• Short Summary

    The United States Army is South Vietnam has begun painting helicopters used in medical evacuation flights white in an effort to stop them being used as targets by communist gunners.

  • Description

    LV PAN White-painted helicopter past ordinary helicopter with red cross (3 shots)

    LV & GV White helicopter takes off

    CU Reporter speaks to camera, while holding leaflet

    LV Ordinary red cross-marked helicopter lands

    LV & CU Guns being removed from ordinary marked helicopters & into storage (8 shots)

    CU W/O McCall speaking

    CV & LV Crew preparing to board helicopter (3 shots)

    CV & LV Helicopter takes off

    TRANSCRIPT: LEWIS: "This is the U.S. Army's new look for medical evacuation helicopter in Vietnam. Until recently, all of the helicopters used for lifting the wounded out of battlefield areas had been painted the usual oliver-drab with red cross patches. But the Army decided the switch to white paint would make the medevac choppers easier to identify. In the Army's view perhaps the enemy will think twice about shooting at a clearly-marked, unarmed helicopter on a mission of mercy. U.S. Army teams have dropped ten million leaflets and put up fifty thousand posters urging the enemy not to shoot at them. The message says the choppers are unarmed and carry both friend and foe alike. The Army says it's too early to tell whether this deters the enemy, but his reputation for observing the Geneva Convention is far from perfect. The Army has about 70 evacuation helicopters in Vietnam. So far, 13 have received the white paint treatment. Three of those have been targets for enemy gunners. Under the Geneva Convention, medics are classed as non-combatants, and shooting at them violates the Convention. Crews who fly medevac missions for the First Air Cavalry Division have been allowed to carry a pair of machine guns. But now the guns have been ordered removed from the choppers and locked away in storage."

    SEQ. 6: WARRANT OFFICER McALL: "I'm of the opinion that the guns are better for us because we can protect our patients if we have the guns and if you take the guns off when you're at the mercy of the NVA(North Vietnamese Army) or the VC (Viet Cong), they don't care if you have guns or not, they're still gonna shoot".

    LEWIS: "Pilots and crews in the First Air Cavalry are incensed about the order to disarm their choppers. They say that if they're next ordered to paint them white, that will just make things worse. George Lewis, Long Binh, South Vietnam."

    Initials ??? SGM/1607

    This film has a voice report which is reproduced below, but we are supplying an alternative commentary which editors may use if they wish.

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: The United States Army is South Vietnam has begun painting helicopters used in medical evacuation flights white in an effort to stop them being used as targets by communist gunners. The aircraft were originally painted the normal army olive-drab with red cross markings. But now, thirteen out of the army's some 70 "medevac" helicopters have had a re-paint and -- to keep within the terms of the Geneva Convention -- their guns removed.

    Reporter George Lewis, of the National Broadcasting Company, made this report at Long Binh where helicopters of the First Air Cavalry Division are being re-fitted.

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    Media URN:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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