Preserving The Oral HistorIES of Combat Veterans

COMBAT STORIES FROM Vietnam

Fred Behrens | Eagle Dust Off - Army

9:08   |   Some Rangers were getting shot up at a bad LZ and the Eagle Dust Off ships were on the way. Two choppers had already been shot down but Fred Behrens was not fazed. He sat his Huey down and picked up the injured squad leader. They got him to safety and returned but, during the second approach, he was shot through the ankle. As he struggled to control his aircraft, it received heavy fire and began to go down. Part 1 of 3.

More From Fred Behrens

Keywords   :     Fred Behrens    helicopter (chopper)    pilot    Vietnam    Dust Off    Medical Evacuation (Medevac)    Rick DeLoach    Michael Mike Brummer    Mayday    autorotation    Thompson submachine gun    Archie Ryder    North Vietnamese Army (NVA)    Marvin Duren    Dave Ohle    Stan Marcieski

Videos ( 10 )
Vietnam
  • Fred Behrens  |  Vietnam  |  Multiple Units  |  5:26

    He was an aviation nut when he was a a kid, so when it came time to choose a branch, it was the Army for Fred Behrens. They offered the quickest route to the sky. He could be trained as a helicopter pilot rather quickly and that's what he did. In his mind, he still had a romantic and heroic notion of what war was like thanks to Hollywood.

  • Fred Behrens  |  Vietnam  |  101st Aviation Battalion (Assault Helicopter)  |  6:25

    The plane had to circle Tan Son Nhut airport because of incoming rocket fire. That's how Fred Behrens was welcomed to Vietnam. He was assigned to the Kingsmen, an assault helicopter company with the 101st Airborne. He received his baptism of fire at the battle of Fire Base Ripcord, where he took a piece of shrapnel and ignored it.

  • Fred Behrens  |  Vietnam  |  Multiple Units  |  7:00

    After the intense and costly battle at Fire Base Ripcord, Huey pilot Fred Behrens was thinking he may not survive the tour. He was transferred to a different unit where he flew a smaller helicopter, the Loach, which he liked. The unit was dysfunctional, however, and he managed to make another move to Eagle Dust Off, a medical evacuation unit.

  • Fred Behrens  |  Vietnam  |  Eagle Dust Off  |  5:21

    Operation Lam Son 719 was a sprawling and disastrous ARVN operation into Laos that resulted in great loss of life for the Vietnamese soldiers and for American pilots and crew members. Fred Behrens brought his Huey and his crew through it intact and uninjured. They were a little loopy when they got back to their base, though.

  • Fred Behrens  |  Vietnam  |  Eagle Dust Off  |  4:04

    There was a hospital ship offshore that was a regular stop for Medevac pilot Fred Behrens. On one of these flights to the ship, his crew chief said there was a Major in the back just sitting there. Who was this guy?

  • Fred Behrens  |  Vietnam  |  Eagle Dust Off  |  5:46

    He was already over his allotted hours so he wasn't even supposed to be flying. But when there was a ground unit under siege and all the other choppers were already there, Medevac pilot Fred Behrens offered to get an additional ship aloft. When he got to the site, the others were just circling overhead. He was puzzled at that but went right in, anyway, and picked up his first load of wounded. Part 1 of 2.

  • Fred Behrens  |  Vietnam  |  Eagle Dust Off  |  6:19

    Fred Behrens was extracting a wounded man with a hoist up through the forest canopy and it was time to turn on the lights so the other chopper pilots could see him. That meant the NVA could see him, too, and as the tracers flew he got out of there quick. After dropping off the wounded and refueling, he returned to the site of the battle where he got a second load of wounded and watched as an RPG bounced off one of the skids. Part 2 of 2.

  • Fred Behrens  |  Vietnam  |  Eagle Dust Off  |  8:23

    At first light, downed Dust Off pilot Fred Behrens found himself in even more trouble. He took three rounds from a Cobra gunship and one from a sniper. He had already been shot while still in his chopper. The next day, the Rangers he had set out to evacuate took off and he was nearly hit with more friendly fire from a Phantom jet. Finally he saw the right uniforms heading toward him. Part 2 of 3.

  • Fred Behrens  |  Vietnam  |  Eagle Dust Off  |  8:45

    Word back at the Eagle Dust Off base was that Fred Behrens was dead. Shot down and hit with five bullets, he survived two nights in the bush and was airlifted out when he was found by some Rangers. It was a long recovery with sometimes indifferent treatment by the Army. Part 3 of 3.

  • Fred Behrens  |  Vietnam  |  Eagle Dust Off  |  6:52

    The Army showed him the door even though he was still in a wheelchair. Helicopter pilot Fred Behrens survived a crash and five bullet wounds and now he had to leave the Army he loved. He has some definite opinions on what went wrong in Vietnam and doesn't mind telling you about it.

Showing : Vietnam Videos
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