I read your web site from "cover-to-cover" and must tell you it was outstanding. I remember vividly watching the TV news at Easter 1972 and seeing the coverage of the battle. It hit home because I was a slick C/E with the 170th AHC at Kontum in '70-'71 and flew many missions over the border. When I left Kontum there were approx. 25 of us left there. The NVA were already moving a lot of troops into the mountains just north of our base and we were getting shelled a lot every night. The real eye opener came when we took 5 rounds the night before we left, all 5 hit between the runway and our hooches, very large holes. 122's? I don't think so. They were right on target. We also did a lot of re-supply to Ben Het, Dak Seang, Dak Pek, Dak To and Tan Canh.
I hope the information on your web site finds its way to history books someday. This is history that our younger generation should be aware of. Not just the battles won, but also the unselfish bravery of the flight crews. Needless to say I have great pride in the 170th AHC. (I was also in the 119th AHC at An Khe in early 1970, maintenance and C/E).
It was a pleasure reading about the heroism displayed during the Battle for Kontum in 1972, and thank you for writing about it.
Regards, A Crew Chief
REFLECTIONS: I too hope that the generations that follow learn the lessons of history. I have been a student of history most of my life. I can remember taking the operations plans and maps I had gathered at Ft. Benning, GA. of the battles fought by the 1st Cav during November 1965 and flying those battlefields in Vietnam, during January 1972, trying to reconstruct what had happened. I remember reading Bernard Fall's work "Street Without Joy" and flying over the French graves at the Mang Yang Pass east of Pleiku. I am hoping that "The Battle of Kontum" web site will provide some insights into the lessons we learned during that period. I am afraid that with the passage of time, many have forgotten and many have never studied the lessons from that war. We paid a high price for what we learned. Some say that it was the lessons learned from Vietnam that helped our military leadership in Gulf War I. Having just witnessed Gulf War II I think the helicopter aviation leaders need to take a look back at what we learned those many years ago.