Tom Miller's Photos

174th Assault
Helicopter Company


Photos page of:

SP5 Thomas Miller

Crewchief Shark #423

Lane Army Heliport 1966, Qui Nhon RVN

Below, SP5 Thomas Miller at Lane, 1966. I was crewchief for
Shark #423, then I later went to the "slicks" Platoon. Behind
me, the EM hootch is on left and the mess tent is on right.
I think I traded a "Thompson" for that .38.

Below, gun tent at Lane. That's my bunk in the center
of the photo with the large white water jug. It reads:
"Gun Miller" and the number "423" (for Shark 423).

These are in our new living quarters in the EM hootch, 1966. We had the only refrigerator in the whole place, so it was a good hang-out! I remember the faces, but most of the names have left me after all these years. Left to right: Unidentified Shark crewchief; Tom Miller (with towel); standing on the left, another Shark crewchief who was with another unit, extended, and transferred to us; sitting in front of him was another crewchief who's name I don't recall either; standing to the right is Bill Gardnour (our "fuel man"); and seated right is Edward "Jeff" Jefferis. If any of you can help with the names, please let us know at the website and we'll fill in the blanks.

Below, a pre-Shark's-teeth paint scheme, at Lane. Note this Shark has the white "shark's fin" painted on the vertical stabilizer, but not the teeth on the nose. This was the initial paint scheme for the Sharks. Note also this aircraft did not have the attachment hard-point for the armament system installed, and it has the zig-zag High Frequency (HF) radio antenna on the tail boom. That, and the vertical fin antenna on the bottom of the tail boom, were not normal antenna configurations of the Sharks. This may have been a replacement Shark. And, to answer an ongoing internal discussion among the 174th crews about the initial fleet of 174th Shark aircraft, this aircraft is clearly a UH-C and not a "UH-1B with 540" rotor system. Among other identifiers, such as the UH-1C vertical fin having a different shape, the "airframe proof" is in the fuel filler cap position, which on UH-1B airframes were on the right side of the aircraft just to the rear of the sliding cargo door when it was closed. The UH-1C airframe has the fuel filler cap at the same location but on the left side of the aircraft. On most of the early photos thus far, the cargo doors have been open, making it difficult to determine the location of the fuel filler cap. This one has the cargo door closed and finally puts the disagreement to bed. There is clearly NO fuel filler cap on the right side of this aircraft, meaning the cap has to be on the left side, so this Shark has to be a UH-1C. The entire initial fleet of Sharks were UH-1Cs. This should resolve some disagreement within the unit about whether the initial fleet were UH-1Cs or UH-1Bs with 540 rotor systems.

Both of the below photos show Tom Miller, Shark 423's crewchief, in his office. Notice the 19-shot rocket pod. We named this gunship "Hop-A-Long." You can see that painted on the quarter door post. Shark 423 was considered quite under-powered, thus the name. Note Tom's wooden ammo box at his feet. This held about 1,000 rounds of 7.62mm ammo for his bungee-held door gun, a modified M-60 machinegun.

Another view of "Hop-A-Long" during daily maintenance. That's me on top.

Below, 174th Aviation Company Sharks about to go on a gun support mission. Notice again the white "shark fin" tails, but no teeth on the nose. The closest helicopter is a UH-1D Dolphin "slick." The closest Shark aircraft (in the background) has a 40mm grenade launcher mounted on a turret on the nose, and you can see a 7-shot rocket pod on the left side of the aircraft. Maybe someone can put a name on the place.

Below is a photo of the early 174th Aviation Company "F-Troop Headquarters." The sign reads: "We have done so much with so little for so long that we can do anything with nothing." The "F-Troop" was not a flight platoon, and there were no official "troops" in an Aviation Company. We think this is a take-off on a popular TV program of the 1960s, but the history of which part of the 174th went by "F-Troop" is lost. Anyone reading this who can complete this bit of trivia, please write us at the web site.

Below are the orders for SP5 Thomas Miller for the Air Medal, 2nd Oak Leaf Cluster.

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