During the current campaign by United States forces in the Mekong Delta of South Viet Nam, heavily armed U.
During the current campaign by United States forces in the Mekong Delta of South Viet Nam, heavily armed U.S. helicopters are aiding small U. S. Navy ships on search and destroy missions along the hundreds of miles of waterway. These helicopters operate from Landing Ship Tanks that are small enough to sail along the shallow Delta waterways.
In this operation, shown on our film, two U. S. Navy patrol boats from what is termed the "Game Warden" fleet of small U. S. boats in the Delta, had drawn Viet Cong fire from an island in the Basuc River, an estuary of the Mekong. The Navy Patrol boats had tried to intercept several sampans trying to get to the island. Viet Cong forces on the island began firing on the patrol boats, to aid the fleeing sampans.
The helicopter gunships flew in low over the island, laying down heavy fire from machine guns and rockets. Each helicopter carries four .50 calibre machine guns, two on each side, and 14 2.75mm mounted in twin rocket pods.
The helicopters stayed in the air over the island for about one hour, then flew back to the Landing Ship Tanks to reload its guns and rockets, and get more fuel. A U. S. military spokesman says this combination of small, heavily armed Navy patrol boats and helicopter gun ships is proving effective in fighting the Viet Cong sampan army in the Mekong Delta.