Next Section

Back to Army Home Page


 Early war B Company "Spade" nose art





Later style "Spade" nose art on B Company C model gunships.










4th Aviation Battalion


    "Gambler Guns" (B Company gunships & scouts)

      click on helicopter illustrations to see larger images, then click "back arrow" to return to this page    
  1966-1967  B Company UH-1C "516"    B Company flew UH-1C Hueys during most of the war. In 1966-67 the aircraft were armed with XM-157 seven-tube rocket pods, twin flexible M60 machine guns, and bungee-slung defensive M60s. One B Company veteran from this period says that the unit tested the Army-supplied tubular hard mounts for the machine guns. This system was supposed to prevent fire from the M60s from accidentally swinging into the ship during a hard or sudden turn. However, during a flight test of the hard mount system, one of the machine guns did turn and fire into the fuselage. The company quickly dropped the hard mount system and the crews retained their bungee-hung M60s.

During B Company's first months in Vietnam, the flight crews came up with the spade design for their company logo. At first a spade was cut out of cardboard, then placed over the upper black nose. OD paint was then sprayed around the cardboard stencil. This left a black spade logo on a completely OD nose. A smaller version of the spade design was also painted on the tail above the a/c number.

  1968-70 UH-1C gunship    B Company gunships gradually replaced their round XM-157 rocket pods with XM-158 exposed, replaceable tubes (they were easier to replace). B Company also modified their nose art. The entire avionics cover was painted black. The spade logo was outlined with white paint. Ship names were sometimes painted above the nose logo. A smaller black spade continued to be placed on the tail. The upper surfaces and outer edge of the horizontal tail planes or stabilizers began to be painted orange in 1969.    
  1969-1970  B Company AH-1G Cobra gunship   New Cobra gunships were assigned to the 4th Aviation Battalion in the last year of its Vietnam service. The "Gambler Guns" spade logo was painted on the forward fuselage between the canopy and gun turret. The spade continued to be black with a white outline. As on the earlier C model gunships, a smaller version of the spade logo was also applied on the tails of the Cobras.    
    Back to Top   Home   Next Section