US ARMY FLIGHT SCHOOL
Most Army helicopter pilots earned their wings through the Army's Warrant Officer flight training program; before selection, applicants had to pass a battery of aptitude and psychological tests to be considered for flight school. Using a combination of Warrant Officer training and pilot training, Warrant Officer Candidates also had to pass the required Class 1 Flight Physical before entry into the 9-month program. Flight school was broken down into a 4-month Primary Phase conducted at Fort Wolters, Texas. Here we learned to hover in the Hiller OH-23D and the basics of helicopter flying, navigation, aerodynamics, and meteorology, followed by five months at Fort Rucker, Alabama. Advanced training at Rucker began with instrument training in the TH-13T. Then the experience we had all been waiting for transitioned into the UH-1A Huey. The flying only improved as we learned aerial gunnery in the B-model gunship. It was armed with twin 7.62mm Gatling guns with a 4000-round-per-minute rate of fire. Slung under the minigun pylons were two rocket pods with 14 2.75-inch folding fin rockets. Then began tactical training, mission planning, formation flying, and low-level navigation. Our training culminated with the 8-day Tac X field exercise designed to recreate combat flight operations.
I graduated from flight school with class 67-11 on August 4, 1967. Unlike most of my class, I did not go immediately to Vietnam. Four of us were assigned to Fort Knox, where three Air Cavalry Squadrons were forming and soon to be deployed to Vietnam.