Rattler/Firebird Association

Rattler, Firebird & Snake Doctor Call Signs

Call Signs Explained

A radio call sign was assigned to each individual aircraft commander. That call sign identified that man, not any specific aircraft. Rattler followed by a number identified an aircraft commander of a slick, Firebird and a number identified an aircraft commander of a gun ship, and Snake Doctor identified a maintenance officer.

Single Digit Numbers
Single digit numbers were used by the company headquarters as follows:
  • 6 was the company commander
  • 5 was the executive officer
  • 3 was the operations officer
Two Digit Numbers
The digits were always pronounced individually, for example Rattler 11 was Rattler One One never Rattler eleven. The first digit of two digit numbers identifed the platoon:
  • 1 was the first platoon
  • 2 was the second platoon
  • 9 was the third platoon, or Firebirds
The numbers ending in six were reserved for commanders
  • Rattler 16 would be the platoon leader of the first platoon
  • Rattler 26 would be the platoon leader of the second platoon
  • Firebird 96 would be the platoon leader of the third platoon Firebird gun ships
Two digit numbers where the second digit was other than six simply indicated a specific aircraft commander.
The maintenance platoon used the call sign Snake Doctor, which may or may not have also used a number, depending on time period.


You may notice, if you read through the table below, that a few of the call signs don't fall into the above descriptions. Please understand that this information has been compiled based on the recollections of the men. Complete accuracy is therefore not assured. Also, in many cases men had different call signs at different times, based on the job they had at that time. In those cases, men may have had more than one call sign during the time they served with us. Finally, note that the dates shown are the dates the men served with our company and not necessarily the dates they used any particular call sign. If you can help us make this listing more complete, or more accurate, please contact us.

How To Use This Page

If you click on a column heading, the list will be sorted on that column and display only entries that have a value in that column. Because some of the entries contain multiple call signs, or non-numeric characters, the sort is done alphabetically instead of numerically. That means that they are sorted first by the first character, then the second character, etc.

Call Sign Listing

NameRattlerFirebirdSnakedoctorDates with unit
Cahill, Doug18 Admin Officer9-67 to 5-68
Johannsen, Steven B.14 Snakedoctor10/69 to 06/70
Leming, Joe  Snakedoctor03/65 to 02/66
Hargrove, William T.  Snakedoctor03/65 to 02/66
Sims, James  Snakedoctor07/67 to 07/68
Richard, David P.25 Snakedoctor09/66 to 10/67
Kirila, Michael R.  Snakedoctor07/67 to 02/68
Honda, Wallace T.27 Snakedoctor06/69 to 12/70
Taylor, Billy W.  Snakedoctor12/64 to 11/65
Young, Ray  Snakedoctor11/64 to 11/65
Budig, Sherwood26 Snakedoctor11/67 to 09/68
Breton, Joseph  Snakedoctor03/66 to 02/67
Bartlett, Paul E.  Snakedoctor03/67 to 03/68
Anderson, Gary S.12 Snakedoctor 0110/68 to 10/69
Williams, Gerald L.  Snakedoctor 01, 602/68 to 02/69
Harrison, Richard S.34 Snakedoctor 0212/70 to 09/71
Holland, Joseph P.  Snakedoctor 211/64 to 07/65
McDowell, Mark J.  Snakedoctor 610/68 to 10/69
Sienkiewicz, Richard J.16, 596Snakedoctor 603/70 to 03/71
Chandler, James H.16 Snakedoctor 603/69 to 03/70