Why Choppers and Tanks are Alike

South Vietnam, Republic Of; I was a radioman with the 7th Regiment, 1St Marine Division from September 1967 through October-1968 at Hill 55. One day we were walking back from a daily patrol and when we reached the main highway, we hitched a ride on an Army tank that was passing through. Never got inside it, but looked down into it. A few days later I was heading out on an operation in a CH-46 helicopter and got shot down. Luckily I survived with just a couple of sprained ribs-it made me realize that tanks and helicopters had the same problem-they’re both fucking bullet magnets! To all of us and those just like us-Damn Few!!
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21 comments


  • DANIEL ZAWIEJSKI (SKI) 7TH. MOTOR BATTLION (B CO.) CHU LAI VIETNAM 1966-1967

    I WAS WITH 7 TH MOTORS ON HILL 2/5 MARINE TANKS WERE ON TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN HIGHEST POSITION AND THE 11 TH ARTILERY WAS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE MOUNTAIN. AND (7TH MOTORS WAS IN BETWEEN) ONE DAY THE 11 TH ARTILERY HAD A FULL 100% FIRING ON A CERTAIN POSITION AND FIRED FOR AT LEAST 15 MINUTES AT LEAST 10 105 AND 155 FIRING ALL AT ONCE. (DEAFING TO HEAR) TO HIT THE TARGET THEY HAD TO SHOOT OVER THE MOUNTAIN AND YOU GUESSED IT SHORT ROUNDS WERE EXPLODING ALL AROUND THE TANKS. THE NEXT THING WE KNEW THE TANKS TURRETS (CANNON’S) WERE TURNING AROUND (180) AND AIMING AT THE 11 TH ARTILARY AND WE THOUGHT IT WAS GOING TO BE ONE HUGE (CLUSTER F–K) AND WE WERE IN THE MIDDLE. NEED LESS TO SAY WE COULDN’T GET THE HELL! OUT OF THERE FAST ENOUGHT. WE ALL RAN AND HIDE IN THE VIETNAMES CEMETARY KNOWING IT WAS SAFE. BUT ALL THAT HAPPEN WAS A STAND OFF!. THOSE MARINES IN THOSE TANKS WERE ALL JACKED UP, FROM CHEWIN BEATLE NUT TO SMOKIN DOPE,BOOZE, ETC. YOU WOULD OPEN THE HATCH AND NOTHING BUT SMOKE WOULD COME OUT. THE TANKS INSIDE WERE PAINTED WHITE AND ALL FULL OF GRAFFITTE AND ALL AROUND INSIDE THE TURRET WERE 108 ROUNDS THEY COULD CARE LESS BECAUSE THEY COULD GET HIT WITH A ROCKET AT ANY TIME AND WORSE THING THAT (ALLWAYS HAPPEN) THEY WOULD LOSE A TRACK (PIN SHEARS OFF) AND THE TRACK WOULD JUST SPIT RIGHT OUT AND THEY WERE DEAD IN THE WATER AND THE SNIPERS WOULD LIKE TO PICK THEM OFF WHEN THEY HAD TO FIX THE TRACK! TANKS WERE USELESS IN VIETNAM GETTING STUCK AND BLOWEN OUT TRACKS ALL THE TIME IN THE MONSOON SEASON. WELL THOUGHT I WOULD LET YOU KNOW HOW IT WAS IN THE NAM! (SEMPER FI)


  • Jesse Griffin VSM CAR CIB

    The reasons I was a tanker in Vietnam were these: As long as the tank ran, I did NOT have to walk. When I got shot at I had a direct fire ninety millimeter tank cannon, a fifty caliber machine gun, a co-axially mounted thirty caliber machine gun, a forty five caliber sub-machine gun, and personal weapons to shoot back with. Finally, I did NOT have to carry a hundred pound ruck sack on my back. The “gypsy rack” carried it for me. The reasons I was an air cavalryman in Vietnam were these: As long as the helicopter flew, I did NOT have to walk. When I got shot at I had gunships, machine guns, rocket pods, grenade launchers, and personal weapons to shoot back with. Finally the “bird” carried all my stuff so I didn’t have to. Yes I heartily agree that they are damn big targets, but for all the reasons I’ve given, I rode and flew through twenty nine months of scared and sweaty service in Vietnam, and at almost seventy years of age am here to say many thanks to helicopters and tanks.


  • Mick

    In reply to Kelly.
    Dang Kelly, I always thought of tanks / choppers as moving foxholes, (I know Marines have fighting holes) that movement always catches the enemies eyes. Semper Fi


  • Mick

    In reply to Kelly.
    Dang Kelly, I always thought of tanks / choppers as moving foxholes, (I know Marines have fighting holes) that movement always catches the enemies eyes. Semper Fi


  • James Doc Nealand

    I was with 2/7 in ’68. It was raining like hell and I fell asleep under a tank on Liberty Bridge. They had a fire mission in the middle of the night and when they cut loose I tried to sit up and rang my bell on the underside of the tank. Couldn’t call the corpsman ’cause that was me.


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