174th Assault
Helicopter Company

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This is the new Shark hootch, taken early in 1968. This was the living area for the pilots of the gun platoon. It was built by the pilots. When the 174th first arrived in Duc Pho in the Spring of 1967, everyone lived in GP-medium and GP-large tents. Following the mortaring of the 409th Maintenance Detachment tent in June 1967, which killed two, everyone wanted more durable quarters. Because the unit was expected to move from Duc Pho soon, however, approval was not received for materials to build hootches. After over six months in Duc Pho, and still in tents, the pilots of the gun platoon decided to build their own hootch. Trading captured VC and NVA weapons for most of the materials, the pilots began construction in November, and completed their new home in December 1967. The ceiling had three layers of perforated steel planking (PSP), used for constructing runways, layed atop 4x6" vertical beams, then topped with three layers of sand bags. This was then topped by a tin roof. These hootches were extremely solid, were rather cool with the "insulation" in the ceiling, and took several direct mortar hits with no fragment penetration through the ceiling. The blades above the entrance door are the tail rotors from a Shark helicopter. An open porch was constructed in front of the hootch, bordered by sand-filled 55-gal. drums with sand bags on top. Note the 55-gal. drums double-stacked along the sides of the hootch up to the lower edge of the narrow windows. The low structure to the right of the Shark hootch in the upper photo is a bunker they made from 55-gal. drums and sandbags. It was used during mortar attacks prior to construction of the "mortar-proof" Shark hootch. Note there is still a tent behind the Shark hootch in the upper photo, but the Dolphin "slicks" pilot's hootch next to the Shark hootch in the lower photo had already been build. This was the second pilot hootch built, indicating the date of the photos is probably February or March 1968. (Photos by Jim McDaniel, 1968.)