Rattler/Firebird Home Page
Welcome to the snakepit! This is the home page of the Rattlers and Firebirds of Company A/501st Aviation Battalion, 71st Assault Helicopter Company, 151st Transportation Detachment, and the 94th Signal Detachment. We served in Vietnam from 1964 until 1971, moving from our original base at Bien Hoa to Chu Lai in 1967.
Rattler & Firebird Names
The radio call signs “Rattler” and “Firebird” were used by our aircraft during our service in Vietnam. “Rattler” was used by our UH-1D & H helicopters that carried troops, supplies, ammunition, performed command and control, combat assault, medical evacuation and insertion/extraction missions, as well as many others. The call sign “Firebird” was used by our UH-1B, C & M gunships, some of the most feared gunships in all of Vietnam. You can find more about the call signs and where they came from on our history page.
The Rattler/Firebird Association has no political agenda. We simply provide a means to stay in touch with those who share our experiences. If you served with us, or with anyone else during the Vietnam conflict and nobody has told you this already, we'd like take this opportunity to say, “Welcome Home!”
November 28th...Happy Thanksgiving to all who see this. The newsletter should go to the printer before next week ends. rs
October 11th....We are presently putting together the lineup of tours that will be offered next year at the reunion. Among these on Thursday around noon will be a tour of Fort Wolters, the museum and gift shop at Mineral Wells. Remember the D model Huey mounted on the pedestal out there was once a Rattler aircraft in which Ernie Palmeri was fatally shot on December 8, 1966. A ladies meet & greet will be held Thursday afternoon around four o'clock just in time for the Fort Wolters group to return to the hotel. Thursday night a bus will be going to "Billy Bob's Texas" for dinner. Billy' Bob's, located in Fort Worth, is known as the largest Honky Tonk in the USA.
Fridays events will include the new George Bush Library, the Perot Museum of Natural History and the Sixth Floor exhibit. This refers to the sixth floor of the (at one time) Texas Schoolbook Depository from which Lee Harvey Oswald killed John Kennedy.
After Saturday's Memorial Service and business meeting a tour bus will depart for the Cowboy Stadium (now AT&T Stadium). This 1.1 billion dollar edifice is something else. rs
September 3rd.....A new feature has been opened for our wives who use Facebook. Kathy Bowen, wife of Hal Bowen (OF 67-68) is the creator of Rattlers and Firebirds Wives. Our men who are reading this should mention it to their spouse, especially if you attend our reunions. The ladies will need to "friend" Kathy Rogers Bowen to be included. rs
July 13th....Please click on Reunion 2014 Page down below under "what's new" to be directed to reservation information. rs