Ak-47 Armed Huey vs Two Biplanes
In one of the oddest air combats in history, take a look at the below from the CIA’s art archive.
An Air Combat First
Oil on Canvas, 2007
Donated by Marius Burke and Boyd D. Mesecher
Known as “Site 85,” the US radar facility perched atop a 5,800-foot mountain in northeast Laos was providing critical and otherwise unavailable all-weather guidance to American F-105 fighter-bombers flying strike missions against Communist facilities in North Vietnam. CIA proprietary Air America provided air support to the isolated site. Recognizing the threat posed by this facility, the People’s Army of Vietnam vowed to destroy it. On January 12, 1968, North Vietnamese AN-2 Colt biplanes—modified to drop “bombs” improvised from 122-mm mortars and 57-mm rockets—attacked the site. Coincidentally, Air America pilot Ted Moore was flying an ammunition-supply run to the site in his unarmed UH-1D “Huey” helicopter and took chase. Flight mechanic Glenn Woods pulled out his AK-47 rifle and began firing. The Colts suffered severe bullet damage and crashed as they attempted to escape. The painting captures one Colt fleeing and the other being pursued by the Air America Huey. This daring action—shooting down an enemy fixed-wing aircraft from a helicopter—represents a singular aerial victory in the entire history of the Vietnam War.