Read It – Do It Volume 2: Dustoff Page 3

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One of the most difficult tasks to manage in VME is the hoist and evacuations that require use of the winch and cable to lower medics and extract wounded. There are numerous devices you can use (basket, sling, litter) and different missions require a different method to complete the tasks.  Throw in some rain and turbulence and you’ll find that just flying a non-attack helicopter can be a very rewarding and challenging experience.

“Later that summer our aircraft were fitted with hoists that enabled us to make extractions from areas without landing zones. The added capability brought with it a new hazard. A helicopter at a stationary hover with a litter being lowered a hundred feet or so, then loaded with a wounded soldier and slowly brought back up, was more than a Viet Cong gunner could resist.” – page 153

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As I mentioned, VME is mostly about the flying because the combat, from both the friendly and enemy standpoint, is pretty weak. Yes, there are some random VC down on the ground firing at you on some missions and they can even damage or shoot down your helicopter. In a couple missions you will encounter enemy fortifications that will actually require some thought to approach or you likely will get shot down by enemy armor units. On your side, you have a door gunner that you can let the AI handle, or you can hop in the door gunner seat and take out targets at your own discretion. This is more of a novelty than an actual requirement for the sim however. Overall, this is a simulation about flying and precision maneuvering more than combat.

“There had been an incident when a dustoff pilot took off after heavy fire raked his pickup site. Unfortunately the medic was left behind and killed in the ensuing action. As a result of that action, dustoff aircraft commanders declared themselves honor bound never to take off until they knew that all crewmen were on the helicopter.” – page 208

“Once while operating in the Seven Mountains area, I was asked to drop off some ammunition during the pickup. This was an improper request of a crew flying the red cross. As a dustoff pilot I was not to resupply forces engaged with the enemy even if they were hard pressed and low on ammunition. But because the Viet Cong were firing at me during my evacuations, I ignored the SOP and delivered the ammunition. I don’t know if two wrongs made a right, but I told the embattled unit commander that I was dropping off some preventative medicine.” – page 210

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