While the UH-1 Iroquis has become a symbol of the Vietnam conflict, often seen in footage providing close air support or transporting soldiers from one location to the next, it is perhaps best remembered for its role in saving lives. 

Throughout their time in Vietnam, 9 Squadron operated the Huey in the service of medical evacuation and transport of the wounded. The nature of the conflict within the dense landscape made it essential to evacuate all critically wounded soldiers via helicopter. 

Australian, US, New Zealand and other wounded soldiers were often evacuated to Nui Dat. Those in critical condition were dropped at ‘Vampire Pad’ at 1 Australian Field Hospital.

For 9 Squadron, this even extended to surrendered enemy troops, such as wounded Viet Cong soldiers from the Battle of Long Tan, who were airlifted back to receive treatment. 

Australian soldiers who had been wounded were occasionally transported to the airport where they were evacuated via RAAF C-130 Hercules back to Australia.

A wounded soldier is winched up in a litter to a hovering Iroquois helicopter of No. 9 Squadron, RAAF and transported to the RAAF Base Hospital at Vung Tau. Item also shows stretcher cases being carried from hospital to an air conditioned RAAF ambulance bus for transport to airport and evacuation by RAAF Hercules to Australia.


In video:

03:08 – QANTAS Boeing from Darwin to Saigon (Tan Son Nhat Airport)

03:09:20 – US 24th Evacuation Hospital Saigon

03:11:30 – Nui Dat

03:12 – Phuoc Tuy province Fire Support Base (near Long Hai hills)

03:13:22 – Aust Army Sioux call sign ‘Possum’

03:14:50 – Nui Dat, ‘Red Earth’ Dustoff standby pad. Aust Army 8 Field Ambulance adjacent Kanga Pad

03:16 – 1st Field Army Hospital & Vampire Pad, Back Beach Vung Tau

03:23 – Back Beach recreation area

Video 2: Medevac from winch to Vampire Pad Back Beach


Source: Australian War Memorial 4211490, 4250088