These Images Of A Vietnam Helicopter Attack Give A New Perspective On The War America Couldn’t Win

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Image: via War History Online
Image: via War History Online

The flight is accompanied by the perpetual chop-chop of rotor blades, the confused garble of radios and, more darkly, the intermittent rattle of machine-gun fire. It’s 1967 and Hueys are crisscrossing the sky above Vietnam. Suddenly, an alarm sounds inside one of the choppers. A plume of smoke pours from the tail of another. Two aircraft are going down – and not where they had planned…

Image: Terry Fincher/Getty Images
Image: Terry Fincher/Getty Images

The Vietnam War ravaged Southeast Asia for around 20 years, starting in the mid-1950s and lasting until 1975. On one side of the conflict were the Soviet-backed Communist forces of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV or North Vietnam) supported by the guerrilla fighters of the National Front for the Liberation of Vietnam (Viet Cong). On the other side was the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), backed militarily and ideologically by the United States.

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Image: James K. F. Dung, SFC
Image: James K. F. Dung, SFC

The human cost of the conflict was immense. More than a million North Vietnamese are believed to have perished in the war, along with 230,000 South Vietnamese and more than 58,000 Americans. The following images illustrate the everyday horrors encountered by U.S. helicopter crews during the fighting.

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