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the battle at landing was a clear victory. though 79 of his men were killed and 129 wounded, the north vietnamese lost ten times that many soldiers. >> i was the last man out on the last helicopter. >> he flew back and went to the officer's club. >> apparently, there was a reception that was not all together, but you expected it to be at the local watering hole. >> i showed up at this bar, my m-16 ripped you have uniform, dirty blood on it. >> they had a sign on the wall, off limits to dogs, first captain, not necessarily in that order. >> i said i want a gin and tonic, a lot of ice. the guy looked at me and said sir, this is not your club and you're too dirty. we can't serve you here.
>> so we weren't welcome. >> i took off my m-16 rifle and i said you got two minutes to serve me and these two officers. every or every bottle behind that bar will be shot. >> then they found out who we were and what we had been doing. >> i was did appoisappointed. i wanted to blow that bar to hell. the second bar toll on, one of two that had relieved moore was much as lz x-ray to lz albany and they were being deployed to cut off any enemy retreats and they didn't know an ambush was waiting for them. in a matter of minutes, dozens
of americans were killed, some by friendly fire as confusion rang on the battle field. and that night the north vietnamese roamed the battle field killing wounded americans. in the morning, the body count was staggering. >> 155 dead, 125 ordered. >> one of the cab troopers came to the rescue was one of the heroes of x-ray. the lieutenant a scrappy brit. >> the love character and very, very respected. >> the picture made the cover of the book. he survived vietnam and lost his life in another act of heroism 36 years later. 9/11 after the north tower was struck, he helped thousands to escape. as vice president of security, rick 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 superiority once and for all. >> we learned about how many troops have been on the ground. we learned about the accuracy of the aero. >> gun ships known as hogs were nothing more than modified transport helicopters. in 1967 a brand-new helicopter came called the cobra. >> it was the hottest helicopter in the world. >> the first exclusively attack helicopter. >> designed for one thing and that was killing. >> when 24-year-old captain mike brockovich arrived in 1966, he was flying the tiny oh 6 observation helicopters. >> i was out there flying by
myself and armed with a .45. >> one of the jobs was to locate the enemy by flying low and getting shot at. >> he did feel exposed. >> he flew the gun ships. >> slicks with the troop carrier called in after an enemy was spotted. >> we would essentially raise the head of the slicks. we would prep the lz. >> by firing the area rockets and machine guns along the side of the landing zone, that job was taken over. mike brockovich flue one and straight to the sky at 150 miles an hour. >> the cobra had more speed and a whole lot more fuel range. we could carry more fuel and carried more armaments than the old gun ships carried. >> mike brown was a captain from idaho who also got behind the controls of this hot rod on his second tour.
>> tell us what it's like, what you got up there in that cockpit when you look that way. >> up to 76 2.75 inch rockets. we can carry those in four pods. you have deterrent weapons, you have a 40 millimeter grenade launcher to fire 400 grenades a minute and the 7.62 gun. >> the guy in the front took the rocket. >> there were different rocket war heads to choose from. >> each rocket carried 2200 20-grain nails about that long and they were great for preps where there were no friendlies because it could cover a football field every square inch. nothing lives through that because it literally finds the guys going in there to get nailed to the troops. >> they asked them to pop smoke, meaning to throw a colored smoke grenade to mark friendly
positions. >> they would pop smoke and we would tell them what color to pop. >> most of the missions were flown in a particularly dangerous place called the ash valley. >> the mountains were rather rugged and 5500 to 6,000 feet tall. >> we lost control of the valley and that special forces camp 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. >> the problem, the weather. they got weathered in. a lot of times you can go, a lot of times you can't go. >> aircraft batteries were everywhere. in 1968 the cab suffered some of the heaviest losses ever. 21 helicopters in operation delaware in an attempt to have a permanent face. >> my army fired in support of the infantry on hamburger hill.
>> that was in 1969. >> it was like a north vietname vietnamese. >> the airborne took the well-defended crest but the heavy losses attracted negative media attention back home. >> i got clippings asking me were you there? yeah, i was there. >> within months president nixon turned the vietnam war over to the vietnamese but as american troops left, vietnam became more dangerous for president american helicopter pilots left behind. up next, pilot mike brown tells us how he survived after enemy missiles cut his helicopter in half 4,000 feet up in the air over vietnam.
on august 9th, 1969 mike was flying on a classified mission. he saw a photograph of the chopper shootdown. >> i had four there and we were going to go in and they were going to bring in ships to the haul out of these 40 people. >> those people were a marine force. maps that would be used to the invasion two years later. >> so i was chris crossing the area, probably about, oh, 25 to 50 feet above the trees. i came across the ridge line and my wing man started hollering get out of there. he said you're taking ground
fire. i poured the coals and got out of there. >> his culprit was hit by still flying. a gun ship flying in wasn't so lucky. >> he proceeds to fly directly over the line and he said i'm hit, i'm hit and he said, hit the fuel cell and you could literally see a cloud, looked like a cloud of gray smoke coming out the side of the aircraft. it was fuel vapor. he said i'm going to have to put it down, and he was heading -- there was a big river with a big bend in it and he was heading over toward the river, and the air caught on fire 75 feet off the water when the tail feet fell off. it was inverted and he crashed in that water. >> mike caught it on film. >> rotor blades, pieces of water and debris all over the place. >> the ch 34 recovered two survivors fired to cover the two other marines who died.
by 1972 on mike brown's second tour, the american withdraw from vietnam was almost complete. >> the u.s. conten -- contin genl. >> we were down to total at the time about 35,000. >> mostly advisors and pilots. >> right. >> so there were fewer troops protecting those pilots and it was a dangerous new weapon the north vietnamese were using against then with seven surface to air missiles. >> shoulder fire air defense weapon. >> the afternoon of june 21st, pilot mike brown and his co-pilot michael core done were flying support as it defended the down 60 miles north of saigon. >> we were told there weren't any missiles.
>> almost a mile in the air when mike realized just how long that report was. >> one of the fellows in the ship on the deck yelled into his microphone missile, missile, missile and i saw this plume and i didn't have to ask who that was for, but what surprised me is i expected a loud explosion. i expected a lot of concussions and it was actually very little. it was obviously sufficient to blow the tail off the helicopter. >> 4,000 feet up, what are you saying to your comrade up front? >> i told him try a mayday on the radio. he had no radio. i said to him, see if you can fire out the weapons because i wanted to take and get the weight off the nose and his weapons wouldn't fire. >> but you're also spinning around. >> right. going around orbit or spinning around the map in a long, lazy
spiraling descent. >> it took three terrifying minutes. >> what are your thoughts before impact? >> i know that we're not going to make it, absolutely convinced of that. i have no control but i'll do everything i can do, and so we get to the tree tops. i pulled in. called the pitch. the spin gets very violent. fuselage and crashes through the branchs down to the bottom of the trees. i landed on a patch of bamboo and chopped off the rotor blades. >> have to make sure everything is still connected? >> i don't remember. i was checking myself over and i was sitting there, i'm alive. i'm not hurt. i don't think i'm hurt. don't feel like i'm hurt. i'm here and we ran over in the trees and there is this big north vietnamese bunker that
we're right on top of. these guys came in the hughie, it was quite a feat. the only place that was big enough to get in was the place that we chopped up coming down ourselves. that's where they came, right straight over the top of our wreckage. as they came down, they were chomping trees. >> mike was flying nearby at the time. >> this kid had his mic back too far and we heard everything he was saying. we heard the blading slapping the trees. >> they couldn't come any further. we had to climb 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 the
chopper. in fact. >> i flew that afternoon. >> here crews demonstrated courage everywhere from the gulf war to afghanistan. that's ahead on "war stories." about every 3 minutes in america, someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer. light the night brings together survivors and supporters to bring light to the darkness of cancer and to help fund life-saving research.
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february. >> the south vietnamese were being drawn into a trap. the south vietnamese lost thousands of men and we lost helicopters, more than any operation in the world. 176 pirates and crew members. about a month later, the first air cab was done in vietnam and headed back home. the welcome was often not a warm one. >> my boys had a teacher that didn't want to teach him because his father was in vietnam. >> much of the public failed to realize these vietnam vets were the pioneers of a new form of warfare that saved american lives. >> general, what's the legacy of air mobile concepts that you developed? >> i think the legacy is 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 left the drug dealing dictator to justice. this was the first combat. >> it makes the ahg 1 cobra look rather arcade by comparison. >> less than two years later, american helicopters flue ew in combat again and that decisive victory in the gulf war. on october 1993 two american black hawk helicopters were shut down in somalia. they issued a capture and kill of a somali lord. >> it was a dumb decision that resulted in the loss of lives of really brave americans that should never have been asked to do that. >> 18 americans died and 77 were
wounded. a few years later, fox news took jason coleman back where he spent hours holding off somali gunman trying to get to the injured crew man. >> i spent quite a bit of time under beneath the tailbone here with casualties waiting for it to get dark. >> the bravery of men save countless lives on that bloody operation. >> nothing is more important than executing this global war on terrorism. >> and air mobile troops have done just that in afghanistan, pakistan and other fronts. the cobra and hughie jacks of vietnam agree. the technology may have changed but not the men at the controls of today's helicopters. same kind of resolve. they go do the mission the same fierce determination, it's still
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that fought the battle may be one of the strongest of all. >> like i said before, the reason that i'm sitting here is probably the great leadership. >> i want them to remember me not as a hero but as leader who never quits. >> 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 firepower. it took brave and talented men to fly these machines and more than 2100 pilots lost their lives. only recently did they begin to get the credit they deserve. they knew we could count on them and when we heard the rotors, it meant life. theirs is a war story that