Jon Bradshaw and Rudy (R.) at mess hall 1968  

​Rising like a phoenix from the deactivated 33rd Transportation Company(Light Helicopter) which had arrived in Vietnam during the autumn of 1962 aboard the USNS Croatan from Ft. Ord, CA, the 118th "Thunderbirds" immediately began to typify their motto...."IT SHALL BE DONE".
Fully operational as an assault helicopter company in July 1963, the Thunderbirds chalked up an impressive record of combat assaults during their first month of operation, without the benefit of an armed helicopter platoon. Flying dual rotor CH-21's, the pilots and crews had to resort to the use of personal sidearms when assaulting a hostile LZ. One of the Thunderbirds' first confirmed Viet Cong kills was reported to have been when a door gunner shot from the aircraft's landing gear with his pistol.
With the replacement of the CH-21 with the UH-1B helicopter in Sep 1963, the armed 3rd Platoon "Bandits" was created. During Nov 1963, the Bandits were credited with more than 150 enemy kills, a record not surpassed until the large build-up of American troops in 1965.
Organized for heliborne operations over the myriad terrain features of the III Corps area, the 118th was the model for the assault helicopter unit concept that would follow in another two years. The Thunderbirds were so highly regarded by the commanders of other helicopter units that they were constantly training crew members of the new units that began pouring into Vietnam.
Known as the"First of the Assault Helicopter Companies", the 118th actively participated in every major battle and operation in III Corps, distinguishing itself in the early years in the Battle of Dong Xoai, Operations Attleboro, Cedar Falls, and Junction City.
The measure of a helicopter unit, like the measure of any fighting group, is in the measure of its fighting men. Among the greatest claims of the Thunderbirds and their reputation as a fighting unit was they were the first to arrive and the last to leave because....."IT SHALL BE DONE!"​​

Rising like a phoenix from the deactivated 33rd Transportation Company(Light Helicopter) which had arrived in Vietnam during the autumn of 1962 aboard the USNS Croatan from Ft. Ord, CA, the 118th "Thunderbirds" immediately began to typify their motto...."IT SHALL BE DONE".
Fully operational as an assault helicopter company in July 1963, the Thunderbirds chalked up an impressive record of combat assaults during their first month of operation, without the benefit of an armed helicopter platoon. Flying dual rotor CH-21's, the pilots and crews had to resort to the use of personal sidearms when assaulting a hostile LZ. One of the Thunderbirds' first confirmed Viet Cong kills was reported to have been when a door gunner shot from the aircraft's landing gear with his pistol.
With the replacement of the CH-21 with the UH-1B helicopter in Sep 1963, the armed 3rd Platoon "Bandits" was created. During Nov 1963, the Bandits were credited with more than 150 enemy kills, a record not surpassed until the large build-up of American troops in 1965.
Organized for heliborne operations over the myriad terrain features of the III Corps area, the 118th was the model for the assault helicopter unit concept that would follow in another two years. The Thunderbirds were so highly regarded by the commanders of other helicopter units that they were constantly training crew members of the new units that began pouring into Vietnam.
Known as the"First of the Assault Helicopter Companies", the 118th actively participated in every major battle and operation in III Corps, distinguishing itself in the early years in the Battle of Dong Xoai, Operations Attleboro, Cedar Falls, and Junction City.
The measure of a helicopter unit, like the measure of any fighting group, is in the measure of its fighting men. Among the greatest claims of the Thunderbirds and their reputation as a fighting unit was they were the first to arrive and the last to leave because....."IT SHALL BE DONE!"
​​

Vietnam Veterans of America

NOW

 

Warren Rudy

THEN

The Way We Were

Gary Hutchison Memorial Chapter 1028

It's been decades since we served. But to many of us, it seems like only yesterday.  Today we are old and slow; but once we were young and swift.  For those who never knew us then; and for those who can't remember when, take a look back at​  the way we were:

Martha Raye and Warren Rudy