Sgt Allen Rogers, U.S. Marine Corps (1967-1971)



The following Reflection represents Sgt Allen Rogers’s legacy of their military service from 1967 to1971. If you are a Veteran, consider preserving a record of your own military service, including your memories and photographs, on (TWS), the leading archive of living military history. The Service Reflections is an easy-to-complete self-interview, located on your TWS Military Service Page, which enables you to remember key people and events from your military service and the impact they made on your life.

Of all the military operations you participated in, including combat, humanitarian or peacekeeping operations, which of these made a lasting impact on you and why?:

I arrived in Vietnam in January 1969 as an aircraft electrician for CH-46 helicopters in HMM-265. I became a ‘door-gunner’ in February and started flying on combat missions. I flew combat missions for several months. On the sixth of August, I flew a total of 26 separate combat missions that hectic day. For that, and the fact that we had received enemy fire, I received my “Air Medal” and ‘earned’ my Combat Air Crew wings.

At that time, something very unusual happened. By then, I knew most of the pilots quite well since I had gone up with them many times on ‘test flights’ after repairing flight-critical equipment. They knew me quite well also. During these “test flights,” they taught me how to fly the helicopter.

On this particular mission, I was flying as a ‘door gunner,’ and our bird was flying cover for a Vietnamese Huey. The Huey was flying 50-100 feet above the trees or open ground, and we were about 1000’ higher. We were trying to lure VC into firing at the Huey, then supply covering fire and call in artillery to take them out. The Huey flew in a twisting motion to present a hard target to hit. Our bird had to follow those twisty turns. 

After three hours, both birds returned to the base to refuel. After refueling, our copilot got out of his seat and walked to where I was standing next to my .50 caliber machine gun. I had taken a lot of ‘test rides’ with him. 

He tapped me on the shoulder, “Hey Rogers, I want to play door gunner. Why don’t you take my seat for a while?”  How does an E-4 respond to a Captain? “Yes, Sir.” 

I went into the cockpit and strapped myself into his seat. I looked at the pilot. He said, “Well, Rogers – You’ve got it – Take Off.” 

I took the controls, increased the engine RPM’ and raised the collective with my left hand. With my right hand, I pushed the cyclic stick forward. The helicopter blades tipped forward, and the whole bird started rising. The copilot talked me through everything, and I soon had us all airborne. I was a little shaky at first, but soon everything settled out. 

The biggest problem was trying to match the maneuvers of the Hue we were flying cover for. So, for a little over a full hour, I was actually the pilot, flying a combat mission in a CH-46 helicopter! I managed to taxi down the runway, take off, track the Vietnamese Hue, and fly back to base. 

I had slowed down to land at the end of the runway when a crosswind started causing the helicopter to crab 10-15 degrees sideways. I just wasn’t putting enough yaw into the pedals. So, when we were about 30 feet above the ground, the copilot took over and landed the bird. 

That was definitely one of the highlights of my entire time in Vietnam!

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Tags: Air Medal, CH-46 helicopter, CH-46 helicopters, Combat Air Crew wings, HMM-265, Military Memories of our Runner-Ups, Vietnam, Vietnam in 1969


  1. Michael Rhodes

    Thanks for sharing your story Allen, what an opportunity that was, and clearly you were trusted to be given that chance. Thank You for your service and congratulations on the Runner Up win for June. All the best.

  2. Don A ROGERS

    I am Sgt Allen Rogers and the one you have a story about is not me and I do not think it is very honest. Please correct this mistake of identification.

  3. Sgt Donald Allen Rogers

    If there is another Sgt Allen Rogers in the service from 1967-71 I apologize I was in from 1967 -70. I was in Nam 69-70.


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