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 (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.
The Rattler/Firebird Association has no political agenda. We simply provide a means to stay in touch with those who share our experiences and to honor the memory of those we have lost. 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 11th...Still working on the newsletter with reunion details. Our local ABC station had a story tonight about tail rotor chain braclets. A company in Washington state is making some and selling them for $700 each! rs..
May 9, 2015...ATTENTION: We are now sold out of the black Firebird shirts in size XXL. rs
April 18, 2015.....48 years ago today the bulk of our company took off from the Snakepit in Bien Hoa for the last time headed to our new home and the unknown of Chu Lai. The mascot dog, Isky, rode on my aircraft. I never saw him again after that!!! He just may have made stew meat.....Our May newsletter will go to the printer next week, actually on time. rs..
October 13, 2014.....Our contract was signed today with the same Marriott Hotel that we used last summer, for our next reunion. The dates are May 18-22, 2016. rs.