Army Reporter information
for 159 MED DET

For date 690127

159 MED DET was a US Army unit
25 INF DIV was a US Army unit
Primary service involved, US Army
Hau Nghia Province, III Corps, South Vietnam
Location, Cu Chi
Description: The following is an edited version of an article titled "Fast dustoffs can mean fast recovery" dated 27 Jan 1969. 1:13 p.m.: A call is received in the radio shack of the 159th Med Det. A field unit needs a medical evacuation helicopter - a dustoff chopper. 1:14 p.m. The chopper lifts off the pad at the 159th on its way to the coordinates given during radio contact. 1:21 p.m: the dustoff identifies the smoke marking the area and sets down in a clearing that moments before had been the scene of a fierce firefight. 1:23 p.m: The chopper lifts off with eight patients aboard. 1:30 p.m: the dustoff shuts down at the 25th Med Bn back at the 25th Inf Div Cu Chi base camp. Within 20 minutes from the time the unit in the field radioed for its dustoff, the wounded were receiving professional medical treatment in hospital conditions. The efficiency of the 159th Med Det's team does not come easily. There is always a crew on "First Up" status ready to move out at a moment's notice. And that crew (aircraft commander, pilot, medic and crewchief) is always a highly trained team of professionals. When the field unit calls the 159th's radio shack, coordinates are given along with the frequency and call sign of the ground unit. The crew is informed about the security of the area and how the area will be marked. Hopefully, information concerning the number of wounded and type of injuries will be available. But the dustoff crew must be prepared for anything. During the dustoff, teamwork is the keyword. The crew chief, whose job is to make sure the helicopter is in top shape, often becomes an assistant medic when patients are loaded onto the chopper. Sometimes split second adjustments must be made to accommodate more than the four stretcher and four ambulatory patients the shopper is equipped to carry. Usually no more than two or three minutes are spent loading the wounded onto the chopper. Then the dustoff must lift its heavy load quickly. Because the load is heavy and the mission is vital, the dustoff chopper has more horsepower than a gunship slick. During the flight to the 25th Med Bn, the medic usually has his hands full treating the wounded. Again, the crew chief acted in the capacity of an assistant medical man. When the chopper shuts off at the battalion, the wounded are immediately given medical treatment. The crew then returns to wait at the 159th for the next radio call that could come anytime. Photo Caption 1 - EVERY SECOND COUNTS when a field unit has called for a dustoff. The men of the 159th Med Det, 25th Inf Div waste no time in getting their chopper up. Photo Caption 2 - BEFORE THOSE who helped load the 159th dustoff choppers can more out of the area, the wounded soldiers are on their way to the 25th Med Bn. Photo Caption 3 - EVERYONE HELPS when a 25th Inf Div soldier is wounded. When 159th Med Det choppers set down, they are only on the ground a few seconds.

The source for this information was 6901AR.AVN supplied by Les Hines

Additional information is available on CD-ROM.

Please send additions or corrections to: Gary Roush Email address:

Return to panel index

Return to Helicopter Pilot KIA index

Return to VHPA Home Page

Copyright © 1998 - 2023 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association

Date posted on this site: 05/13/2023