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.

Who Are We?

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 (known as “slicks”) 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. You can also see more information about call signs and who used various call signs on our Call Signs page.

The Association

The Rattler/Firebird Association has no political agenda. We simply provide a means to honor the memory of those we have lost and 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, “Thank you for your service. Welcome Home!”

What’s New?

Here are the most recent changes to our site:

06/01/2024 – Added Name to Taps Page

Added James Surwillo to the list of men who have died

05/12/2024 – Added Name to Taps Page

Added John McNamee to the list of men who have died

Director’s Corner


December 25, 2023…Merry Christmas to everyone!  As of yesterday, our new address directory is ready to be mailed tomorrow if the bulk mail center is open. Now to finish the newsletter!  rs

I do not do texts, messenger, or linkedin. My email is: wseabolt46@gmail.com. If you send me an email, please leave your full name. I have over 300 names in my address book.

My address as of May 2017 is: 1492 VZ County Road 2701, Mabank, TX 75147-6003.

The Association phone number is: 903-848-9033.

Ron Seabolt – National Director