The Unit Crest for the 242nd Assault Support Helicopter company depicts a mule with two rotor heads strapped to its back, and the word "Muleskinner" inscribed above it.
The muletrain and muleskinners of old were noted for their ability to move heavy loads over rough and difficult terrain. Today's Muleskiners are noted for the same ability, but the slow moving muletrain of the past has been replaced by the tandem rotor helicopter known as the CH-47 "Chinook".
The unit was constituted on 20 January 1942 in the Army of the United States as Detachment Headquarters and 2nd Platoon, 812th Quartermaster Company and activated on 1 February 1942 at McClellad Field, California. On 1 July 1942, it was reorganized and redesignated as the 724th Quartermaster Truck Platoon (Aviation) and on 1 January 1943, as the 2475th Quartermaster Truck Company (Aviation).
During World War II, the company participated in the campaigns of Papua, Leyte, Luzon, and New Guinea. It was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for its action in Papua from 23 July 1942 to 25 January 1943 and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation for its action in the Pacific Theater from 17 October 1944 to 4 July 1945. 242nd Lineage
The unit was inactivated on 25 March 1946 at Fukuoka, Kyushu, Japan. On 1 August of that year, it was converted and redesignated as the 2475th Transportation Corps Truck Company.
On 27 September 1966, it was converted and redesignated as the 242nd Aviation Company and allotted to the Regular Army. The Company was activated on 25 October 1966 at Fort Benning, Georgia.
After activation the 242nd began training officially on 2 February 1967. In the later part of April 1967, the unit recieved its first helicopters, 16 CH-47A "Chinooks" and 2 OH-23G "Ravens".
After training and preparatory requirements had been met, the unit left Fort Benning enroute to Vietnam. With the main body arriving at Bien Hoa AFB on 11 August 1967 and was assigned to the 269th Combat Aviation Battalion. Once settled, the Flight Crews were assigned to Chinook units for their "in-country" orientations beginning 15 August 1967. On 15 September 1967, the unit became operational and began providing direct combat support for the 25th Infantry Division.
During its first month of operations in Vietnam, the 242th set a new record for total flying hours. The Muleskinners' aircraft flew 1,533 hours beating the old record by 120 hours. During that time, the 242nd Muleskinners gave up the easy life at Bien Hoa in favor of the comforts (?) offered at Cu Chi.
In February 1969, tragedy struck the 242nd when a squad of enemy sapers came through the Cu Chi perimeter and destroyed a number of the unit's aircraft. See Super 8 movie. (1.9 meg)
On 19 August 1969, the unit completed its 10,000th consecutive accident free flying hour and was well on its way toward the 20,000 hour mark.
The 242nd was well known throughout the III corps area of the Republic of Vietnam for the enthusiasm with which it undertook its daily missions and the professionalism with which these missions were completed.
242 ASHC Commanding Officers in order of serving:
MAJ Paul L. Stansel 67-68
MAJ Andrew N. Alford 68
MAJ Clarence H. Keville, Jr. 68
MAJ Roy H. Herron 68-69
MAJ Mas M. Nakajo 69
MAJ Allan W. Hammerbeck 69-70
MAJ Paul L. Joplin 70-71
MAJ William F. Gabella 70-71
MAJ Hayes B. Banks 71
Muleskinner aircraft records.
May they rest in peace
SP4 Thomas Delaighe Killed In Action 28 February 1968
SP5 Terry Gilbertson Killed In Action 28 February 1968
CW2 Thomas Duer Killed In Action 23 July 1968
WO1 Randy Werning Killed In Action 23 July 1968
SP5 Danny Deese Killed In Action 23 July 1968
SP5 Donald Seidel Killed In Action 23 July 1968
SP4 Harry Mather Killed In Action 23 July 1968
SP4 Isaac Stringer, Jr. Killed In Action 26 February 1969
SP4 Larry Alan Gillaspie Killed In Action 26 March 1969
SP4 Ross Bedient, Killed In Action 10 July 1970
SP4 David Shultz, Killed In Action 10 July 1970
SP4 Eugene Benny Hart killed 4 April 1971
Copyright 2001-2020 Gary B. Roush
Muleskinner Pilot from 13 May 1968 to 10 May 1969
Cu Chi, Republic of Vietnam
Last updated: 16 July 2020