Myth Prisoners Were Hurled From Helicopters

Everyone who served in Vietnam at some point heard the story of a VC captive being hurled from the open door of a Huey in flight. According to the story, the hapless VC was tossed out to scare the other VC in the Huey into "talking". Variants of this story have the hapless VC thrown out with a rope around his neck, the other end of the rope tied to one of the Huey's skids. One hears this story so much that you have to wonder if any helicopters were used for anything other than dropping live VC captives from great heights.

And it is a mystery as to what, exactly, anyone would have done with a captive who wanted to "talk" because almost no one spoke Vietnamese, an extremely difficult language to learn and pronounce. Because Vietnamese relies a great deal on tonal inflection, it is entirely possible to inadvertently insult someone while trying to ask a straightforward question. So given this, what was anyone going to do, exactly, with a VC captive who was blabbing his head off?

This story seems to have grown a big tail from what was probably its actual roots. I for one witnessed a NVA or VC body dropped from a Huey. It occurred on September 25th, 1968 at BR829594 in the Suoi Ca Valley. A Dustoff chopper radioed us that they were dropping off a dead PW who they had been transporting to a hospital and who had died enroute of a massive abdominal wound. They requested we bury the body. When they arrived at our position, the chopper hovered about ten feet off the ground and the medic and crew chief began lowering the body from the door. In the process, the body slipped from their grasp and fell the ten feet to the ground. It was clearly a dead body. There is no mistaking a dead body. This one had a battle dressing covering a huge wound to the abdomen. We buried the man right where they dropped him. Others, who were further away from the spot where the chopper hovered, thought he had been tossed--alive--from the Huey. Sure enough, a month later I overheard one of these guys regaling a Base-Camp-Commando with the story of a "live" VC being "tossed" from the Huey. And the Base Camp Commando was told that the VC had been tossed out from "about 500 feet". As this guy repeated this story, the Huey became progressively higher and higher, until it was almost in Earth orbit.

The majority of these stories seem to originate with men who had rear-echelon jobs. Upon returning to the United States, they felt compelled to embellish their war time service. After all, when someone asks "What did you do in the war, Daddy?" it's not very attention grabbing to respond "I was a cargo handler at the aerial port of Cam Ranh Bay". I have met more men who claim to have been Green Berets in Vietnam, than there were Green Berets in the entire Army. The same goes for people claiming to have been Navy Seals, or Marine Recon. Some just don't want to admit that they were in a non-combat job. So they "embellish". And part of the embellishment involves repeating the myths that they have heard, and embellishing them as well. Then there are those pathetic souls who never served in Vietnam, but claim that they did. They tell the wildest, most unbelievable stories imaginable, which usually make it into the next "Rambo" movie plot. Which of course, makes it a "fact".

On a final note, I can just imagine assigning this duty to someone.

ME: "Jones, it's your turn to throw hapless VC prisoners from a Huey".

JONES: "Awww, sarge, I threw hapless VC prisoners from Hueys all day yesterday. It's somebody else's turn!"