“I Got This Reputation As A Crazy Pilot”: Flying A LOACH At Hamburger Hill

Eric Rairdon


CW2 Eric Rairdon earned his pilot’s license in high school, and enlisted for Warrant Officer school with the intention of becoming a helicopter pilot. After training at Fort Polk, Louisiana, Camp Wolters, Texas, and Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, he deployed to Vietnam in September, 1968. He was assigned to the Headquarters Company of 3rd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division at Phuc Vinh, initially flying courier missions around the country. When the Battle of Hamburger Hill began on May 10, 1969, he not only flew scouting missions, but also brought supplies, ammunition, and replacements to the battlefield, and evacuated wounded Soldiers on return trips. He was wounded during the battle, and had to remain on the hill overnight awaiting evacuation. In this interview, he talks about his training, deploying to Vietnam, and routine flight missions. He discusses, in detail, the battle of Hamburger Hill and his role in the fight. He describes getting shot through both legs as he was preparing to take off, and the split-second decision he made whether or not to try and fly out. He reflects on the night spent on the ground waiting for another crew to come to get him and his helicopter. Finally, he expresses what his service means to him.


conflicts Vietnam War
topics Courage Leadership Morale Military Techniques War in the Air
interviewer Dave Siry
date 16 May 2017


name Eric Rairdon
service Aviation
unit HHC 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division
specialty Warrant Officer
service dates 1967 1970