73rd Aviation Company (Aerial Surveillance) Details
The 73rd Aviation Company (Airplane Surveillance) (Light) was activated at Fort Rucker, Alabama, on 27 March, 1963, with Personnel Fill Date 15 May, and Readiness Date 24 May, and Equipment Readiness Date 20 May, 1963. The Department of the Army priority allocation of effort insured the highest degree of cooperation. At the time of departure from Fort Rucker for Vietnam, on 28 May, 1963, there were 98% officers and 96% enlisted men present for duty. All personnel received highly concentrated mission training, in the short time available, and were in fact ready to perform the unit's stated mission. The Company was air transported by MATS from Maxwell AFB, Alabama to Saigon, Vietnam. There was no finalized stationing plan or mission for the unit upon its arrival in Vietnam. The Company was temporarily located at three sites - Saigon, Vung Tau, and Nha Trang - for billeting purposes, awaiting mission and stationing disposition by Headquarters, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV). On 9 June, 1963, the Company was assigned the mission of providing an Aerial Surveillance Section per Army of Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) Division (3 aircraft each) and one section in support of Hqs, Special Forces. Also, on same date, the Company was augmented with 10 TO-1D's; total 32 aircraft, VOCG, USASCV, and J-3 MACV.
On 10 June, 63, the first aircraft was received from Air Vietnam; on 23 July, the 32d aircraft was received. On 20 June, the initial Aerial Surveillance Platoon was deployed in the 4th ARVN Corps area. From the initial deployment date (20 June 1963) through 30 Sept 1964, the Company accomplished over 45,000 missions, logging over 43,000 hours, average flying hours per month per assigned aircraft 100, average monthly aircraft availability 90%. The high sustained aircraft availability rate was noted by the Deputy Secretary of the Army. Several were shot down and unit aircraft were hit by enemy ground fire on more than 85 occasions. Operational results were most gratifying. The Company was favorably noticed by the Department of Army Flight Safety Team for its flight safety record. There were nine pilot error accidents in over 45,000 hours of flying. Other accidents were combat damage connected.
The Unit was recommended by the supported Commanders for the award of the Distinguished Unit Citation, and was approved by CG, USMACV on 19 March 1964 for the award of Meritorious Unit Citation since the award of Distinguished Unit Citation is currently not authorized. The Meritorious Unit Citation was presented to the Company by General W. C. Westmoreland at ceremonies in Nha Trang on 18 July 1964. This represented the first such award to be presented to a unit since the Korean War, and in addition, the 73rd was the first aviation unit to receive the coveted distinction in Vietnam.
The 73d Aviation Company was constituted and allotted to the Regular Army effective 23 March 1963. It was assigned to the Third United States Army, Fort Rucker, Alabama, as the 73d Aviation Company (Aerial Surveillance) (Lt) under TO&E 1-7D, 1960, Ch 4 (TO&E 300-24), TO&E 300-18 and TO&E 300-20.
Authorized strength of 43 Officers, 1 Warrant Officer and 111 Enlisted Men.
Authority : AGAO-O (M), 28 March 1963
DCSPER, 2 April 1963
Amended : AGAO-O (M), 16 April 1963
DCSPER, 29 April 1963
Further Amended : AGAO-O (M), 13 May 1963
DCSPER, 22 May 1963
The unit was activated on 27 March 1963.
Authority: General Order 104, Third US Army, 27 March 1963
Amended: General Order 149, Third US Army, 9 May 1963
The unit was transferred on permanent change of station from Fort Rucker to the United States Army, Pacific under Movement Project Code URL. Additionally they were relieved from assignment to Third US Army and assigned to United States Army, Pacific, upon their arrival in Vietnam.
Authority: Department of the Army Message 334114, 8 April 1963
Letter: AJRAG-M LO 760, US Army Aviation Center, 17 April 1963
Amended: Department of the Army Message 338084, 16 May 1963
Letter: AJRAG-M LO 1048, US Army Aviation Center, 22 May 1963
The unit was reorganized under TO&E 1-7D, Ch 5 (TO&E 300-25) on 20 June 1964. Authorized strength 43 Officers, 1 Warrant Officer, 109 Enlisted Men.
Authority: AGAO-O (M), 10 April 1964
DCSPER, 8 May 1964
General Order 107, US Army, Pacific, 4 June 1964
The unit was brought to zero strength on 1 November 1964.
Authority: General Order 658, US Army Support Command, Vietnam, 30 October 1964
The unit was reorganized as the 73d Aviation Company (Aerial Surveillance) under TO&E 1- 128T effective 26 December 1964. Authorized strength 27 Officers, 3 Warrant Officers, 174 Enlisted Men.
Authority: General Order 246, US Army, Pacific, 21 December 1964
Amended: General Order 12, US Army, Pacific, 18 January 1965
The unit was reorganized under TO&E 1-128T effective 1 June 1966. Authorized strength 37 Officers, 3 Warrant Officers and 252 Enlisted Men.
Authority: General Order 125, US Army, Pacific, 27 May 1966
The unit was reorganized under MTO&E 1-128T (USARPAC 2/67 Level 1) effective 5 November 1967. Authorized strength 37 Officers, 3 Warrant Officers and 252 Enlisted Men.
Authority: General Order 206, US Army, Pacific, 23 October 1967
The unit was reorganized under MTO&E 1-128T (USARPAC 1/68) effective 1 December 1968. Authorized strength 19 Officers, 22 Warrant Officers and 290 Enlisted Men.
Authority: General Order 771, US Army, Pacific, 22 November 1968
The unit was reorganized under MTO&E 1-128TP02 (USARPAC 1/69 Level 1) effective 15 May 1969. Authorized strength 19 Officers, 22 Warrant Officers and 290 Enlisted Men.
Authority: General Order 379, US Army, Pacific, 9 May 1969
The units parenthetical identification was changed from (Aerial Surveillance) to (Surveillance Airplane) effective 15 May 1969.
Authority: General Order 379, US Army, Pacific, 9 May 1969
The unit was reduced to zero strength and departed Vietnam for United States Army, Europe on 28 April 1972
Authority: LOI DAAG-PAP-A(M), 18 February 1972
DAMO-ODT, 25 February 1972
The 73d Aviation Company was redesignated as the 73d Military Intelligence Company effective 30 June 1973.
Authority: General Order 487, US Army, Europe and Seventh Army, 15 February 1974
The 73d Military Intelligence Company was inactivated effective 15 May 1979.
Authority: PO 57-1, US Army, Europe and Seventh Army, 14 July 1978