Origin & Brief History

Casper Aviation Platoon was the only separate aviation platoon in the United States Army during the Vietnam War.  Casper was organized with the 173d Airborne Brigade on Okinawa in 1963 and arrived in country with the Brigade on May 5, 1965 becoming the first United States Army ground unit committed to the Vietnam War. Casper Platoon supported the Brigade until they all left Vietnam in August 1971.  

Casper flew almost every type of heliborne mission there was including resupply, visual reconnaissance, Snoopy, Nighthawk, dust off, command & control and combat assault missions.  Besides loyalty and dedication to their job, Caspers had the highest "extension" rate in the Brigade.  Casper Platoon Veterans served the 173d Airborne Brigade proudly during their "Tour of Duty" and continue to be honored today for their service in Vietnam.

"This website is dedicated to all of the men who served in Casper Aviation Platoon"

LZ English, Bong Son, 1969

During our Tour of Duty in Vietnam, the Casper Platoon was relocated four times and finally called LZ English our home from early 1968 to 1971. Casper's "Ghost Town" was located on the east side of LZ English and right next to what we called  "Sniper Village.” This was a popular VC area after the sun went down.

Ghost Town

Map of Vietnam

Casper Aviation Platoon areas of operation from 1965 thru 1971.

Casper Aircraft Assigned

This complete list of the 173d ABN BDE | Casper Aviation Platoon aircraft information is provided by the Vietnam Helicopter Pilot Association, VHPA.

OH-13S Sioux "Hot Stuff."  Bien Hoa Airfield, 1965

OH-13S Sioux "Hot Stuff".  Bien Hoa Airfield, 1966

UH-1H Iroquois "Huey."  Dak To, 1967

UH-1H Iroquois "Huey."  An Khe, 1968

OH-6A Cayuse "Inferno Scout.” Central Highlands, 1968

OH-6A Cayuse "Inferno Scout."  Bong Son, 1969

OH-58A Kiowa "Inferno Scout."  An Loa Valley, 1970

Links to some of our favorite places

     173d Airborne Brigade Association

     173d Airborne Brigade Vietnam Newsletter (2/503d)


     Vietnam Helicopter Flight Crew Network

     Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association

     Vietnam Helicopter Crew Members Association

     Army Aviation Museum - Ft. Rucker

     Army Otter-Caribou Association

     Casper Story: War Memorial Gets Personal Touch

     Casper Story: Casper Platoon Packs Punch

     Casper Story: Casper

     Casper Story: Casper Tries Harder

     Casper Story: Casper Platoon

     Casper Story: Night Hawk Cancels Darkness

     Casper Story: Night Hawk - 2nd Bn Gets One

     Casper Story: Viet Cong Go Fishing, Net Hot Lead

     Casper Story: VC Run Far & Fast, Makes No Gain

     Casper Story: The Ghosts of Casper

     Casper Story: Casper Kills Nine

     Casper Story: Casper LRRP Extraction

     Casper Story: 3rd Battalion Rock Troops Ops

     Casper Story: Ole Crew Chiefs & Their Flying Machines

     Casper Story: Longest "Tour of Duty"

     Casper Story: Helicopter Crew Chief

     Casper Story: Copters Rescue 11 Stranded GIs

     Casper Story: Casper 721 is Down

     Casper Story: The Third Pedro

     Casper Story: Casper 721: The Last Flight

Headquarters & Headquarter Company - 173d Airborne Brigade also received four U.S. Army Unit Citations and Campaign Participation.  For more information: Unit Awards

PHOTO GALLERY: These Casper Aviation Platoon photo albums are a powerful collection of more than 1,000 pictures that historically documents our combat role and involvement during the Vietnam War from early 1965 thru 1971.

Aircraft Assigned Album 37 Album 38 Album 31 Album 39 Album 40 Album 24 Album 23 Album 22

U.S. Army Awards & Decorations

Many of the Casper Aviation Platoon crew members were awarded some of the medals below during their tour of duty in Vietnam: The Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Vietnam War Helicopter Model Dioramas

This section displays helicopter dioramas that depict various scenes in Southeast Asia featuring the different aircraft flown by the Casper Platoon.

Casper Platoon Reunion Photos

A great collection of annual reunion photos.

Annual Reunion Photos

Casper  Aviation Platoon Tributes

8th of November Concerts

On November 8, 1965, the 173d Airborne Brigade were ambushed by over 1,200 Viet Cong and 48 American soldiers were killed. Big & Rich wrote a song about this battle. Several Casper Platoon crew members were invited to participate at the concerts.

8th of November: Big & Rich Concert Photos

Plucking Troops from Hot LZ

A Casper Platoon Huey crew prepares to extract a team of 173d Airborne Brigade Sky Soldiers from an extremely Hot LZ.

Extraction Story

Casper Aviation Platoon website was designed & created by: Ned Costa  •  Copyright ©2002 - Present  •  All Rights Reserved

Caspers in the News

Many short stories & information spotlighting Casper Platoon crew members after their tour of duty.

LZ English

Two Casper Aviation Platoon Tributes displayed at the National Vietnam War Museum in Mineral Wells, Texas.

Casper Aviation Platoon Memorial Wall displayed at LZ Sparky in Manton, Michigan.

Casper Aviation Platoon Tributes 

Honoring all those who served in Casper Aviation Platoon.

Helicopter Model Dioramas 

About Our Patches

Casper the Friendly Ghost was our original call sign.  It was shortened later in 1965 to just "Casper.”  From that point on, our helicopter group was proudly known as the Casper Aviation Platoon.

The original Casper Platoon "Ghost" was first painted by a pilot in early 1965. It was then quickly used by all of the Caspers after that.

There were at least three different Casper Platoon patches that crewmen wore in Vietnam from 1965-1971:

Casper History  Memorial             Wounded Casper Videos  Casper Photos  

Welcome to our


Vietnam Flag History 

Visit us on Facebook

Casper Facebook 1 Casper Facebook 2

Casper Platoon Nose Art from 1965 to 1971.

Several Music Videos that features Casper Platoon in and out of combat.

Helicopter Nose Art Patriotic Tribute  

Ned Costa

Casper Platoon Crew Chief


Casper Platoon Artwork by Joe Kline Aviation Art.

Casper Aviation Art     




Our Website Awards   

Last Updated: 3/31/24

Casper Videos  Related Websites

(Above) Is the first version of the Casper Platoon patch.  It was made in Bien Hoa and quickly worn by our original flight crewmen between 1965-1967.

(Above) Is our second patch design that replaced the original and then worn by many of the Casper Platoon crew as our platoon started to grow after 1968-1971.

(Above) The “Inferno” Aero Scout patch was designed to be worn by our OH-6 Inferno flight crew members on their survival vest from 1968-1971. The HIADD image was also painted on their aircraft.

(Above) "Viet Cong Hunting Club" was a popular theme among the different aviation units in Vietnam.  This was our Casper Platoon version created in 1967.  

(Above) In 1987, this patch was created for the Casper Platoon “mini-reunion” held at the VHPA Reunion.

(Above) These two Casper patches were created for our Nashville Reunion in 2017.

U.S. Army Aviator Wings

U.S. Army Aircrew Wings

The 173d Airborne Brigade (SEP) and Casper Aviation Platoon plus other flags during the Vietnam War.

Album 8   Album 10 Album 2   Album 4   Album 3   Album 1   Album 12 Album 11 Album 13 Album 27 Album 35 Album 21 Album 14 Casper News  Album 15 Album 9   Album 16 Album 18 Album 20 Album 19 Album 17 Album 26 Album 28 Album 29 Album 30 Album 25 Album 32 Album 34 Album 5   Album 36 Album 33 Album 6   Album 7  

Other Links:

Vietnam War Movies             Related Web Sites                 Aircraft Assigned                  Vietnam Era Music               

Casper Platoon Aircraft: “Always Ready” for duty

UH-1H Iroquois "Huey."  Pleiku, 1971

173d Airborne Brigade • Casper Platoon

A typical work day for Casper with a great view from our office!

Caspers Areas of Operation (AO)

The Casper Aviation Platoon arrived in-country with the 173d Airborne Brigade in 1965 and left Vietnam in 1971. The Areas of Operation during this time was in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam: Bien Hoa, Dak To, Kontum, Pleiku, An Khe and then Bong Son at LZ English.