Original U.S. Vietnam War 1st Air Cavalry Helicopter Gunner Pilot Knife and Air Medal Grouping
Original Item: One-of-a-kind set. This is a fantastic grouping that belonged to Specialist Four E4 Roger W. Brown RA13816427 a gunner on the UH-1 helicopter in the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), commonly referred to as the 1st Air Cavalry Division who flew during the Vietnam War.
This grouping consists of the following items:
- Wonderful condition Vietnam Era Jet Pilot’s Survival Knife. The knife was originally designed in 1957 as a joint issue between the Navy Weapons Bureau and the Marbles Arms Company. As originally designed it had a 6”, saw back blade. In 1962, the knife was modified by reducing the blade to 5” in length. The post-1962 knives were produced by the Camillus Cutlery Company and Milpar during the Vietnam Era. These knives were initially issued to Naval Air Crews but saw service with airmen in all branches of US military service. The knife was issued with a leather scabbard that had a pouch on the front for a sharpening stone. The blade is excellent and appears to retain its original factory edge. The blade is engraved Roger W. Brown RA13816427 and retains about 95% of its original factory parkerized finish. The hexagonal pommel cap of the knife is clearly marked on one flat, in three lines: CAMILLUS / N.Y. The knife’s leather washer hilt is in very good condition, with only some minor scuffing and light handling marks present. The original issue sharpening stone is present in the pouch on the front of the scabbard. The leather scabbard is in good condition. It shows some wear and use and appears to have been carried on a belt at least some. The leather is solid and supple throughout and the stitching and staple backed rivets are all solidly in place. The blackened brass snaps on the knife retention strap and the stone pouch are fully functional and both straps are solid and still supple. The back of the sheath reads FURY.
- Original Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster in original box with maker information and government stock numbers.
- Original Air Medal Award Certificate named to Specialist Four E4 Roger W. Brown RA13816427 dated August 11th, 1966 and signed by John Norton, Commander of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile).
- Original 8 x 10 B/W photo of Brown being presented his Air Medal.
- Original Color photo of Brown in front of his helicopter. The reverse of the photo reads Roger Brown. Camp Radcliff. Camp Radcliff, An Khe, Vietnam, in the Central Highlands was a deployment base for the 1st Air Cavalry Division.
- Original 1st Cavalry Division Patch.
The 1st Cavalry Division next fought in the Vietnam War. No longer a conventional infantry unit, the division had become an air assault division as the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), commonly referred to as the 1st Air Cavalry Division. The use of helicopters on such large scale as troop carriers, cargo lift ships, medevacs, and as aerial rocket artillery, was never before implemented, but by doing so it freed the infantry from the tyranny of terrain to attack the enemy at the time and place of its choosing. In 1965, colors and subordinate unit designations of the 1st Cavalry Division were transferred from Korea to Fort Benning, Georgia, where they were used to reflag the existing 11th Air Assault Division (Test) into 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). Concurrently, the colors and subordinate unit designations were transferred to Korea to reflag what had been the 1st Cavalry Division into the 2nd Infantry Division.
Shortly thereafter, the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) began deploying to Camp Radcliff, An Khe, Vietnam, in the Central Highlands and was equipped with the new M16 rifle, the UH-1 troop carrier helicopter, UH-1-C gunships, the CH-47 Chinook cargo helicopter, and the massive CH-54 Skycrane cargo helicopter. All aircraft carried insignia to indicate their battalion and company.
The division's first major operation was to help relieve the Siege of Plei Me near Pleiku and the pursuit of the withdrawing North Vietnamese Army which culminated in the Battle of Ia Drang, described in the book We Were Soldiers Once...And Young, was also the basis of the film We Were Soldiers. Because of that battle the division earned the Presidential Unit Citation (US), the first unit to receive such in the war. In 1966, the division attempted to root the communist Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese army (PAVN) out of Binh Dinh province with Operation Masher, Operation Crazy Horse and Operation Thayer. 1967 was then spent conducting Operation Pershing, a large scale search and destroy operation of communist base areas in II Corps in which 5,400 communist soldiers were killed and 2,000 captured. In Operation Jeb Stuart, January 1968, the division moved north to Camp Evans, north of Hue and on to Landing Zone Sharon and Landing Zone Betty, south of Quang Tri City, all in the I Corps Tactical Zone.
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