3.5" wide x 4" tall.
82nd Med. Det.
Involvement mounted, the requests made by Kelly and Stilwell for another air ambulance unit at last took effect. In August the Surgeon General's Office named five more helicopter ambulance detachments for assignment to Southeast Asia. The 82d Medical Detachment (Helicopter Ambulance) at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, was alerted for a 1 October move. The other four detachments were put on notice without firm departure dates and told to bring their units to full strength.
The advance party of the 82d arrived in Saigon on 5 October, and the next day Support Group, Vietnam, gave the detachment five new UH-1B's. The rest of the detachment arrived two weeks later. The officers and enlisted men of the 82d spent their first nights in Saigon billeted with their counterparts in the 57th. There they heard disturbing war stories from the veterans, then left for their new home in Soc Trang. Most of the detachment traveled by convoy, down Route 4 through the alien Delta countryside. Their first sight of Soc Trang-a small airstrip with a tiny village at one end, lying in the middle of rice paddies, with only a triple-stranded concertina wire to protect the perimeter-added to their concern.
To stagger personnel departure dates and help train the new 82d pilots and crews in Dust Off flying, three of the 57th pilots transferred to the 82d, and three from the 82d transferred to the 57th. Mai Henry P. Capozzi commanded the 82d; Maj. Howard H. Huntsman, the 57th. The 82d used the 57th's Hueys until it had its own in place and declared itself operational on 7 November 1964.
The new unit retraced the steps of their predecessors. Soon after they started flying evacuation missions the pilots of the 82d had their first taste of Viet Cong resistance. On a mission near Bac Lieu on 27 October, one of their new helicopters took three hits during a takeoff with casualties aboard. The crew flew back to Soc Trang and found one bullet hole through the red cross on one of the cargo doors. One of the ARVN evacuees lay dead from an enemy round that had penetrated the aircraf