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50 Years Ago: Playback!

lb playbackFlying combat missions of support for the Army of the Republic of Vietnam has seen the rise of an American soldier of courage, necessity and consequence: Door gunners who man M-60 machine guns on UH-1B helicopters.

The 118th Aviation Company flies out of Bien Hoa, not far from Saigon. The gunners are PFCs, average 20 years of age and . . . they are specialists.

To facilitate the gunners' effectiveness, operations officer, Captain Charles Pearce A. Lane, has instituted a training aid. Before each and every mission, Captain Lane plugs a tape recorder into his headset; and, tapes all discourse during the flight; from ground advisors, other helicopter crews, and transmissions emanating from the mission control ship. On the ground, post-mission briefings include playing back the discourse among the gunners and other crew members in an effort to improve individual and unit effectiveness.

Playback, then, is a tool to insure a high degree of proficiency among the Huey crews.

Source: "Playback," page 23, Army Aviation, March 1965.