“Becoming Part Of The Aircraft”: Flying In Vietnam With The Comancheros, “God’s Own Lunatics”

Curt Bodin


Curt Bodin grew up in New Iberia, Louisiana, in a family with 8 children. His dad held several jobs, but eventually worked for the Curtis Candy Company managing vending machines before starting his own company. His mother stayed at home raising the children. In high school, Curt knew everybody, and he learned leadership in the Boy Scouts. He attended Northwestern State University and majored in accounting. In the summers he flew helicopters to oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. He completed three years of college, took a year off to work in the oil fields, and was drafted. He was trained as a 67N20, Helicopter Mechanic, on a UH-1 Huey. After spending some time as a crew chief, he was selected to become a pilot and assigned to the Huey, knowing that he would soon be deployed to Vietnam. After flight school he took leave, and relocated his wife and daughter to Memphis, Tennessee. Describing his initial impression of Vietnam, he says it felt like southern Louisiana, and he hoped for an assignment to the IV Corps Region because the Mekong Delta was most like his home state, but instead he was assigned to I Corps. After two days at Long Binh, he flew to Phu Bai on a C-130, and then took a truck to Camp Evans, where he joined A Company, 101st Aviation Battalion, the Comancheros. He felt blessed to join that unit because “all the Comancheros knew [if anything happened] your buddies were coming for you.” He typically flew missions around Hue and the Citadel, but occasionally flew for MAC-V SOG. Throughout the interview, he describes various types of missions he flew, some of which were particularly harrowing, including one where a gunship “put the fire right over the tips of my blades.” He describes Lam Son 719 in 1971 when ARVN officers were directing the battle from his Huey, and flying missions in the A Shau Valley. At one point he was injured when two helicopters clashed in a rotor strike. He recalls losing an entire crew on a MAC-V SOG mission and shutting down socially afterward. Following that experience, he did not want to become friends with a new pilot, stating “I told him, ‘you’re not good enough.’” Years later he reconciled with that pilot. After returning from Vietnam, he suffered post-traumatic stress and admits that “the quiet times get you.” Even so, he considers his service the “best thing that ever happened to me,” and he appreciates the love he feels for his fellow Comancheros.


conflicts Vietnam War
topics Leadership Teamwork Camaraderie War in the Air Returning from War Military Techniques
interviewer David Siry
date 03 December 2021


name Curt Bodin
institution Northwestern State University
service Aviation
unit A Company, 101st Aviation Battalion, 101st Airborne Division
specialty Helicopter Crew Chief / Warrant Officer Pilot
service dates 1967