Occasionally at USARV headquarters at night we would see Huey's and ever better Puff attacking the hilly area around the base. Puffy was a sight to be seen. B.T.
Night was approaching as Spooky 71, an AC-47 gunship, took off from Bien Hoa Air Base, a few miles northwest of Saigon. It was Feb. 24, 1969, and the second day of the Tet counteroffensive.
The Tet lunar new year of 1968—the one history remembers—had seen large-scale coordinated attacks on cities, provincial capitals, and bases all over South Vietnam. Militarily, it was a failure for the North Vietnamese, but it undercut the confidence of the American public and it was a turning point in the war.
The Tet 1969 offensive was carried out mostly by Viet Cong irregulars. It concentrated on US military installations, especially in the III Corps area around Saigon.
The rocket and mortar attacks on the bases picked up when darkness fell. Nothing was more effective than a gunship in breaking up such attacks.
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