help!

 

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