Marines Of The Rung Sat

The Rung Sat, one of two special zones during the Vietnam War, was like no other place that the 240th AHC fought while in South Vietnam. I can remember when I first got into the Mad Dogs, August 1969, the Rung Sat wasn't that "hot" of a place to make contact with the enemy. I remember just acres and acres of defoliated land, muddy streams, swamps and rivers. The freighters hauling war supplies would wind their way up the serpentine Saigon River. Many times when working the area and heading back out from refueling and rearming, our Mad Dog pilots would "buzz" the big ships and we would never see anyone on the deck. You couldn't blame the crew for making themselves scarce as the ships would be attacked and I am sure a sniper or two would be on the prowl for a target on deck.

The VC new the Rung Sat like they knew their own rice paddy and hooch! They would use the waterways to resupply troops and supplies. Many times the Mad Dogs would find bunkers that were almost impossible to destroy with our ten pound rockets, hand grenades and M79s that we carried and our reliable M60s.

The 240th AHC worked hand-in-hand with the 9th Infantry Division, on land and on the canals, and each unit developed a very high regard and mutual respect for each other. The 9th knew that our Greyhound SLICKS would always come back and get them at the end of the mission, regardless if the LZ was hot or cold; often times for the Greyhounds it was a HOT LZ! The Old Reliable's also knew the Mad Dogs would be "low and slow" and would provide excellent close in air cover while they conducted their operations. The Greyhounds and Mad Dogs knew that the men of the 9th would risk all to get them out of their choppers if they went down!

The 240th AHC also enjoyed a very meaningful relationship and life long mutual respect with the United States Marines that operated out of Nha Be with their troops the RUFF PUFFS. Our chopper outfit work exclusively for Lt. Bill Cowan, aka Plastic Handle 6, who writes on the table of contents page for Flightline how that relationship came to be. This page is dedicated to that relationship and while scanning through the guestbooks, I noticed other Marines who felt the same way about the 240th as Plastic Handle 6 and decided to post their comments on this page: "Marines Of The Rung Sat". The Rung Sat was thick with foliage and with a multitude of water ways and swamps it was a tough place to seek and destroy the enemy. The Marines moved into the area in 1966 and started conducting operations in the Rung Sat Special Zone but then they were needed elsewhere and had to move out again. Replacing the Marines was an Army unit, the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry "Vanguards" of the Big Red One. With many of the Vanguards having received training in the swamps of Florida before being deployed to South Vietnam, it was only natural for them to take up where the Marines had left off. The Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) then decided it would have the Marines further train the Army troops and it proved to be a great combination of team work between the services; to destroy the enemy and save as many lives of the Americans and their South Vietnamese allies. The Rung Sat became a permanent home to the USMC, USN and USA and together they formed an unbeatable and feared group of warriors. When one hears or thinks of the term, ADVISOR, the Army Green Berets come to mind because they were well known for rendering military training and expertise to the South Vietnamese Army, Montagnards and other mountain people of Southeast Asia. Less known, but just as effective, were the United States Marine Corps Advisors and the 240th AHC had the privilege and honor to work with these men. So to the Marines we worked with out of Nha Be the 240th AHC renders a salute of respect, admiration and brotherhood. For those that were in the armed forces, I need not have to explain the following but this is for people that never served in the military. When you read the comments below given to the 240th AHC, you could bet your "last dollar" that our helicopter unit was one of the best, if not the best, to have served in South Vietnam. Many of those with no military background might wonder why I can make such a statement. My response, please direct your attention to who is making the comments about this Army helicopter unit: United States Marines! Believe me, when a Marine gives an Army unit a compliment like these men did for the 240th AHC, you know we were good, Marines don't lie, and the aviators of the Greyhounds, Mad Dogs and Kennel Keepers consider their praise as good as any medal we could have received and are humbled by their kind words.

Semper Fi

Fred Murray, SgtMaj. USMC ret.
Location: Stafford, VA
I was looking for info on the Rung Sat and came across your great site. I served my last tour in Nam as a Marine advisor in Quang Xuyen (Work Horse) and Nha Be from Jan-Dec of 71. When the 240th supported us I knew I would get to work on time and come home safe. I said it then and will say it now..THANKS

Jerry Homyak
Location: Miami, FL
Served in the Rung Sat with MAT 43 Looking to meet with any of the guys that were in the unit or anyone that use to ferry the team around the beautiful country side on the unforgetable cruises or guided air tours. Hope to hear from any one that was there.

Don James
I had the distinct pleasure and honor of being supported by the best of the best helos, the 240th, from Dec69-Dec70 in the Rung Sat Special Zone. In my 3 and 1/2 years in RVN the 240th stood head and shoulders above the rest. No mission too dangerous no mission too tough for the Mad Dogs and Grey Hounds. Semper Fi and Welcome Home.
Hartford 2 Zulu

Russ Evans
PH2 USN At Nha Be 6/68 to 12/68 Day I left 12/18/68 my replacement was wounded taking photo's of bunkers Marines found and were being shot up by doorgunner. His name was Baker.

Commander George E. Scearce, USN Ret
Home Page Title: George and Rattana Scearce
Homepage URL:
Greetings. Bill Cowan told me about your site. Super site! Bill is still my best friend from our time in the Rung Sat together 69-70. I was with Bill when Mike Forrester tossed his calling card at our feet. I went with Bill often on Ops and knew and respected the 240th pilots and crew as he did. We knew we were in good hands when Maddogs and Greyhounds were in the mix with us. I was the Intel Officer assigned to the RSSZ team from Mar 69 till Nov 70. My web page is mainly photos for friends/family, but I have one page with some VN photos. The main page is at, but I referred the VN page above. BTW, I'll be seeing Bill when I go to D.C. TDY next month. I still work for the USG (at 64 yrs of age) in Japan and must go to my HQ in DC about quarterly. Again, absolutely great site...Well done. Thanks for the past, George Scearce.