tv Lou Dobbs Tonight FOX Business November 14, 2015 7:00pm-8:01pm EST
on. i doubt we'll hear that. not from the next few debates, but maybe someday. and that's our show. see you friday for a new show at our normal time 8:00 p.m. eastern time. >> those powers are flying. >> the cobra. >> this thing was sleek, looked like a shark and was designed for one thing, and that was killing. >> choppers of vietnam and the daring men who flew them. >> that's tonight on "war stories."that's
good evening. and th i'm oliver north, and this is an engine of war. the value h-1 helicopter, better known by its nickname, the huey. they'll tell you that the whoop, whoop, whoop of that rotor was one of the most welcome sounds you'll ever hear. to americans the huey meant life. it brought us food, ammunition, supplies, reinforcements. when we were wounded it carried us out. i ought to know, i was medivaced in vietnam not all that different from this one here. to the enemy the huey meant 5 in death.ets an the gunship was armored with 2.75 inch rockets and a machine gun that would fire over 4,000 rounds a minute. a virtual shower of zeroing lead. tonight on "war stories," the men who pioneered air warfare, warriors who risked their lives in a strange and dangerous land called vietnam.rous
>> april 29th, 1975, the end of the vietnam war, and as they hao throughout the long and bloody conflict, helicopters provided some of the most memorable images. the frenzied evacuation of the u.s. embasy in say gone. hueys being pushed into the sea making room for south vietnamese on the carriers. ten years earlier a very different time and image. formations of hueys swooping bg into thein nibattle. the beginning of the world's first helicopter war.licoptilot >> we were the fighter pilots of our circus and we were a proud e and daring bunch and we knew it. >> i had been in the arctic.fun. i had flown in the deserts of north africa.
>> it was fun. it wasn't work, it was fun. ? as>> h longe as man had dreamt breaking free of gravity, he hab dreamt of something like the helicopter. >> breaking the tyranny of ther ground was incredible. >> mike slonicker piloted a helicopter in vietnam and is co-author of a book on helicopter warfare. h >> it ishovers.t it was astonishing. >> leonardo da vinci was the first to put it on paper.the he called it a helical air screw. there were a lot of attempts and failures, then in 1940 igor at sikorski unveiled the vs 300. he showed off his sunday best and his famous fidora hat. it was renamed the r-4 whoever
flyer and became the first ed helicopter. >> the sikorsky helicopter is rn here at training school have proved ideal for reconnaissancee work with that amazing power of hovering in the air and cruising at almost incredibly slow speeds. >> by the korean war the u.s. military13. had a fellow board, oh-13. it was used for observation of the battlefield at first.starte >> in 1950 they started -- they1 used the oh-13 to medivac. >> they had two litters, one on each side on the skids.e they would haul out casualties. >> it was a wild ride but it greatly improved survivability on the battlefield.rmy the army still wasn't using helicopters to wage war. >> i think the marines were theh real forerunner thinkers on the use of helicopters in battle. >> lieutenant general hal moore was respected in korea. that he would co-author the book "we were soldiers once and young."
it became a hollywood movie hey starring mel gibson. >> in 1953 and '52 when i was ie war they were not using ctics helicopters as far as i know of for any kind of battlefield ionn tactics. >> but a revolutionary concept ed a was about to beir created calle air mobile. >> i think that that is really had its again know sigs in 1952 when mcnamara directed the armyd to build on the know how that they then had for helicopters il thedi army. w >>ar i lieutenant general harry kinard is a legendary soldier.tp he became a full colonel with the pair a troopers of the 151se airborne eagles. he became known as fat the fat air mobile. rld war he was just learning how to fly. >> in world war ii you were one of the youngest battalion comma commanders at age nd28. and now at 48, 49 you're going pil
through flight training at fort are you the g ru rutger, alabama. >> he tested the air mobile concept.mobi >> we did a lot of leaps across rivers and things using helicopters. >> john herring was an infantry company commander in the 11th. >> they were very intense. we trained hard. >> and flew low. br >> we were right down theuc tren tops. >> at 30 bruce crandal was already a seasoned chopper pilot when he took command of the helicopter platoon in the 11th. >> we probably knocked more power lines down in the 64 carolinas than any other sourcen >> in late st t'64 the 11th fac off against the 87th air assault
division. called air assault 2 it involves 35,000 men spread over 6,000 square miles of the carolinas. >> it was excitement from the very beginning. all the helicopters in the world were there. >> moore was one of kinard's commanders. >> and they'd fly over and the horses would jump the fences ana the kids would holler and the windows would rattle. those were great days.e >> the 11th went all over the m battles to the 82nd. by late '64 kinard and his men had shown them that it would >> work. >> werly showed them we were fo real. >> by early '65 president lyndop johnson had stepped up u.s. involvement in vietnam authorizing offensive ground sed combat by our troops. now he decided to send in this experimental new helicopter t division. >> in the day thatreside presidn johnson got t on tv, 28 july 19e
i remember his very words. >> i have todayay ordered to w vietnam the air mobile divisionh >> what did you tellildre your and five lovely children before you left? >> after dinner i told all my o kids i was going off to vietnam why. and the war and i was reading as book to my little five-year-old daughter. she looked up at me and she e said, daddy, what's a war? and i really couldn't give her an answer that made sense. and i got up at 1:30 in the war morning and went to war. >> some call it the valley of death. in november 1965 that's where l air mobile troops faced a battle so savage it shocked grizzled veterans of d day. that's next on "war stories."
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[ gu nf ire ] vietnam was over 8,000 miles from the united states. with the cold war going full tilt president john f. kennedy offered 3,000 u.s. advisors to help the south vietnamese fight their communist adversaries. those helicopters were ch-21s, nick named flying bananas. >> these were the first armed hueys. but until the army's first air mobile division a fliefd september '65, there was no real plan for wagging war with the helicopters. by then u.s. troops in vietnam had shot up to more than 150,000. >> when the unit deploys to have i et naj, it's not -- it's
redesignated from a trial division to first cavalry division to first air mobile. >> the division had received the first cavalry colors in a moving ceremony at fort benning in july. >> the first calvary was a famous unit. >> it had the history of the horses. >> it had been general george custer's unit inspired some of the men took to wearing big black cavalry hats and sporting moustaches and cab patches. >> a cab patch is one of the most recognized. >> general kinard showed his enthuse see a.m. sporting it on an eye patch he had to wear after an injury. >> i took a colored pencil or whatnot and doodled in a first cav patch. >> their base was in the central highlands. >> that part of vietnam was where the north vietnamese had tried to cut the country in half. they had gone after the friend.
. we were sent up there to kill them who we thought was trying to seize the central highlands. >> on november 14th, 1965, they were ordered into the valley where army intelligence said three groups were. >> it was 14.3 miles from the special forces camp. >> he called it landing zone x. ray. crandal flew lead chopper. >> he'd always bring me a cigar when he came in and i was out in the bush. >> saved my teeth whenever the bullet would hit. i'd bite down and bite on the cigar. i'd joke like if i swallowed the cigar. >> 105 millimeter artillery pieces were dropped in landing zone falcon ten miles away. >> i was on the first chopper. wanted to be there.
i was on the second chopper, third chopper. >> first landing we went in. there was no contact. >> crandal's 16 ships could carry men. the troops started off loading before the choppers hit the ground. >> it was all timed perfectly and it was meant to minimize the amount of time that the enemy had to fire on the infantry as they were coming in on aircraft. >> the infantry deployed in a perimeter around the lt. in seconds crandal's choppers were on their way to get more men. >> i looked at vietnam, i had a feeling. we are under observation. within an hour there they were. there was like an explosion of fire. >> among the cav, there were some veterans of d day and korea. even they were shocked by the
ferocity of the north vietnamese attack. >> you get dropped off, 170 guys on the ground with you. turned out there were probably 1300 only in thatvillely. >> it became too hot on the l. zwmpt to fly in more troops. ed freeman earned a medal of honor volunteered to fly ammo for the l.z. >> as much as fireworks were going on in that landing zone, there's no way they were going to be able to survive with what they carried in on their back. >> and on the ground moore's men had captured an enemy soldier. >> this kid told the soldier three battalions on the ground. my friends, we want to kill americans if we can find zblem colonel moore told me -- >> the three platoons moved out but one led by second lieutenant got past the others as they pursued several enemy soldiers. >> it was my most aggressive platoon leader.
>> they called him eltorro, the bull. >> he was quickly surrounded and 578 bu ambushed by a large force of north vietnamese. he was killed, the platoon sergeant was killed, another sergeant was killed. three sergeants of command. >> his name was earn any savage. >> so right then i had them cut off. i had told my men before we left benning i'm going to bring you all home. some of us are going to be killed, but we're all coming home. >> the alpha company commander coordinated an attack to reach the platoon. the enemy fire was too intense. aw we ran right into them and didn't get them. they were up in trees, they were on ant hills. we couldn't, particularly his company took a number of casualties. >> night fell. all savage and his cut off
platoon could hunt down, talk to his company commander on the radio. >> he was very calm and collected and he understood the situation. i told him the whole ba tan onis in a big fight. we can't -- we can't get to you. >> and then i remember we finished up at 9:30 at night and be we had been in the air 14 1/2 hours. >> herring worried about his platoon surviving the night. wasn't worried about himself. >> he had lost the command. i wasn't worried about our chances. >> it had crossed my mind fleetingly that an illustrious predecessor of mine, george custer, had been in the same situation at little big horn. i was determined that what happened to custer would not happen to us. i'll tell you this, ollie, never
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dozens of americans were killed or wounded at lz x-ray, and for sergeant ernie savage commanding the cutoff platoon, that night became a grueling game of cat and mouse. >> if you were moving, he heard whistles. >> the platoon was outnumbered by the enemy five to one. >> and all through that night we kept that platoon protected by artillery fire and firebomber strikes. >> the next morning we were supposed to go in at 7:00. i was sitting on the ground loaded and we got the word, stay where we were. the enemy hit them at 6:30. it was like another explosion. >> that's when we were almost overrun. it was pretty close. >> this was a very, very difficult day. >> in that short time another 42
americans were killed and 20 wounded in a savage fight. >> the aircraft came in. fly tack air came in and worked over that area. >> then disaster struck, a u.s.f 1 dropped napalm on top of americans, two were severely burned, one died. >> the guys that got it were trying to -- they were engineers working for me. >> about that time colonel moore said there's a battalion coming in by foot. when they get in here, go out and get that platoon. we went out and very methodically got the platoon. >> the surviving men of the cutoff platoon had held on for more than 24 hours and most were in very bad shape. >> they all were in shock and sort of frozen in place, covered
with dust and dirt and dead people. the officer was sitting on a tree with a grenade in his hand. he was dead. it was quite a sight. >> they brought that platoon back, every man, dead, wounded, all of it. >> it took my whole company to take the wounded and dead out. >> the seriously wounded were flown out but others were just patched up and rejoined the fight. by the afternoon of the second day several hundred americans were deployed around the lz. >> so we had a pretty formidable force there. i figured we were -- we were in good shape at that point. of course, the north vietnamese attacked the next morning. >> but this time the enemy was stopped cold. having gained the upper hand, moore's battered battalion was air lifted out. the others were marching to
another area called alba my so the b-52s could blast the area. >> i want to say right now that we probably could not have survived in that battle without the huey helicopters. they brought us ammo, they brought us water, took out our wounded, they took out our dead. a lot of my men would have died wounded had it not been for the huey helicopter and the brave powers that were flying it. >> the americans prevailed at landing zone x-ray, but the battle isn't over, the first air cav takes heavy casualties in a bloody fight for landing zone albany. that's next on "war stories."
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x-ray was a clear victory for hal moore's first battalion. though 79 had been killed and 121 wounded the north vietnamese had lost ten times as many soldiers. >> i was the last man out. i was flown out on the last helicopter. >> he flew back to camp holloway with bruce holler and went to the officer's club. >> apparently there was a reception that was not altogether what you expected it to be at the local watering hole. >> i showed up at this bar. ripped up uniform, grimy, dirty blood on it. they had a sign on the wall that said, off limits to dogs, first cav, not necessarily in that order. >> i'd like a gin and ton anything, a lot of ice. >> the bartender said, sir, this is not your club and you're too
dirty. we can't serve you here. >> we kind of got the impression we weren't welcome. >> i took off my m-16 rifle and i said, you've got two minutes to serve me and these two officers or every bottle behind that bar is going to be shot. >> we got served. then they found out who we were and what we had been doing. >> you know what, i was disappointed. i wanted to blow that bar to hell. >> the battle was far from over. day four of the fight, november 17th, 1965, the second battalion, one of two that had relieved moore, was marching from lz x-ray to lz albany. >> they were in pretty good shape. >> they were being deployed to cut off any enemy retreat. what they didn't know was that an ambush was waiting for them. in a matter of minutes dozens of
americans were killed, some by friendly fire as confusion reined on the battlefield. and that night the north vietnamese roamed the battlefield ruthlessly killing americans. in the morning the body count was staggering. >> 155 dead, 125 wounded. >> one of the cav members was one of the heroes of x-ray. lieutenant rick riscoro, a scrappy britt. >> he was a character, but a beloved character and very respected. >> his picture made the cover of hal moore's book. he survived in two battles and lost his life in another heroism 36 years later. on 9/11 after the world trade center's north tower was struck, he helped thousands escape.
he refused to leave the building until he was sure all of his people were out. rick was last seen heading up the stairs just before the building came down. >> he was quite something. the battle proved the superiority of helicopter warfare once and for all. >> we learned about how many troops you put on the ground quickly. we learned about the accuracy of the arrow off our artillery. >> all, the huey gunship, known as hogs, good as they were, were nothing more than modified transport helicopters and in 1967 a brand new helicopter appeared in vietnam called the cobra. >> it was the hottest helicopter in the world at the time. >> the first built exclusively as a helicopter attacker. >> that was designed for one thing, killing. >> when 24-year-old mike brackovich arrived he was flying the tiny oh-6 observation
helicopters. >> i was flying by myself. >> one of the jobs of an oh-6 pilot was to locate the enemy by flying low and gets shot at. >> you did feel exposed. >> mike later flew the hueys. >> they were called in after an enemy was spotted. >> we would essentially rate the head of the slicks, we would prep the lz. >> by flying aerial rackets and machine guns. that job was taken over by the cobras. mike flew one in 1969 on his second tour. it could streak through the sky at 150 miles an hour. >> the cobra had a whole lot more speed and a whole lot more fuel range. we could carry more fuel and we carried a whole lot more armament than the old standard gun ships carried. >> you could dive a cobra. >> mike brown, west point 1956, was a captain of idaho. he got behind the controls of this hot rod on his second tour.
>> what you've got up there in that cockpit when you look at that, what weapons have you got at your disposal? >> up to 76 2.75 inch rockets. we could carry those in four pods. you had the turret weapons, you have a 40 millimeter grenade launcher. was able to fire 400 grenades at the minute. 7.62 mini gun. >> the guy in the front seat took care of the turret, the guy in the back seat took care of the rocket. >> there was the plechette. >> each one carried 22 grain nails. they were great for lz threats where there are no friendlies. you can cover a football field with a nail every square inch. nothing lived through that. it would literally find the guys going in there getting nailed to the trees. >> they would avoid friendly troops by meaning to pop smoke.
mark your friendly position. they'd pop smoke, we'd tell them what color they popped. >> lots of mike's missions were flown in a particularly dangerous area called the ashaw valley. >> the mountains were pretty rugged. >> we lost control of that valley in '56 and that special forces kam was out there. >> we didn't want to land out there or go down out there because there wasn't anybody out there usually but them, the bad guys. >> key problem was the weather. got weathered in. a lot of times you could go, other times you couldn't go. >> enemy air battles were anywhere. in 1968 the seven cab suffered some of its heaviest losses ever. 21 helicopters in operation delaware trying to be in the ashaw valley. >> we fired on hamburg hill. >> that was in 1969.
so many americans were killed in the battle that it became known as hamburger hill. >> there was a north vietnamese regiment sitting on top of that hill. they didn't think too much about a battalion coming up there. >> they finally took the well-defended crest but the heavy losses attracted negative media attention back home. >> i started getting clippings from home after the battle. hamburger hill, were you there? oh, yeah, af he been there. >> within months they started the process of vietnamization. it became even more dangerous for the helicopter pilots left behind. up next, mike brown tells us how he survived after his helicopter was chopped in half 4,000 feet in the air over vietnam. tnam.
on august 9th, 1969, mike brockovich was flying in laos when he saw a chopper shootdown. >> i had four barkovers there. they were going to go in. they were going to go in and haul out these four people. >> taking fire. taking fire. >> those people were marine force reconnaissance mapping the ho chi min trip. >> i was crisscrossing the area probably about, oh, 25 to 50 feet below the trees. i came across the ridge line and my wing man started hollering at me. get out of there. you're taking ground fire.
all i did was just poured the coals to it and got out of there. >> his cobra was hit but still flying. a marine huey gun ship following him in wasn't so lucky. he proceeds to fly directly over the same ridge line i did and he said, i'm hit, i'm hit. and he said, hit the fuel cell. and you could literally see a cloud, it looked like a cloud of gray smoke coming out the side of the aircraft. it was -- it was fuel vapor. he said, i'm going to have to put it down. there was a big river with a big bend in it. and he was heading over towards the river, the aircraft caught on fire. 75 feet off the water when the tail fell off. the air krecraft went inverted he went in that water. >> mike caught it on film. water, debris all over the place. >> they recovered two survivors while mike's section tried to cover them. two other marine crew men died.
by 1972 mike brown's second tour the american withdrawal from vietnam was almost complete. >> the u.s. contingent was a handful of advisers and guys like you, basically. relatively few u.s. military units. >> i think we were down to total u.s. in country at the time when i got to leave was about 35,000. >> mostly advisers? >> right. >> so there were fewer troops protecting those pilots and there was a dangerous new weapon the north vietnamese were used against them, soviet designed fa 7 is a shoulder air defense weapon. >> the afternoon of june 21st pilot mike brown and michael core doan were flying support to the south vietnamese army defending a town 60 miles north of say gone. >> we were told there weren't
any missiles. >> they were almost a mile in the air when mike realized just how wrong that report was. >> one of the fellas in a ship on the deck yelled in, missile, missile, missile. i looked over my left shoulder and i sue this plume. i didn't have to ask who that was for. i knew it was for me. what surprised me, i expected to hear a loud explosion. i expected a lot of concussion. there was actually very little. it was obviously sufficient to blow the tail off of the chopper. >> you're at 4,000 feet, what are you saying to your comrade up front? >> i told him, try a may day on the radio. he had no radio. i said to him, see if you can fire out the turret weapons because i wanted to take -- get the wait on the nose and his weapons wouldn't fire. >> but you're also spinning around. >> right. going around orbit or spinning around the mass very slowly in a
long, lazy, spiraling descent. >> the fall from 4,000 feet took a full three terrifying minutes. >> what are your thoughts just before you impacted? >> i know that we're not going to make it. absolutely convinced of that. nobody else has ever done it. i have no control, but i'm going to do everything i can do. so we get to the tree tops. i pulled in all the pitch. the spend gets very violent. fuselage slams up against the trunk of one of these trees. we fall crashing through the branches down to the bottom of the tree. i landed on a patch of bamboo and chopped off rote tore blades. >> stop and check that everything was connected? >> i don't remember i was checking that over. i was in there, i'm alive. i don't think i'm hurt. don't feel like i'm hurt. i'm here. we ran over in the trees. there's this big bunker that
we're right on top of of the north vietnamese. these guys came in in a huey. it was quite a fete. the only place that was big enough to get in was the place that we had chopped up coming down ourselves so that's where they came. they came right straight over the top of our wreckage. as they came down they were chopping trees. >> mike was flying nearby at the time. >> right over. it's taking ground fire. >> this kid had his mic keyed back too far. we could hear the blades slapping in the trees he was cutting his way down. >> they couldn't get any lower. they couldn't come any further. we had to climb up on top of my wreckage and jump up, grab the skids, and pull ourselves up. >> despite the ordeal, mike didn't hesitate to get back behind the controls of a
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being drawn into a trap. >> right away we're losing people big. >> the south vietnamese lost thousands of their men and we lost 107 army helicopters. more than any operation in the war. 176 pilots and crew men were killed. about a month later the first air cav was done in vietnam and headed back home. the welcome was often not a warm one. >> one of our boys had a teacher that didn't want to teach him about his father when i came home from vietnam. >> what much of the public failed to realize was that these vietnam vets were the pioneers of a new form of warfare that saved american lives. >> general, what's the legacy of the air mobile concepts that you developed? >> i think the legacy is that now the whole army in a sense is air assault. >> time and again helicopters played a central role in america's military operations.
they were part of the 1989 invasion of panama that brought manuel noriega to justice. this was the first combat use of the apache attack helicopter. >> it makes the ah-1 g cobra look rather archaic by comparison. >> less than two years later american helicopters flew in combat again. the devastating fire power of 1700 american choppers went a long way towards securing that decisive victory over iraq in the gulf war. >> i've got a blackhawk. >> in on the of 1993, two american blackhawk helicopters were shot down in mogadishu, somalia. they were on a controversial mission. >> it was a dumb political decision and resulted in the loss of lives of really superb, brave americans that should never have been asked to do that. >> blackhawk crash at 61 --
>> 18 americans died and 77 were wounded. a few years later fox news took former army ranger jason coleman back to the blackhawk crash site and we spent hours off trying to get to the injured crew. >> i spent quite a bit of time underneath the tailbone here with some casualties waiting for -- waiting for it to get dark. >> the bravery of men like coleman saved countless lives on that bloody operation. >> nothing is more important than executing this global war on terrorism. >> and air mobile troops have done zwlaus in afghanistan, pakistan, and other months. the cobra and huey jacks from vietnam agree, the technology have changed but not the men at the controls of today's helicopters. >> same kind of steely resolve. they go and do the mission. >> the same look of fierce determination in their eyes is theirs, it's still there.
>> ahead on "war stories" the strong bonds that endure to this day for the men who flew or rode these helicopters in the battle of vietnam. stay with us. flew or road the helicopters in vietnam. stay with us. if you're an adult with type 2 diabetes and your a1c is not at goal with certain diabetes pills or daily insulin, your doctor may be talking about adding medication to help lower your a1c. ask your doctor if adding once-a-week tanzeum is right for you. once-a-week tanzeum is an injectable prescription medicine
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fought the battle under hal moore, who may be one of the strongest of all. >> as i said before, the reason that i'm sitting here is probably hal moore and his great leadership. >> i want them to remember me not as a hero but as a -- as a leader with high moral values. who never quit. >> in vietnam the helicopter gave our troops the upper hand. took us rapidly into and out of battle, evacuated us when we were wounded, and supported us with fire power. it took brave and talented men to fly these machines and more than 2100 pilots lost their lives in vietnam. only recently have they begun to get the credit they deserved. those of us who fought on the ground knew we could count on them. we also knew when we heard the whop, whop, whop of those rotors, that it meant life.
those are the war stories meant to be told. i'm oliver north. good night. >> oliver: tonight, on war stories tonight on "war stories." legendary war crimes in tokyo. >> you'll meet the colorful prosecutors. >> he was very brusque, crude individual. he had a taste of drinking too much. >> we'll take you inside the courtroom dramas. >> it's a struggle for final justice. that's next on "war stories."