Reactivation Of The 457th


The Reactivation of the 457th in Vietnam

Here is some info on the inception of the 457th at Can Tho and Soc Trang.  “Pat” Tiernan was our first member of project Red Leaf to arrive, but after that more of us began to trickle in.  I think Charlie Shipp and I arrived in September along with a bunch of other troops.  By November’s end most of the missions were either totally Air Force guys or half Air Force and half Army. 

During those early days we learned all about flying in the delta.  IV Corps was our territory.  Our Army IP’s gave us slogans to live by; such as … “Never go below 3,000 ft until you are over your destination”  ( to stay out of the range of small arms fire).  Although they were disappointed to lose the Caribou to the Air Force, They were really glad to be going home.  Our boss was LTC Henry Glover, but we served under Maj. Bob Landry, the Army Company Commander until we moved to Cam Rahn Bay on the 1st of January 1967.

Bill Higgins


134th Army Aviation Company
457th Tactical Airlift Squadron

In early August the 134th was notified of “Operation Red Leaf”, the transfer of the Caribous to Air Force control.  On 13 August Major John F. Tiernan arrived as the first Air Force replacement.  Major Tiernan’s blue uniform put him on the receiving end of considerable ribbing but his good nature and quick wit soon made him a regular member of the unit.  Shortly thereafter, every conceivable type of Air Force pilot showed up to be transitioned into Caribous (B-52, F-100, F4C, Reconnaissance, etc).  Surprisingly, the transitions went smoothly.

More and more Air Force officers and enlisted men began arriving in November and living quarters again became a problem.  Air Force and Army personnel now worked side by side.  By this time almost everyone who came over with the 134th had reassignment orders and the old saying of “Happiness in Vietnam is DEROS” was finally coming true.  The first large group of officers and enlisted men left on the 17th of the month, leaving only a small number of Army personnel remaining.

Also in November, Aircraft 61-4161 struck a mound of dirt with the left gear causing major damage while on a Special Forces low level extraction mission.  The aircraft landed at Bien Thuy Airfield with no injuries to the crew.  The left main gear was replaced and the aircraft then flown to Vung Tau for more repairs.

By the beginning of December only a few key Army personnel were left and the Air Force take over was almost complete.  The remaining Army personnel were kept busy with the final phases of deactivation.  The Air Force was confronted with the problem of moving the entire unit from Can Tho and Soc Trang to their new home at Cam Ranh Bay.  The last Army pilots in the unit flew “Operation Rudolph” on the day before Christmas and air-dropped a Christmas package to every Special Forces camp in IV Corps.  The last officer to sign out of the 134th Aviation Company was LTC Robert L. Landry.

During the company's tour in Vietnam, it carried 13,700 personnel on troop lifts, flew 26,170 sorties, carried 15,244 tons of cargo, 165,010 passengers, performed 620 medivacs and flew 13,710 hours.  The 134th Aviation Company was deactivated at Cam Ranh Bay on 1 January 1967.






13 Jan 2009 03:16 PM