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Birds of Spray
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Birds of Spray
November 1961, six C-123 Provider transports, specially modified for aerial-spraying operations, left Pope AFB, North Carolina, en route to South Vietnam. Although earlier small-scale defoliation experiments had been conducted in Vietnam with both C-47 transports and H-34 helicopters, the decision to go to the more modern C-123 as the primary defoliant aircraft proved an excellent choice.
C-47 Skytrain - (USAF photo)
The C-47 had a very lively career in the Vietnam War. As as excellent "bush" aircraft, it was used to fly cargos into the backwoods of Laos in support of anti-Communist tribes working with the Americans, but it was also used for both electronic intelligence (ELINT) and as a gunship.
The Sikorsky S-58 was developed from the Sikorsky's UH-19 Chickasaw. The aircraft first flew on March 8, 1954. The U.S. Army applied the name Choctaw to the helicopter. In 1962, under the new unified system, the Seabat was redesignated SH-34, the Seahorse as the UH-34, and the Choctaw as the CH-34.
The Provider was a short-range assault transport used for airlifting troops and cargo to and from small, unprepared airstrips. The rugged C-123 became an essential part of U.S. Air Force airlift during the Southeast Asia War, where it flew primarily as an in-theater airlifter and a Ranch Hand sprayer.
UH-1D Iroquois "Huey" Multipurpose Utility Helicopter (US Army photo)
The Bell Helicopter UH-1 Iroquois, commonly (or officially in the U.S. Marine Corps) known as the "Huey", is a multipurpose military helicopter, famous for its use in the Vietnam War.
The UH-1 was developed from 1955 US Army trials with the Bell Model 204. The initial designation of HU-1 (helicopter utility) led to its nickname, Huey. The nickname became so popular that Bell started putting the Huey name on the anti-torque pedals.
The aircraft was first used by the military in 1959 and went into tri-service production in 1962 as the UH-1. The last were produced in 1976 with more than 16,000 made in total, of which about 7,000 saw use during the Vietnam War.
In Vietnam, 2,202 Huey pilots were killed and approximately 2,500 aircraft were lost, roughly half to combat and the rest to operational accidents.
Vietnam. Defoliation Mission.
A UH-1D helicopter from the 336th Aviation Company sprays
a defoliation agent on a dense jungle area in the Mekong delta
Spray-rigged UH-1D Iroquois/Huey helicopter (photo 114th AvnCo Assoc.)
Agent Orange was sprayed over 3.6 million acres of Vietnam from 1961 - 1971. Herbicides were applied using airplanes, helicopters, boats, trucks and backpack sprayers.
Empty barrels were used for various tasks ranging from latrine duty to being filled with dirt and used for protection against enemy fire. Some were used in fabricating grills and barbecue pits.
"Don't worry, it only hurts plants."