174th Assault
Helicopter Company

Night Maintenance

Mechanics of the 409th TC (Transportation Corps) Detachment often worked tirelessly through the day and night to keep the Dolphins and Sharks flying. They worked hard, lived without frills, received little credit, and put their lives on the line to perform scheduled and unscheduled maintenance and repair battle damage to the 174th helicopters. Many U.S. soldiers are alive today because the unit's helicopters were ready when needed--the gunships to drive off the bad guys and the slicks to fly out the wounded to field hospitals. Without the dedication of the men of the 409th, the helicopters could not fly and the 174th as a unit could not function.

The two photos below are combined into one. They were taken at night in mid-1969 on the 174th maintenance ramp while working on a UH-1H Dolphin. The ramp was constructed from PSP (Perforated Steel Planking). The small inset picture is taken from behind the illumination lights used by the mechanics to work into the night. The larger picture is taken from the opposite side of the same Huey. The lights used to illuminate the helicopter were a cluster of five super-bright aircraft landing lights mounted together. Landing lights in this configuration were sometimes mounted in the doorway of a slick (Dolphin) and used on nighttime "firefly" missions. Fireflys would accompany the gunships (Sharks) on missions at night and illuminated the battlefield as the gunships worked out on the targets. Where the mechanics got these lights to pull maintenance with, we didn't ask. (Photo taken by Dave Lovett, Duc Pho, mid-1969)