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"Without that guardian angel, I'd have been dead." (Video Interview, 38:18)

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   Gerald Charles Green
Image of Gerald Charles Green
Gerald Green [detail from video]
War: Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Branch: Army
Unit: 175th Assault Helicopter Company (AHC)
Service Location: St. Louis, Missouri; Vietnam; Korea; Texas; Georgia; Alabama; Massachusetts; Arizona
Rank: Colonel
Place of Birth: IA
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Flying daily missions in Vietnam, Gerald Green lost 32 pounds during his first tour of duty, between May 1968 and May 1969. It wasn't just the flying; Green was responsible to the unit commander for over 130 other men, and he lost a brother in combat during that tour. His closest brush with death came not in the air, but on the ground when he evacuated his bunk just before a shell hit his quarters and decimated the area in which he'd been resting. For Green, the complications of flying a helicopter were made easier by the fact that he was ambidextrous.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (7 clips)
»Complete Interview  (87 min.)
Download: video
»Photo Album (1 photo)
 Official Documents
»Certificate of release or discharge from active duty
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»Helicopters: The Multi-Mission Aircraft
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (7 items)
Naming aircraft after Indian tribes; being ambidextrous helped him to learn to fly helicopters. (02:04) Leaving for Vietnam in May 1968; on flight over, during a stopover in Hawaii, met his oldest brother, also serving and stationed there; first impression of Vietnam; landing in Ton Son Nhut; tried to contract his #2 brother, who was in the field in country; was stationed in Mekong Delta. (03:56) Guy he was replacing asking Green what his worth was; caused him to reflect on standards and continuity; pressure of flying and being responsible for over 130 men, as well as maintenance; getting 2-3 hours of sleep a night; dropping 32 pounds during his tour; details of his missions, supporting Vietnamese Army and ferrying troops from the 9th Division. (05:58)
Trying to impart lessons to other pilots, who didn't always pay attention; in one incident, two new pilots broke off from formation for a rescue mission; they were shot down and killed; feeling he had failed to train them properly. (05:47) Army mixing men in the same unit with different return dates to keep turnover rates down; his brother Glen, also serving, staying on after their brother Don was killed; Glen brought home the body and went back, staying in country for six years. (01:03) Has always been religious; believes in being watched over; in his bunk one day when he awoke and saw something which told him to move; narrowly escaping a mortar attack that destroyed the area he had vacated. (02:58)
Story about an aircraft maintenance soldier who was slipping in his duties; finally confessing to Green that his wife back home was being hit on by another man; Green advising him to write to his father to take care of the problem. (03:58)  
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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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