National Geographic : 1962 Nov
rillas, or alighting to disgorge disciplined troops, at times by the battalion. For the next 17 days I rode military helicopters. Four times we were fired upon. I made my own base of operations first among the Marine chop pers deep in the southern plains, and later with the Army helicopter company in the northern moun tains. While I was aboard, the aircraft evacuated wounded, delivered food and ammunition, and airlifted artillery to outposts that could not have survived without such support. Special Forces Teach Self-defense One day I lunched with a camouflage-clad U. S. Army Special Forces team that had been landed by helicopter deep in a Red-dominated province. Their mission was to train a local self-defense force, and their medic was their best recruiter; he was the only person the villagers had ever seen who knew how to heal the sick with modern methods. The basic day-to-day task of the American heli copters is to carry troops into sweep operations like the one at Ap My Thanh. One morning, though, the story was tragically different. KODACHROMES© NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSOCIETY Army Officer Risks His Life to Help Viet Nam Villagers Military adviser to a regiment defending eight fortified vil lages in the Mekong Delta, Maj. Henry H. McCurley of Athens, Georgia, spends an off-duty hour in a teahouse at Kha Quang. He defies assassins' bullets; the Reds offer $25,000 for men like him, dead or alive. Women with dummy guns train for home defense near the village of Quang Ngai. Mother and child stand by.