Patch
Unit Details

Strength
Company
 
Type
Air Unit
 
Existing/Disbanded
Redesignated
Year
1966 - 1984

Description
MISSION:  The mission of the 173rd Assault Helicopter Company was to provide tactical air movement of combat troops in airmobile operations, and to provide tactical air movement of combat supplies and equipment.

HISTORY:  The 173rd Aviation Company (Airmobile) (Light) was activated on 1 September 1965 and was initially assigned to the 10th Aviation Group at Fort Benning, GA. The 173rd Avn Co (Airmobile) (Light) remained at Fort Benning for organization and training until January 1966 when it began deployment to Vietnam. The main body departed Columbus, GA 15 February 1966 and arrived in Vung Tau, Vietnam 10 March 1966. The 173rd was assigned to the 1st Aviation Bridge's 11th Combat Aviation Battalion at Phu Loi and made their base at Lai Khe. The 173rd supported elements of the 1st, 9th and 25th Infantry Divisions in the III Corps, in the Tactical Zone north of Saigon. The 173rd Aviation Company underwent a name change and became the 173rd Assault Helicopter Company and operated as an element of Airmobile. The 173rd AHC served from 1966 to 1972 when the unit stood-down. The unit was awarded the Valorous Unit Award and the Meritorious Unit Commendation. SP4 Gary G. Wetzel was awarded our nation's most precious award, the "Medal of Honor" by then President Lyndon B. Johnson.

In September 1972, the 350th Aviation Company (Air Mobile), located at Fliegerhorst Kaserne, in Erlensee, FRG, part of the Hanau Military Community stood down and the aircraft and equipment was transferred to the restructured 173rd Aviation Company. The 173rd Aviation Company was a subordinate unit of the 11th Aviation Battalion located at Maurice Rose Army Airfield, Bonames, FRG, north of Frankfurt. At that time, there was a mixture of UH-1C and D models and AH-1s. Ultimately the unit would have 23 UH-1H helicopters equipped with the M-56 Mine Dispensing Units, broken up into 3 Flight platoons. There was also a Headquarters platoon and a Maintenance Platoon. The unit carried the nickname of The Robin Hoods and the field behind the billets was named Sherwood Forest. The unit remained until it was deactivated in the early 1980's. 

Notable Persons
Medal Of Honor Recipent - SP 4 Gary Wetzel
Medal of Honor - Date of Issue:  19 Nov 68
 
Citation

Sp4c. Wetzel, 173d Assault Helicopter Company, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life. above and beyond the call of duty. Sp4c. Wetzel was serving as door gunner aboard a helicopter which was part of an insertion force trapped in a landing zone by intense and deadly hostile fire. Sp4c. Wetzel was going to the aid of his aircraft commander when he was blown into a rice paddy and critically wounded by 2 enemy rockets that exploded just inches from his location. Although bleeding profusely due to the loss of his left arm and severe wounds in his right arm, chest, and left leg, Sp4c. Wetzel staggered back to his original position in his gun-well and took the enemy forces under fire. His machinegun was the only weapon placing effective fire on the enemy at that time. Through a resolve that overcame the shock and intolerable pain of his injuries, Sp4c. Wetzel remained at his position until he had eliminated the automatic weapons emplacement that had been inflicting heavy casualties on the American troops and preventing them from moving against this strong enemy force. Refusing to attend his own extensive wounds, he attempted to return to the aid of his aircraft commander but passed out from loss of blood. Regaining consciousness, he persisted in his efforts to drag himself to the aid of his fellow crewman. After an agonizing effort, he came to the side of the crew chief who was attempting to drag the wounded aircraft commander to the safety of a nearby dike. Unswerving in his devotion to his fellow man, Sp4c. Wetzel assisted his crew chief even though he lost consciousness once again during this action. Sp4c. Wetzel displayed extraordinary heroism in his efforts to aid his fellow crewmen. His gallant actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.
 
Unit Videos 
 
 

Unit Documents
 173d Annual Hist Rept 1971
 173d Annual Hist Rept 1969
 173d Annual Hist Rept 1968
 173d Annual Hist Rept 1967
 173d Annual Hist Rept 1966


Unit Web Links
173rd Assault Helicopter Company Facebook Page
132 Members Who Served in This Unit


 

  • Abrams, Payton, SP 5
  • Arce, Louie, SP 4, (1971-1974)
  • Arena, Joseph, SFC, (1968-1998)
  • Barden, Ralph, SP 5, (1969-1970)
  • Barden, Ralph, SP 5, (1969-1971)
  • Barrett, Steven, CW2, (1969-1971)
  • Bellizzi, Michael, SP 4, (1977-1980)
  • Black, Freeman, SP 5, (1973-1980)
  • Braun, David, SP 4, (1980-1983)
  • Cassels, Randall, CW4, (1968-1996)
  • Cavinee, John, SP 4, (1965-1968)
  • Christian, Michael, SP 5, (1969-1976)
  • Cintron, Melvin, CW4, (1976-2016)
  • Clark, Michael, PV2, (1974-1975)
  • Clifford, John, SP 4, (1968-1972)
  • Cofield, Keith, SSG, (1966-1999)
  • Cora, Constantin, SSG, (1974-1991)
  • Costa, James, CW2, (1972-1980)
  • Curtis, Larry, CW4, (1974-1994)
  • Dean, John, CW2, (1969-1971)
  • DeGood, Randy, SP 5, (1966-1974)
  • Dismukes, Bill, COL, (1958-1992)
  • Dyer, Kenneth, SP 4, (1966-1973)
  • Fonte, Ronald, PFC, (1964-1967)
  • Ford, Edgar, MSG, (1967-2007)
  • Ford, Jim, PFC, (1966-1967)
  • Foster, Jim (Clyde), SP 5, (1969-1972)
  • Foxworth, Myron, SP 4, (1971-1975)
  • Fuller, David, SP 4, (1975-1978)
  • Gaumond, William, CW5, (1968-1998)
  • Guy, LeRoy, MAJ, (1955-1975)
 

Unit Citations - Display as Table
 
Associated Patches
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Associations
 
Unit History
 
Battle/Operations History
 
Unit Timeline
Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation
Criteria
The Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross Colors) was authorized to be worn by units individually cited for service in military operations in support of the government of Sout ... More
Description
8 Feb-8 Apr 71, DAGO 5, 73
1973
Valorous Unit Award
Criteria
The Valorous Unit Award may be awarded to units of the Armed Forces of the United States for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy of the United States; while engaged in military oper ... More
Description
8 Feb 24 Mar 71, DAGO 18, 75
1971
Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Citation
Criteria
The unit citation of the Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Medal was awarded certain units by the Vietnamese government for meritorious service during the period 1 March 1961 to 28 March 1974.
Description
1 May 69-15 May 70, DAGO 55, 71
1971
Operation Lam Son 719
Operation Lam Son 719 (Vietnamese: Chiến dịch Lam Sơn 719 or Chiến dịch đường 9 – Nam Lào) was a limited-objective offensive campaign conducte ... More
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1971 - 1971
Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation
Criteria
The Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross Colors) was authorized to be worn by units individually cited for service in military operations in support of the government of Sout ... More
Description
27 mar 67-17 mar 68, DAGO 46, 69
1969
Operation TOAN THANG II 2 Nov to 16 Feb 69
Jun 1 1968 - Feb 16 1969; static defense of designated tactical areas of responsibility and reconnaissance expeditions to discourage NVA campsites and rocket positions within striking distance of Saig ... More
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1968 - 1969
Vietnam War/Tet 69 Counteroffensive Campaign
This campaign was from 23 February to 8 June 1969. From Tet 1969 through the month of June, the enemy again tried to sustain an offensive. His inability to do so can be largely attributed to aggressi ... More
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1969 - 1969
Operation Yellowstone
8 Dec 67 - 24 Feb 68, 25th Infantry Division, 2/22nd Mechanized and 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment search and destroy operations in War Zone "C" area of Tay Ninh Province, along the Cambodian ... More
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1967 - 1968
Meritorious Unit Commendation
Criteria
The Meritorious Unit Commendation is awarded to units for exceptionally meritorious conduct in performance of outstanding services for at least six continuous months during a period of military operat ... More
Description
Meritorious Unit Commendation--1 Jan-31 Dec 67, DAGO 48, 68
1967
Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation
Criteria
The Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross Colors) was authorized to be worn by units individually cited for service in military operations in support of the government of Sout ... More
Description
1 Mar 66-26 Mar 67, DAGO 22, 68
1967
Operation Cedar Falls
8 - 28 Jan; Objective was to root out Viet Cong base camps in the Iron Triangle. Viet Cong retreated to tunnels in the jungle. 25th Infantry Division, 196th Infantry Brigade and one brigade from the ... More
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1967 - 1967
Operation Dallas
May 17 - 26 Operation Dallas was conducted by units of the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division and 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment road clearing and security operation along Route 16 near P ... More
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1967 - 1967
Operation Junction City
Operation Junction City (22 February - 14 May 1967) was an 82-day military operation conducted by United States and Republic of Vietnam (RVN or South Vietnam) forces begun on 22 February 1967 during t ... More
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1967 - 1967
Operation Manhattan
Apr 23 - May 15, 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, 1st and 2nd Brigades, 25th Infantry Division and 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment search and destroy operation in ... More
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1967 - 1967
Operation Bluefield
Jun 5 – 9, Operation Bluefield, US search and destroy operation from Units of the 1st US Division ''The Big Red One'' take part in "Operation Bluefield" in June 1967.
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1967 - 1967
Operation Billings
Operation BILLINGS was a 1st Infantry Division controlled operation. The operation was conducted against VC/NVA forces and installations in an area extending east from the SONG BE River to Route 1A an ... More
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1967 - 1967
Operation Shelby
code named "Operation Shelby.” The sweep involved units of the U. S. 199th Light Infantry Brigade, the U. S. 25th Infantry Division and troops of the South Vietnamese army. The Air Force 8 ... More
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1967 - 1967
Operation Witch Hunt
The 173th AHC participated in operation Witch Hunt, in the vacinity of Trai Be on the 16th of August.
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1967 - 1967
Operation Shenandoah II
Sep 27 - Nov 19; 1st ID operation in Binh Duong Province and extended to include the Loc Ninh area of Binh Long Province after enemy attacks on the district town. 956 known enemy casualties.
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1967 - 1967
Battle of Loc Ninh I
Oct 29 - Nov 1, 1st Infantry Division vs VC 273rd Division.
History Icon
1967 - 1967
Valorous Unit Award
Criteria
The Valorous Unit Award may be awarded to units of the Armed Forces of the United States for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy of the United States; while engaged in military oper ... More
Description
Valorous Unit Award--4-20 Nov 66, DAGO 17, 68
1966
Operation Birmingham
Operation Birmingham was a military operation of the Vietnam War in War Zone C, north of Saigon, 24 April–17 May 1966 in the Tay Ninh Province, South Vietnam. The US 1st Infantry Division and th ... More
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1966 - 1966
Operation Attleboro
Operation Attleboro (September 14–November 24, 1966) was a search and destroy operation by the 196th Light Infantry Brigade. The operation was named after Attleboro, Massachusetts, where the bri ... More
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1966 - 1966
173rd Aviation Company (Assault Helicopter)
The 173rd Aviation Company was activated at Ft Benning GA on 1 Sep 65, under GO 268, dtd 31 Aug 65, HQ III Army. The company was attached to the 10th Avn Gp as the 173rd Aviation Company (Airmobile) ... More
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1965
 
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