Phoenix 13 (Hardback)
Americal Division Artillery Air Section Helicopters in Vietnam
Phoenix 13, the call sign of US Army helicopter pilot Darryl James, recounts his and many of his unit’s, experiences flying small scout/observation helicopters in Vietnam in 1968 – 1969. Assigned to fly “Ravens” (OH-23G) and “Loaches” (OH-6A) in the Americal Division’s Artillery Air Section, James and his fellow pilots regularly undertook dangerous missions, often flying solo. For freshly graduated pilots it was an exciting and nerve-wracking baptism of fire.
Flying over rugged, mountainous jungle bordering a narrow coastal plain of farmlands and rice paddies in the I Corps area, the scout pilots’ missions varied from aerial observation, transporting POWs, carrying critical small cargo, convoy cover, providing support to Military Assistance Command (Vietnam), aerial scouting for the US Marines in Da Nang, and inserting long-range reconnaissance patrol (LRRP’s) and Seals into small landing zones.
It became common at the end of every mission for the pilot’s to retire to the officer’s club to unwind and share their experiences. Phoenix 13 recounts some of those stories.