The 1976 Silver Eagles team was truly an All-American
group. Team members came from
California and Florida, from New England and the mid-west, from Appalachia, the
Great Lakes and the Mississippi valley. They
were black, white, male, female, “newbies” and a few grizzled veterans
The average Silver Eagles pilot had been in the Army for 12
years and had been flying for nine years. On
the average, he had 2,875 flying hours experience.
As a group they had served a total of 19 combat tours in Viet Nam and had
accumulated nearly 13,000 combat flying hours.
The aircraft the team flew were also veterans. All had been flown in Viet Nam and most had numerous small patches in the outer covering where bullet holes had been repaired. The team had ten aircraft. The seven show aircraft and two maintenance spares were Hughes OH-6A’s that had been used for scout aircraft in combat. The tenth aircraft, used to transport the maintenance support team, spare parts, and show equipment, was a DeHavilland AC-1, Caribou. Two of the aircraft, one of the show OH-6A’s and the Caribou, are presently on display at the U. S. Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker, Alabama.
The OH-6 has been repainted to carry the colors of C/3/16 Cavalry. The Caribou is again olive drab, and is projected to receive a new paint job in FY 2003.