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U.S. Army Helicopters Arrive in South Vietnam

Dec. 11, 1961 - Two U.S. Army helicopter companies arrived in Saigon today. The helicopters, to be flown and serviced by U.S. troops, are the first direct military support by the U.S. for South Vietnam’s war against Communist guerrilla forces. At least 33 H-21C twin-rotor helicopters and their pilots and ground crews, an estimated total of 400 men, arrived aboard the Military Sea Transportation Service aircraft ferry Core. In the anti-guerrilla operations in the mountains, heavy jungles, and rice paddies, the ability of the helicopters to cruise, hover, and land almost anywhere makes them invaluable. According to normal U.S. Army usage, H-21C helicopters can carry a pilot, co-pilot, and 12 combat-ready soldiers or 2,500 pounds of cargo. It may be possible to load 15 or even 18 smaller, lightly armed South Vietnamese soldiers into each of the aircraft.

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