How the Tiger got on the nose of the 68th AHC Helicopters

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Written by   Sp-4 Andrew Platacis
68th AHC Operations  -  Aug 65—Nov 66    

The story of the Top Tiger logo and how it came to be on the nose of the 68th AHC helicopters.  Who did it, and who ordered it done?  


Upon the arrival of the 68th Assault Helicopter Company (AHC) at Vung Tau in 1965, Major Honeycutt the Commanding Officer addressed the unit.  Major Honeycutt later became famous as the Lieutenant Colonel in charge of the 3/187th which made the assault on Hamburger Hill, May 1969.   Honeycutt informed the unit that he had decided to call the 68th AHC the "Top Tigers".  He had originally wanted to use the name “Tigers”, but there was already a helicopter company in country called "Tigers".  The 121st AHC had arrived in country in January 1962 and in June 1963 moved to Soc Trang calling themselves the “Tigers” now known as the “Soc Trang Tigers”.  

Major Honeycutt asked the unit members to submit drawings of a tiger to the used as the unit logo which would be painted on the pilot doors of all the units’ helicopters.  He made only one stipulation, the tiger was not to have the same pose as that of the helicopter unit at Soc Trang.  (This indecently is what the latest logo is).

  After a week had passed the CO has not received a single input or drawing of a tiger, thus a second approach was taken.  I was working in the orderly/operations hut and one day Major Honeycutt came in and asks me to do something for him.  He told me he wanted me to paint the new insignia “A Tiger” on the pilot doors of each of the unit’s helicopters.  Talk about pressure, there was not a single design submitted and I had just a few days to complete the task.  To make the art work and stenciling easier we picked the image of "Tony the Tiger” off of Frosted Flakes cereal box.  I made the stencil and painted the pilot doors, both sides the same week.  Later Major Honeycutt wanted a Tiger painted on front of his ship.  He showed me a photo in a magazine, if memory serves me correctly it was "Life" magazine.  There was an advertisement from Exxon which had a drawing of a tiger that he liked.  The advertisement was titled "Put a Tiger in your Tank"; the Major asked me if I could paint something like that on the nose.  How do you say not to the Commanding Officer, you don’t?  I drew the design and made the stencil which was approved by Major Honeycutt. 

  Now you know the story behind the big tiger and how it came to be on the nose of the 68th AHC helicopters.


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Copyright © 2004 All rights reserved.
Revised: June 29, 2012 .

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