While the helicopter was first used at the end of World War II, and saw increased utility for medical evacuation and observation during the Korean Conflict, it was not until the Vietnam War that the helicopter, in many varied configurations, became such an integral part of military tactics and operations.
above: "Flightline: The Army Helicopter Pilots of Vietnam"
- Introduction by Harrison Ford
The helicopter has become an integral part of our way of life as well. We receive our traffic reports from "eyes in the sky," and medical evacuation helicopters rush injured patients to hospitals free from the delays inherent in surface transportation.
Today's "smart bombs," so critical to military strategy, were first developed and utilized as the U.S. involvement in Vietnam was drawing to a close. Along with anti-radiation missiles which home in on targeting radars of surface-to-air missile sites, these advances offered increased survivability for American pilots.
In addition to weapons, advances in medical techniques and technology, as well as electronic intelligence gathering (see photo on this page) and countermeasures came as a direct result of the Vietnam War.