Vietnam helicopter Pilot stories

OK first off, i am not linked in anyway to the Jocko Podcast but i do find the book review broadcast to be amazing because not only does he quote sections of the books he is reviewing but also talks to the author about his/her experiences.

the last two podcast i have listened to are numbers 275 and 294; please to take some time to listen to these stories and they are mind blowing, they will make you laugh and cry. it’s a very sobering thought that 5000 hueys, were in vietnam and 3300 got shotdown, according to the author.

they are also trying to get these stories converted into a film and have go-fund-me page which i think is an excellent idea as they want to keep the films real and not over the top hollywood production. i have also encluded a link for the film funding page but if you google the phrase “undaunted valor” that should get you in the right sort of area.


film funding page if you are interested:


Those numbers seem accurate according to this site. 5086-helicopter-losses-during-the-vietnam-war very sobering indeed.


@ Klaus-Adler, Thank’s for the recommendation. I just finished #275, Huey Pilot, Col. Matt Jackson interview… chilling stories! Definitely worth a listen. Looking forward to the next one.


[EDIT] Listened to #294, Huey Pilot, Major Jay Tate interview last night. wow…

1 Like

Back in the day I did serious research on the Vietnam War. (Dynamics of Defeat, Red Thunder, Tropic Lightning). Our losses were serious, but it’s not easy to put them into firm categories. (I’ve also written about air warfare in the Pacific during WWII and it was the same there.) The losses listed in Wikipedia strike me as very familiar. Here’s the problem. A helicopter “lost” could have been shot down or it could have crashed due to damage or aircrew/groundcrew error. If there was danger - often - slicks would try to get in and out ASAP - that was begging for mishap. Weather was an ugly problem for helicopters - as was navigation error. Unlike Vietnam era aircraft choppers weren’t loaded with electronics. Also, many helicopters that were damaged and crash landed were “written off” - frequently there were no losses in such incidents. (Not sure how the accountants handled a damaged chopper that was repaired and put back into service. Despite the megatons of supplies sent to Vietnam, we were always short of something.) On the other hand, a slick could be carrying ten troops and get nailed in a hot LZ with serious loss. Even big wigs were vulnerable. II FFV Commander John Paul Vann was killed in a helicopter accident in the Central Highlands during the NVA mega offensive in 1972.
I was told by a highly decorated Captain in the 25th Division that the helicopter pilots - warrant officers normally I think - had the kind of swagger one would associate with WWI fighter pilots. Helicopter pilots and crew were hugely admired by the infantry - for good reason. They were Army of course, and not segregated from the masses like AF and Navy aircraft pilots - officers and gentlemen to a man. We lost some 3700 of them too - figure 2/3ds in combat. Vietnam was a very dangerous place to be. If you look at casualties at the combat spearpoint, they were up there with major campaigns in WWII.