Army Aviation Hall of Fame 1977 Induction
Colonel Jay D. Vanderpool directed and sparked the development of the Army's helicopter armament program in the 1950's. He was not an aviator, but his World War II and Korean War experience made him uniquely aware of the helicopter's potential on the battlefield. During the time period of 1955-1959 he was Project Officer and Chief of the Armed Helicopter Demonstration Team, and later Chief of the Combat Development Office at Fort Rucker.
In 1956, he began experimentation on ordnance and airmobile tactics for Army helicopters. Colonel Vanderpool overcame a multitude of barriers through aggressive dedication to duty and superior leadership. He and his team developed, tested, and proved the feasibility, practicality, and potential tactical effectiveness of the armed helicopter, which abetted the air assault tactics that led to the armed helicopter's later combat success.
Colonel Vanderpool sold this new concept to both military and civilian leaders through his team's presentation of live fire demonstrations. Through these demonstrations, the groundwork was laid for the air assault concept which was later employed by the 11th Air Assault Division whose tactics we still draw upon today.
Army Aviation's lineage from Colonel Vanderpool is very much alive. It links us closely to facts about helicopter hardware, armament, tactics, and, perhaps most important, the esprit de corps and the vision that Colonel Vanderpool created.