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War from the Skies in Vietnam

Aug. 25, 1962 - The “eagle flights” of U.S. helicopters have given a new dimension to the South Vietnamese army’s grinding campaign against elusive Communist insurgents lurking in the swamps of South Vietnam. But mud and the vulnerability of the so-called eagles to small-arms fire from the ground frequently allow the enemy to make good his escape. An eagle flight consists of a few U.S. helicopters laden with Vietnamese troops. The aircraft cruise over the countryside until Communist guerrillas panic and run. Then, like an eagle that has flushed a hare, the helicopters pounce. However, the pilots cannot attempt to land too near the guerrillas. A single chance shot might cause a crash that could kill everyone in the helicopter.


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