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Short Strips and Tight Grips: The Razorbacks

In the 1960s, the Vietnam War was raging for the United States. It was an extremely controversial time in American history, as citizens and even our government-was divided on the need for war.

However, on the frontlines of Vietnam, the soldiers were not divided.

They understood the threat that Communism was to the country of Vietnam and yes, to the rest of the world.

They knew that their efforts could determine the freedom of the next generation. So, they determined to fight and win.

Many companies and units were born out of the necessity to fulfill this goal. One was the 120th Aviation Company. This air assault company was formed outside the city of Saigon to protect it from the advancing Communist forces.

At first they used AH-1 Cobras and CH-21 Piaseckis to fulfill their missions, but, in 1964 the UH-1H Iroquios or “Huey” was introduced.

When the new helicopter was inducted into the company, the men decided that it needed a new name, and the company was then called “The Razorbacks”.

Max “Red” Hall was the one who decided on this unique name as he was a University of Arkansas alumni. Getting permission from the Universty to use the name and the mascot, he soon had Razorbacks painted on the sides of the “Hueys”.

The Razorbacks began developing quite the reputation in Vietnam becoming one of the deadliest aviation companies on duty. In fact, their slogan became, “Death is our Business. Business is Good”.

This slogan, along with the Razorback symbol was put on the shoulder patches the 120th men wore on their uniforms.

Hall, however, went a step farther, and created a huge embroidered patch like this on the back of his combat jacket.

He lived what he wore. Lieutenant Hall was in combat 4-7 times every day 7 days a week. During this time, he logged roughly 850 combat hours without losing a single crewmember. His company saved countless lives by Medevac as well as providing crucial air support to U.S. troops on the ground.

Business was truly good for the “Razorbacks”.

Max Hall kept this piece of Vietnam history with him as he continued to serve in the Arkansas National Guard and even in his deployment to Desert Storm. It was a treasured possession.

Just a few years ago, his jacket was graciously donated to our museum by his daughter, Robin Lundstrum. It is an incredible piece to have in our collection, and it is now one of the feature artifacts in our new exhibit, Short Strips and Tight Grips: The story of Max “Red” Hall.

The next time you are in the museum, please make sure to stop by and see this exhibit as well as the infamous “Razorback” jacket!


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