CW2 Ralph M. Robinson
I was a member of the 174th from June 1969 to July 1970. I was the only non-rated Warrant Officer in the company. This was my third combat tour, but my first in Vietnam. My first two combat tours were in Korea as a Medical Corpsman, first with the 3rd Recon Company, 3rd Infantry Division in 1950-51, and then with the 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry, 24th Infantry Division in 1952-53.
Since 1960 I had been in HAWK Air Defense Artillery maintenance. Air Defense just wasn't the same and I honestly missed the Combat Arms. After being assigned to Vietnam, when I arrived in Chu-Lai, I found one of my past Battery Commanders as the Adjutant of the 16th Combat Aviation Group. He asked me if I wanted a job, and of course I said yes. Two hours later I was on my first helicopter ride, headed for Duc Pho.
I was initially assigned to the avionics shop, but I worked a lot in the maintenance shops as there wasn't much to do in avionics. I went on aircraft recovery missions, and when Capt. Lovett, the Maintenance Officer, was otherwise engaged, he would let me take the recovery team out. Otherwise, I only went as a member of the team.
I found the pilots some of the best men I had ever had the pleasure of serving with. I'm afraid I can only remember a few names. When in the infantry, you didn't want friends, only buddies. When in the 174th, I never met more brave men. At times I thought they were more stupid than brave -- sometimes a fine line -- but a wonderful bunch of guys to have served with.
While with the 174th AHC I earned my Air Crew Members Wings. I logged over 300 hours on recovery, door gunning, and observing.
I retired as a CW3 in July 1974 after 27 years service, and returned to my hometown of Seattle, Washington.
Witch Doctor 1-6