Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Edward Haas (Committee Member), Paul Lockhart (Committee Member), Jonathan Winkler (Advisor)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Throughout the Vietnam War the United States Army's use of assault helicopters was unprecedented in modern warfare. Although planners originally anticipated their utilization on a European battlefield rather than against an insurgency, Army Aviation adapted, allowing them to overcome an uncertain future. Due to the unconventional nature of the conflict, continual revisions in tactics, techniques, and procedures ensured that assault helicopter doctrine was never concrete, but always shifting. Multiple factors influenced these developments, and manifold channels of dissemination allowed combat knowledge ultimately to influence training and doctrine. This thesis finds that previous works focus too heavily upon the initial large-scale airmobile battle, ignoring the more profound aspects of later experiences. Using memoirs, official Army documents, service journals, and personal papers, it argues that innovation amongst assault helicopter units occurred throughout the entirety of the American involvement in Vietnam, signifying a youthful Army Aviation that was amenable to varied and innovative thinking from within its ranks.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of History

Year Degree Awarded


Included in

History Commons