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5th Special Forces Group (ABN)

5sfg patch

The 5th Special Forces Group (ABN), 1st Special Forces was Headquartered at Nha Trang, RVN. While the Chain of Command for the 281st AHC went through the 10th CAB, 17th CAG to the 1st Aviation Brigade, it was attached in an Operational Control (OPCON) Command Relationship to the 5th SFG (ABN) with the specific mission of providing Aviation support as directed by the Commanding Officer of the 5th SFG (ABN) The 2nd (Bandits) and 3rd (Wolf Pack) Flight Platoons were initially directed to support Special Operations and the 1st Flight Platoon (Rat Pack) was initially directed to support the lettered companies, A Detachments and MACV-RECONDO School. Over the period of 1966 through 1970 these mission assignments cross migrated to the extent that both Lift Platoons were involved in all aspects of support for the 5th SFG (ABN) plus missions assigned through the 10th CAB Chain of Command.

The 281st involvement in Special Operations began with Detachment B-52, Project Delta and in the early days spread to Projects Omega and Sigma. After Projects Omega and Sigma were absorbed by the Military Assistance Command Vietnam-Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG), the 281st continued to support Project Delta as primary. Over the years the 281st provided single or multi-ship support to MACV-SOG, Command and Control Central (CCC) on occasion and supported other Special Operations elements of SOG. Some specific missions are listed in the Chronological History on this website.

The 281st AHC was the only Army Aviation unit attached to 5th SFG (ABN) during the war in Vietnam. Early organizational charts for 5th SFG (ABN) and Project Delta actually show the 281st AHC as an organic asset. It was the first Helicopter Special Operations unit in the US Army. It is considered by US Army Historians to be the legacy unit for today's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. Many of the techniques and tactics jointly developed by the 281st and Project Delta were used by other Special Operations units during the war in Vietnam and other areas of South East Asia and in fact having been refined over the years are still being used today by Special Operations Helicopter units worldwide.