4th Infantry Division
"The Ivy Division"
4th Aviation
Vietnam 1966-197

History of 4th Aviation Battalion Vietnam

This is a working history as recalled by those who were there and by public information of the units.
If you have any additions or corrections please email them to us at tim@armyflightschool.org

The 4th Infantry Division was tasked to Viet Nam in 1966.  The 4th Aviation Battalion was constituted at Fort Lewis, Washington, just east of Seattle, in July 1963.  It was activated in November 1963 and deployed to the Republic of Vietnam in September 1966.  The advance party arrived in country on September 25, 1966 to Camp Enari located south of Pleiku Vietnam.  In early 1970 the battalion moved to Ankhe, with the rest of the division and left Vietnam for the states on December 7, 1970.

The advance units, along with aircraft and equipment, were loaded aboard the General John Pope, whose port was in Washington State, and took a scenic voyage to southeast Asia and landed in Quin Hon.  The second group of the 4th Aviation flew in by plane in a C141 and arrived on the 9th of January 1967.  The advance units arrived "in country" and were sent to the II Corp area south of Pleiku and assigned to the Dragon Mountain area as their base.  The Camp was known as Dragon Mountain until early 1967.  The rest of the 4th Infantry Division and the 4th Aviation Battalion and equipment shipped across on the USS Core in early 1967.

In early 1967 the new base camp became known as Camp Enari, in memory of Lieutenant Mark N. Enari as he earned the Silver Star while fighting the North Vietnamese regulars in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Lt. Enari died as a result of the wounds he received during that battle.

One east-west runway was created at Hensel Army Airfield. This runway was made of PSP.  The 4th Aviation Battalion was given the area just north and east of the runway.  The operations shack, radio room, etc. were assigned on the north side north of the revetment area (aircraft parking) and along the main road, running east and west, on the south side of Camp Enari.  Hensel Army Airfield received its name from the combat death of a D Troop, 1st of the 10th Cav pilot by the name of WO1 Ernest Victor Hensel, Jr.  He was flying a OH-23G, # 64-15293 on February 17, 1967


List of Battalion Commanders:


List of Battalion Executive officers:

Grade & Name of Commander Dates of Command   Grade & Name of Executive Officer
LTC Julius E. Clark 9 Sep 1964 - 30 Jun 1966    
LTC William R. McDowell 1 Jul 1966 - 8 Apr 1967   LTC Larry Saltee
LTC Robert A. Holloman 9 Apr 1967 - 4 Nov 1967   LTC Myles H. Mierswa, Sr.
LTC Myles H. Mierswa, Sr. 5 Nov 1967 - 4 May 1968   MAJ George D. Shields
LTC Donald L. Williams 5 May 1968 - 21 Aug 1968   LTC William McPhail
LTC George F. Powers 22 Aug 1968 - 3 Mar 1969    
LTC John Faust 4 Mar 1969 - 28 Feb 1970   LTC John J. Griffiths
LTC John J. Griffiths 1 Mar 1970 - Oct 1970   LTC Vincent A. Pacelli

From some of those that were there...

From Carl Key


From Ray Pollock

I arrived at Hensel on Jan 25th 1967  and The runway was just smoothed out dirt and grass. There were six of us. Spec. 5 Gene Resnick was the chief controller. I was Spec 3. as were the other controllers.
At first we controlled the air traffic from the the ground with a portable radio. Next from the back of a 2 1/2 ton truck with one radio. Later on we constructed a box with Plexi-glass  windows around it to keep out some of the dust and rain. This truck tower was driven to a Fire Base. and used as a control tower many times.
The second tower was a another small one made box on top of 2 metal conex containers.
Next we scrounged a portable  (one Man) Tower,
Some time in Oct. The 20th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Platoon Co. C Built us a real Tower..it took them 5 weeks to complete. The tower was 45 ft. tall. 20' X20'deck.,15' X 15' inside. 4' walks around the outside and Plexi-Glass windows all around. It was great to work in when I wasn't Controlling at a Fire Base or L.Z.
We had an average of 18,000 Landings and take-offs a Month.
As a side note, while working shortly after the new tower was built, an Air Force Capt. landed a Chinook and was admiring our new tower. I wound up trading him several sheets of "leftover" Plexi-Glass for 40 Gallons of vanilla ice cream. Yes, the Air Force Base near Pleku. had Ice Cream!!. I flew with him to the Air Base and he fed me in their Dinning Room. Strip Steak and Fries.
I can't tell you how much better this was, compared to all the "C Rations" you can eat that I was used to.
I left Hensel on Jan. 18th, 1968,


In January 1967 A Co. 4th Avn arrived at the Pleiku Air Base from the US in a C-141 with fuel stops in Alaska and Japan.  They briefed us several times before we landed that they would not taxi in but drop us at the end of the runway out the big cargo ramp in the rear and we were to run as fast as we could with our bags to the side of the runway and stay clear as they were going to spin around and depart immediately which they did. 

It was obvious they were very scared.  Then we found ourselves standing around in the open far from the terminal or bunkers wondering when whatever they were so scared about would happen and thinking they got combat pay for the whole flight there and back but we have to stay here for a year. 

An A1E then crashed not far from us and I hope to attach a photo of the crowd that gathered.  An hour or so latter a CH47 finally showed up and flew us to Dragon Mountain where the most dangerous part of the war was, if you had to get up and pee at night with 8 scared to death pilots with their finger on the trigger of loaded 38's under their pillows.

See his photos from this link.




From CPL Sam Gribben - 4th Pathfinder Detachment

I was a member of the 4th Pathfinder Det. We were activated in August 1966 and left with the division on the General John Pope and arrived at Plieku in Sept.

There were only seven of us originally. Lt Antony Stricker, Sgt Wesley, Sgt Devanish, Cpls Ray, Miller, and Gribben (me), and PFC Mabry. AT Plieku we picked up the rest of the Detachment over the next few months and at full strength we had 2 Lieutenants and 15 enlisted men.

The H & H company commander was Major William Kaufman. 

By December of ,66, we were at full strength,2 Lts and 15 EM.

Our tent was near the Repo Depo, next the rappelling tower and one tent away from the supply tent, run by Sgt Manuel Soto And SPC4 Sal Grigola.

Our call sign was "Nightjumper"

We lost one member during my time there, Spc 4 Emmit Pope Jr, was KIA Jan,15,1967. Our C.O. was Major Richard Kauffman and later Capt William Pratt.

We did Pathfinder work with the entire division. 

On Feb 17th '67,on a combat assault the helicopter  attempting to deliver myself, Lt Stricker, Sgt Wesley and PFC Jim Tarian into a hot L.Z. was shot down.

The doorgunner was KIA and the pilot was badly wounded. I think the crew were from D troop and I never knew there names.  Major Kaufman was piloting the second  bird and was shot up also, however they were able to crash land about a mile away and the crew and the infantry men they were carrying were picked up safely.


From Clyde Land

I was with the 704 Maint Bn. when we shipped out from Port Angeles Wa.  The ship we were on was the USS General John Pope and it took 22 days to get to Vietnam. 

I was with the 704th until Feb. 1967 when A company arrived at Camp Enarie and was transferred to A company as part of the infusion program. 

I was with the 3rd platoon Renagades and my assigned pilot was the platoon leader Capt Ostic and our call sign was renegade leader. 

I was with a company until I came back to the U.S. in late September of 1967.


Two Air Cavalry units were assigned to the 4th Infantry. One was put south of the runway, which was D Troop 1st of the 10th Cavalry (Air) and the second was assigned an area east of the Battalion area, on the north south airstrip, this was 7/17 Air Cavalry.  Each had their own set of revetments, bunkers and maintenance and squadron and troop areas.

The 4th Aviation Battalion was formed with HHC, HHD, H&H, A Company would be the lift, and B Company the guns.  Other aviation elements or the 4th Infantry Division were the Brigade support aircraft, which used the OH-6A Cayuse observation aircraft, Artillery Aviation section referred to as Dvarty and the two Air CAV units, 1/10th Cav and the 7/17th Cav.

Support elements were ATC, Signal, Maintenance, Supply and Medical

“A” Company had several call signs, they were known as Blackjack and each platoon had another call sign early on such as 1st Platoon was Lizards because they were the VIP flight platoon, the second platoon was Rustler and the third platoon were Renegade, and the fixed wing was Buzzard.  The company logo was the cards of Ace of Spades and the Jack of Diamonds. Usually on a white background.  The first platoon was a mixture of "A" and "B" Company pilots.  The UH-1H helicopters were assigned to each company, but most were in "A" company.

“B” Company only had one call sign and it was Gambler.  Their Logo was the card of the Ace of Spade.  Usually the Ace of Spades on white background.

Jere Polman, crew chief said, "Originally, the Gambler Guns , the name, and the Ace of Spades was started back in 1966.  Capt. Ferren, who was the commanding officer of our little unit, and like I said the best pilot that I ever flew with, asked for us Crewchiefs and gunners to come up with a name, and a way to identify each other while flying, when radio silence was on., or off.  The Ace of Spades, was our choice.  I remember painting the Ace of Spades on our Gunship.  The nose, sides on the tail, and top of each ship.  We each had a name of our Huey,.. 7/11 with dice on my main ship. That Huey, was lost to gunfire in May of 67  ...  We were a young bunch , who got to be the best of friends and comrades. I only wish we were together today."

Revetments were built to protect aircraft from sapper attacks.  They were five foot high and each wall was three foot wide.  The shell was made of PSP and the inside was filled with sandbags of dirt and sand.  Each parking space were designed either parallel or in L shape.  To park in a parallel revetment required the pilot to keep the aircraft nose straight and fly in at a less than 3 foot hover. To fly out, the pilot would stabilize at a hover and than slowly lift and pulled forward out of the revetment.

The 4th Infantry Division area covered the entire II Corp area, Central Highlands by 1967.  This was an area that was considered the highway for the Viet Cong forces to transport supplies from the north to the south.

4th Aviation Battalion moved to Ankhe with the Division in 1970 after the 1st Cavalry pulled out in 1969.

The division returned home in December 1970 and was sent to Fort Carson, Colorado until they later spread out to Fort Hood Texas.

If you have additional information to add to our history, please email it to tim@armyflightschool.org

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Last updated May 02, 2013