1st Signal Brigade Aviation Detachment Republic of Vietnam 1971
(formerly 2nd Signal Group Aviation Detachment)
Aviation Keeps the Communicators Communicating
Throughout the Republic of South Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand in daylight or in darkness you will find the men of the 1st Signal Brigade Aviation Detachment performing their mission in support of the Brigade whether it be on top of Nui Ba Den (Black Virgin Mountain) or an isolated signal site in the Delta. The rotary wing section will be there carrying men, supplies and spare parts to aid in the accomplishment of the mission, for long haul missions the detachment's U-21A's are available flying from the DMZ to the Delta to Thailand.
The 1st Signal Brigade Aviation Detachment is one of three aviation units formed out of the TOE aviation assets of the 1st Signal Brigade and it's subordinate groups. The purpose of this consolidation was to facilitate coordination, maintenance, aircraft utilization, pilot utilization, and record keeping. Of the three 1st Signal Brigade Aviation Detachments (consisting of the 12th Signal Group, the 21st Signal Group and the 1st Signal Brigade), the Brigade Aviation Detachment is the largest, consisting of 10 UH-1H (HUEY) helicopters, two OH-58 (KIOWA) helicopters, eight U-21A UTE twin engine turboprop fixed wing, and one U-8F twin engine piston fixed wing.
As varied as the aircraft assigned to the detachment so are the assigned missions requirements. Missions may vary daily from resupply, ferry of men and equipment, delivery of messages, site visits by commanders and staff personnel, and VIP visits, to communications emergencies. Six of the Detachments U-21A's are specifically modified so that they may be used in a radio relay configuration; the only aircraft of their type to be so modified in the army inventory. The units participation on tactical operations such as Lam Son 719 and 720, plus occasional MED EVACS, demonstrate the units importance to the overall effort in Southeast Asia.
Every aviation unit is no better than its maintenance section. The Detachment's maintenance section has done an outstanding job keeping the aircraft flying, sometimes against seemingly insurmountable odds especially when one considers that ten to twenty-five manhours are required to maintain an aircraft for every hour that it flies. The Detachment is currently averaging 1400 hours of aviation support a month which keeps the maintenance crews busy.
The Detachment safety record is probably one of the best in South Vietnam. Since its conception the detachment has never killed or injured a passenger. This safety record can be attributed to many things; experienced and proficient pilots, good maintenance, strict adherence to current flight safety standards, and regulations, and the fact that the pilots always consider passenger safety and the expeditions accomplishment of the mission at all times.
Although Detachment personnel are required to put in long hours they take pride in the part they play in keeping the communicators communicating.
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