O-1 over Quan Loi

Quan Loi, CCS and Me - Near the End - An Loc/Quan Loi 1971-1972

I was an Army O-1 pilot with the 74th Reconnaissance Company, which was headquartered in Phu Loi.  I arrived in country in June of 1970. While based at Phu Loi and then Cu Chi I flew a variety of missions throughout III Corps and some cross border operations into Cambodia.  I flew into Quan Loi on numerous occasions and most likely picked up an observer there to register some of the 6/27th Artillery firing missions or perhaps call in Arty Missions on suspected enemy positions in that area . . . always loved those 8 inchers.  There is nothing more lethal and more accurate than those babies and they make a great noise when they hit!! 

Anyway, when I flew into Quan Loi I vaguely knew about a small section of aircraft that the 74th kept there for some kind of secret missions.  Well, heck!!!!  I had to do whatever they were doing.  I was 21 years old and brave, (I thought) and anything secret had to be pretty neat stuff.  So, I extended my tour of duty for 6 months so I could get assigned to that outfit in Quan Loi.

When I moved to Quan Loi in the fall of 1971 it was a pretty desolate place as all of the American units had gone home.  I was attached to CCS, Command and Control South, a division of MACSOG, (Special Operations Group) that specialized in cross border operations.

Basically we worked with recon teams in cross border operations throughout Cambodia. Our teams were inserted with the H-34 helicopters known as Kingbees until we lost them all to ground fire or weather. Then we used Huey's.  We worked with Pretzle FACs, which are the Air Force O-2's, based out of either Saigon or Ban Me Thuot.

The Air Force pilots did not live at Quan Loi - they commuted in daily.  Their 3 crew chiefs, our 3 pilots, our Birddog crew chief and about 8 ex-Special Forces types who now worked for SOG  lived at Quan Loi.  We lived in a compound on the north side of the airstrip (located on the airstrip photo - halfway up the airstrip NW of the letter K in the photo) guarded by Montagnards

All of this intrigued me very much - I had visions of doing something really important for our war effort and looked forward to actually participating in missions directly against the enemy.  Our mission was to insert six man recon teams into Cambodia to monitor enemy activity.  We also had a mission where we would fly at tree top level with a SOG "backseater" taking pictures, and an 0-2 flying cover for us and trying to keep us out of trouble.  Needless to say, we came back with numerous bullet holes on many occasions.  Still, this was exhilarating  business and the secret operations made it that much more exciting.

The rest of Quan Loi was quite desolate in this timeframe. The Helicopter Assault company had left (summer of 1971, I think); I believe there were a few advisors with the ARVN units on the south side of the runway. Other than that, we felt very alone. We were mortared and rocketed occasionally, and were attacked by sappers.

As we got into the first months of 1972 we found our teams getting into more and more contacts.  We found increased activity of bad guys, and our compound was being attacked by sappers at night.  The 74th was about to stand down and my extra 6 months was about to come to and end.  I can honestly say that I was "over" being involved with the exciting part - these guys were trying to kill me!!.  I left Quan Loi at the end of February, 1972 just in time to escape the Easter Offensive at An Loc when the area was overrun by the NVA.  Quan Loi, itself, was overrun on April 7, 1972.

I got home in March and I will always remember getting my local newspaper one day in April of 1972 and on the cover was a photo of An Loc with the caption: "The Battle of An Loc".  I think I got home right in the Nick of time.

Rick Harris  Then  and  Now    


The P-38 can opener & multi-purpose tool. Army Aviation's essential tool - in our time and NOW!  Here is a courtesy link to the source of supply:


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P-38 can opener & multi-purpose tool!

Have a story to share? All of us probably have an interesting story about how our P-38 saved the day. Send your story to me and we will include it here. elr3@yahoo.com

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Archived Information

The following is archived information about COMPLETED activities:

We had a mini- reunion Memorial Day weekend May 23-25, 2008 in Lowell, Massachusetts. We gathered to give support to Bill Grassi and his family.

Information about the Sept. 16~19, 2004 Mini-reunion in San Antonio hosted by  the 183rd AVN Co. "Seahorse"   

Mini-Reunion  September 16-19, 2004

April 20, 2004

From: John C. Fischer [mailto:John_Fischer@worldnet.att.net]
Sent: Tuesday, April 20, 2004 5:30 PM
To: elr3@cooke.net
Subject: 183rd Aviation Company Reunion
The 183rd Aviation Company (Seahorses) are having a reunion in San Antonio September 16-19 and we want to extend the invitation to anyone assigned to a bird dog unit in RVN to join us.  Please let your folks know that they are not only welcome but that we would like to have them come and have a mini 74th reunion at the same time.  I will send you more information shortly.  If anyone has any questions they can contact me directly.

John Fischer
It will be at the Riverwalk Marriott.  We got a great price...comparable to the lesser hotels in downtown San Antonio.   I will send you all of the registration information as soon as I get it from the hotel.  Have a great time at your flight school class reunion.  Thanks for passing on the information to the men of the 74th RAC, "Aloft."
John Fischer          John_Fischer@worldnet.att.net
Seahorse 14
May 4, 2004
Men of Aloft, if you are interested in a mini-reunion with the 183rd RAC Seahorses, let me know and we'll keep everyone informed as to who is thinking about attending.
                                                          May 12, 2004
Let me first introduce myself.  I am John Fischer, Seahorse 14.  I am currently coordinating our 2004 Reunion.
At our last reunion, our group discussed opening up our reunion to veterans of other bird dog companies that served in Vietnam.  About ten of us even attended the 219th Headhunter reunion last October and found that we had a lot in common.  Because of the interest from our group in the overall bird dog unit experience and the experience that we had at the 219th Reunion, we have decided to open up our reunion to veterans of all of the bird dog units that served in Vietnam.  
This is your invitation.

I am very pleased to invite you to "A Gathering of Seahorses" Reunion at the Marriott Riverwalk Hotel in San Antonio, Texas over the weekend beginning Thursday, September 16th and ending on Sunday, September 19th.  It is going to be a great weekend, and I hope that you will make your reservations to be part of our second Reunion. 


We have a super room rate for this premier hotel that sits right on San Antonio's famous Riverwalk.  Our rate is $95 per night for rooms that normally cost $259 per night.  This is a great rate for a premier hotel in San Antonio.  That rate applies three days before and three days after our reunion, if you want to come early or stay later to enjoy all that there is to see and do in San Antonio.


The Reunion officially starts on Thursday, September 16th.  Here is a preliminary agenda.  More details will be provided and a final agenda will be sent to you within the next thirty days, if you are interested in attending.

 Thursday, September 16th
            Noon 6:00pm         Registration and Welcome in the Hospitality Suite
            6:00pm- 9:30pm       Reception and Mexican Fiesta Dinner
            9:00pm-Midnight     Hospitality Suite open
 Friday, September 17th
            8:00am-Noon           Coffee and Sweet Rolls in the Hospitality Suite
            1:30pm-5:00pm       Free time (Hospitality room available)
            1:30-3:00                  Optional Rivercruise
            6:00pm-10:30pm     Reception and Texas Barbeque Dinner
            10:30pm-Midnight  Hospitality Suite open
 Saturday, September 18th
            8:00am-Noon          Coffee and Sweet Rolls in Hospitality Suite
            10:00am-Noon        Seahorse Business meeting in Hospitality Suite
            1:00pm-4:30pm      Optional Texas Air Museum/Birddogs
            1:30pm-5:00pm       Free time (Hospitality room available)
            6:00pm-10:30pm     Reception and Closing Banquet in Hotel Ballroom
            10:30pm-Midnight  Hospitality Suite
 Sunday, September 19th
            8:00am-10:00am     Coffee and Sweet Rolls in Hospitality Suite
            11:00am-Noon        Memorial Service at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

You need to make your hotel reservations directly with the Marriott Riverwalk using one of the following methods: phone 1-800-648-4462 (ask for Group Code ACM), or online via the special Marriott/Seahorse website set up for this reunion, www.stayatmarriott.com/183.   Whichever method you choose, you must tell the hotel, (when you are making your reservations) that you are part of the 183rd Aviation Company Seahorse Reunion in order to receive the special $95 room rate.


In addition to your making reservations with the hotel, you will need to make reservations with the Seahorses.  This reservation will enable you to receive your official name tag, attend the planned activities, which include the Mexican Fiesta, the Texas Barbeque, and the Grande Finale Banquet, and receive your official Seahorse Reunion mementos.  This reservation or registration is important for us to plan how many will attend the various activities, banquets as well as how many of each memento we need to order.  The Seahorse Registration form is attached. 


Complete the registration form, calculate your registration fees, and enclose a picture of you taken at the time of your service in Vietnam (if possible) or other picture. Write your check payable to Jim McHaney, but mail the check, picture and the registration form to Hiram Johnston, 1321 Beaver Dam Road, Madison, Georgia 30650.


It is very important that you make reservations with the Marriott and submit your Seahorse Reunion registration by July 31, 2004.


The format below should be used when you make your reservations with the Seahorses. 




183rd Aviation Company 2004 Reunion
 "A Gathering of Seahorses"

Marriott Riverwalk Hotel, San Antonio, Texas

September 16th-19th, 2004






Phone number


Email Address


Unit and Dates in RVN


Primary Duties or MOS


Call Sign (if pilot)


**Please attach a picture of you when in RVN.  Your picture will be copied and returned.


I plan to attend      yes    no   (Circle one)


I plan to bring        1    2    3   ___ others with me.  Please provide names of those coming with you for name tags.

 Calculate Registration Fee

                                                            # Attending       X   Cost/person      =     Total cost


Thursday, September 16th                       _______       X        $40               =      ________

Friday, September 17th                            _______       X        $40               =      ________

Saturday, September 18th                        _______         X        $50               =      ________

Reunion Fee                                              _______       X        $20               =      ________

Total Cost                                                 _______                                              $_______*


Please attach a check made out to Jim McHaney for the amount of the total cost * and mail with your completed Registration Form and picture to Hiram Johnston, 1321 Beaver Dam Road, Madison, Georgia 30650.


The total registration fee for one person for all three nights and four days is $150.  This fee includes the Mexican Fiesta, the Texas Barbeque, the Grand Finale Banquet, light refreshments in hospitality suite, transportation to Fiesta, special Seahorse mementos.


I only have contact information on a few people from each bird dog unit, so please forward this information on to everyone in your unit.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.


I hope that you will take us up on our invitation and join us in San Antonio.





Seahorse 14
'John Fischer (E-mail)'
Seahorse 14
183rd Aviation Company
6163 South Marion Avenue
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74136-1506
tel: (918)493-6235
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