This Letter and Incredible Photos are Provided By Skip Davis


(Webmaster note;) I've used Skip Davis's own words to describe the photos. - email Skip Davis - obleo@erols.com

December 1, 1998

      Jerry Headly asked me to contact you regarding any info I might have that might be useful to your web page. The background for his request is that I was a scout pilot with B Troop 3/17th Air Cav, headquartered at DiAn, and we supported the 25th Inf and 3/4 Cav out of CuChi during Tet. I recently read Dwight Birdwell's book, contacted him and emailed a few photos relating to C Troop and the battle at Hoc Mon. My unit's scouts and gunships located and engaged NVA troops on the north side of the east-west Hoc Mon canal on the first day of Tet. The engagement was abruptly terminated with an airstrike early in the afternoon and coincidentally, our S2 was later informed that our NVA troops were designated reinforcements for Tan Son Nhut.
      Also during the first week of the offensive (can't remember which day), we were instructed to find a 'missing' M48 in and around Hoc Mon. The first team out at sunrise located it and were then joined by myself in an OH6 LOH, and 2 gunships. After several low passes over the apparently deserted tank, I slowed and allowed my observer to fire a few rounds at the M48 to 'elicit a reponse' from any lurking NVA. To my surprise, there was no groundfire, however several of my observer's rounds entered the commander's cupola which was immediately followed by an explosion and fire inside the turret (it burned for hours). As it turned out, the M48 was Dwight Birdwell's C35 which fortunately, he was not on that day (or previous afternoon actually). Several days later, I had my camera and took three photos of the burned M48, which by then had been napalmed by the Air Force for good measure.
      Our Air Cav Troop worked AO's in the large NW quadrant of war zone C, which included Tay Ninh and north to the borders, east nearly to An Loc, to the southwest of Saigon, to the border. I have about 250 slides (the only film available in the PX) taken over a wide area. Most of them are snapshots, but if there is any area of interest to you, I will gladly scan and email them.

Skip Davis

B Troop 3/17 Air Cav