- The Vietnam War -
Climb the guard tower and peer into the gun box of the Eve of Destruction, the only Gun Truck to return from Vietnam. Listen to pilots talk in a Huey helicopter and discover the role of Army Mariners in Vietnam.
The Viet Nam War saw extensive use of air power in the role for helicopters. They were used as observation platforms to direct artillery fire, battle damage assessment, recover wounded, bring supplies or reinforcements, and as weapons platforms to clear suspected enemy positions.
The Huey UH-1 was the mainstay. Many Soldiers 'rode the skids' with their feet on the skids of the chopper or assisted the door gunner in looking for 'suspected' trouble spots. The other most known helo was the CH-47 Chinook which could carry a platoon of Infantry into or out of a landing zone (LZ). They could also assist in armored vehicle recovery and ammo resupply. The CH-54 Tarhe would deploy to recover downed aircraft.
Viet Nam also saw the use of gun trucks, modified 2.5 or 5 ton cargo trucks into weapons platforms. The Eve of Destruction is the only Viet Nam gun truck to come back to the world (the US). Gun trucks went through their own evolution with all of them subject to availability of armor protection and weaponry. One or two had APCs on the cargo bed. Others had the double wall sheet metal with .50 cals. Each one had a distinct name from the first prototype gun truck called 'Gun Truck' to the Eve. The VC used bicycles -- needing only path, no gas, limited maintenance. They could carry 500 pounds of supplies and were credited with the VC defeat of the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954.
The M274 Mule was designed with the intention of replacing the Jeep and the WC-24. It was introduced in the 1950s and used until 1978. It could carry 2 patients for medical evacuation; laying cable for communication; move equipment; and as a weapons platform for the TOW missile and the 106MM launcher.
At the height of the Vietnam War, the U.S. Army couldn’t train enough officers for rapid deployment. The solution? Expand Officer Candidate School. Within this expansion, the need for aviation, truck and watercraft unit leadership was addressed with the Transportation Corps OCS, or TOCS, at Fort Eustis from 1966-1968.
The exhibit showcases the story of the Soldiers who attended TOCS and tells the history of the Officer Candidate School. The exhibit includes a video, artifacts from the TOCS candidates, exhibit panels, a mural of photos and a kiosk to learn more about the Soldiers who went through the 23-week course.
Over the course of its existence, the TOCS program graduated 2,459 candidates. Although created to meet the demands for transportation officers for Vietnam, not all graduates were shipped there. Many were assigned to posts, camps and stations throughout the United States and around the world.