Freedom Fighters: Robert Frost - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Freedom Fighters: Robert Frost

(Source: KLTV) (Source: KLTV)
EAST TEXAS (KLTV) -

Robert Frost received his commission through ROTC in college and qualified for flight school.

"I went on active duty right after graduation from college," says Frost.

By August of 1970 Frost was off for Vietnam as a pilot in an assault helicopter company.

"Assault helicopter companies were those you see in the newsreels taking the troops in and dropping them off in different areas of the jungle, the rice paddies, and we'd go in and pick them up when the mission was done," says Frost.

Since most of the deliveries and pick-ups were in enemy territory, the helicopters that Frost flew were pretty much much sitting ducks for North Vietnamese snipers.

"We're very vulnerable when you go in and slow down and you're right there on the ground and right above the ground," says Frost.

Even though the big Huey helicopters became the icons of the Vietnam War, flying them was a dangerous job. Of the 58,000 Americans killed in the war, over 5,000 were helicopter pilots.

"Their faces area forever young for us. They've not had the opportunity to grow old as we have," says Frost.

While Frost had many narrow escapes in Vietnam, he credits his fellow  pilots with his survival.

"The most incredible thing about it is that ll we have is each other. We're here to depend on each other and you don't want to let anybody down no matter how scared you are, no matter how scared you are, no matter how apprehensive you may be or insecure you may be, you say, "I can't let my buddies down, they're depending on me," says Frost.

Frost describes their jobs as "doing their best under the most difficult situations." He says they are bonding experiences that last a lifetime.

"All in all I was very, very, lucky, very blessed to get out without being wounded," says Frost.

Today, Frosts connection with other helicopter pilots is as CEO of The Combat Helicopter Association, a legacy organization that provides scholarships for the children of helicopter pilots killed in action.

"It's an exclusive club in the sense that the only way one qualifies is to have flown helicopters in combat for the U.S. military," says Frost.

Robert Frost looks back at his service in Vietnam with pride.

"I'm proud of the fact that I was good enough to wear this country's uniform," says Frost.

Copyright 2016 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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