Flying Snakes-Cobra Eyes In the Skies
The iconic UH-1 Huey was by and large the workhouse of the US military in Vietnam. It soon became clear that the unarmed troop helicopters were vulnerable against ground fire from the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese (NVA) troops, particularly as they "Went in hot" to insert their troops in a landing zone (LZ). Without friendly support from artillery or ground forces, the only way to stabilize an LZ was from the air, preferably with an aircraft that could closely escort the transport helicopters, and loiter over the landing zone as the battle progressed. By 1962 a small number of armed UH-1As, nicknamed "Huey Hogs" were used as escorts, armed with multiple machine guns and rocket mounts. This innovative approach showed the need for a rotary platform committed to close air support and the ability to while escorting Huey's, both suppress the enemy long enough while US friendlies were inserted and to completely decimate well concealed enemy forces from above. The Army needed an offensive helicopter.
The Bell Corporation designed a concept of an attack helicopter with a new, slender airframe and a two-seat, tandem cockpit. It featured a grenade launcher in a ball turret on the nose, a 20 mm belly-mounted gun pod, and stub wings for mounting rockets or anti-tank missiles. It was named, "The Iroquois Warrior". In January 1965 Bell invested $1 million to proceed with a new design. Mating the proven transmission, the "540" rotor system of the UH-1C augmented by a Stability Control Augmentation System (SCAS), and the T53 turboshaft engine of the UH-1. This comprised the 209 Model.
The initial role of the US in Vietnam was that of advisors. However in 1965, things began to heat up and the US changed its role and objectives in Vietnam. This called for an increase in rotorcraft. It was known from the beginning that Vietnam would be a much different war than those previously fought by the US. Most of the aerospace companies were accustomed to fixed wing aircraft development. Therefore the process was quite lethargic in that the "old guard" lacked vision. The top brass at Bell were more interested in developing a hovercraft.
Mike Folse had been the youngest engineer brought on at Bell. He worked on projects such as the Model 47 light helicopter, designed airframe components for the UH-1, and worked on the development of the 206 Jet Ranger. While the Army was still in limbo as to what type of gunship platform to eventually use, the war in Vietnam was demanding change. Lockheed's AH-56 Cheyenne had gained favor from among top Army leadership. However, it would require too much time to to field the aircraft. The race was against the clock, in the midst of an escalating war.
Government regulations dictated that a new aircraft couldn't be made, but could be based off of pre-existent models and platforms. The U.S. Army needed an interim gunship for Vietnam and it asked five companies to provide a quick solution. Submissions came in for armed variants of the Boeing-Vertol ACH-47A, Kaman HH-2C Tomahawk, Piasecki 16H Pathfinder, Sikorsky S-61, and the Bell 209. Mike Folde's innovative design and break away from tradition paid dividends. On September 3, 1965 Bell rolled out its Model 209 prototype. On September 7th, just four days later, it made its maiden flight. In April 1966, the model won an evaluation against the other rival helicopters. The Army then signed the first production contract for 110 aircraft.
The Vietnam War has often been called the "helicopter war" and for good reason. The triple canopy jungle made it difficult, often times impossible for penetration by traditional ground based vehicles such as tanks, armored personnel carriers. Therefore, insertion by rotorcraft was the only avenue against an elusive enemy that used the dense jungle to his advantage. A large and low flying aircraft makes an easy target. Therefore for troop transport and MEDEVAC, the Huey needed an armed escort as well as a form aerial suppressing fire. A fully loaded Huey Hog came with drastic impediments. With the added weight from ammunition and armament, the Hog's couldn’t fly over 90 miles per hour and could barely keep up with the troop transports they were escorting.
The first six AH-1s arrived at Bien Hoa Air Base, South Vietnam on August 30, 1967 for combat testing by the U.S. Army Cobra New Equipment Training Team. They made their first combat kill on September 4th, sinking a sampan boat and killing four Viet Cong. The first AH-1 unit, the 334th Assault Helicopter Company became operational on October 6, 1967. The Viet Cong and NVA were about to feel the fangs of death. Out of respect to its former adversaries stemming back to the days of the horse mounted cavalry, the Army named its helicopters after legendary Native American warrior tribes. The AH-1 got its name from the first Huey unit deployed to Vietnam, the "Vinh Long Cobras" due to the over population of the area by notoriously venomous cobra snakes that we indiginous to that area.
The Cobras logged more than a million flight hours in Vietnam; 270 of them were destroyed, and 231 Cobra pilots died in combat or went missing. Initially the enemy was afraid of helicopters. But then as war demands improvisations, the enemy became skilled at shooting them down, often by issuing bounties and rewards for doing so. In some cases, enemy troops would be hiding in the treetops. In other cases, they would have troops who could understand English. Upon hearing calls for extraction and the color coded smoke flares, the enemy would pop smoke and lure helicopters into a different LZ and open fire. It took a certain type of psychological profile to become a Cobra pilot or "snake driver" in Vietnam. The ultimate type was one with a sense of invincibility. Such men were regarded as brave fools. Ezell Ware was one such man.
He ultimately retired as Assistant Adjutant General of the California State National Guard, after completing over 40 years of military service. He was a decorated Vietnam veteran who served in the United States Marine Corps, U.S. Army and the Army National Guard. Brigadier General Ware is the author of a book titled 'By Duty Bound - Survival and Redemption in a Time of War,' in which he recounts his Vietnam experiences. During the Vietnam War, General Ware was an Army Cobra helicopter gunship pilot, was shot down, and evaded capture from the enemy for 3 weeks.
During those 3 weeks of evasion, he protected and saved his fellow crewmember, severely wounded, from capture and death. General Ware rose from the ranks of Private (E-1) to Brigadier General. After serving an enlistment in the Marine Corps, he completed the Police Academy and served as a San Diego Police Officer, then enlisted in the U.S. Army. Graduating from helicopter training, he was commissioned and served in Vietnam. Rising through the ranks, General Ware completed many professional development schools including the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Officers Basic and Advanced Infantry courses, U.S. Air Force Air War College (with honors), U.S. Army Pre-Command Course (with honors) and numerous other professional development programs. General Ware holds both a Bachelors and a Masters degree. His military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, 4 Meritorious Service Medals, 13 Air Medals, 3 Army Commendation Medals w/ 'V', Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Korea), 4 Army Campaign Medals, Humanitarian Service Medal, 3 Armed Forces Reserve Medal and many other federal and state awards. General Ware is a Life member in the VFW, Marine Corps League and Vietnam Helicopters Pilots Association and a member in other veterans associations such as the U.S. Army Black Pilots Association and Vietnam Veterans Association.
The interesting factors in General Ezell's career was that he served in not just an unpopular war, but one especially opposed to by blacks at that time - the turbulent 1960's. Although the US Military had been integrated for twenty years, old mindsets still prevailed. Just as racial norms were being challenged, often leading to mass demonstrations and often riots, the military was rife with reluctance for racial progress. Many blacks such as Muhammad Ali were very vocal with their anti-war stance and refusal to serve. However, there were those who saw service as a means of opportunity.
Historically, blacks were relegated to the most menial jobs in the military. Men such as the Tuskegee Airmen had already distinguished themselves in aerial combat in World War II. Several other blacks such as the first Black Naval Aviator Ensign Jesse Leroy Brown had also distinguished himself in combat in Korea and was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Despite the many accomplishments and increase in black Commissioned Officers in all of the branches, black pilots were seemingly still rare and the Army was slow to include them in their ranks.
The US Army saw its role in aviation diminish when the Army Air Corps evolved into a separate branch - the US Air Force in 1947. With the arrival of the jet age with the Korean War, the US Air Force as well as the US Navy/Marine Corps did not delve into rotorcraft as much, which is precisely what the US Army needed in Vietnam. Fixed wing aircraft, outside of close air support, was often times useless for the US Army and Marine infantryman. On average, it would take an Air Force or Navy/Marine jet 30 minutes to bring in close air support. For the enemy, who engaged in quick hit and run tactics, this was often time useless, especially considering as it was found out later in the war, the enemy disappeared into underground tunnels, safe from American bombs. Another problem was that American aircraft often either missed their targets or dropped ordinance on American soldiers below. This was before Precision Guided Munitions (PGM's). Army leaders concluded that it needed a way to deliver heavy firepower on the enemy in an up close and personal manner, despite in a heavy vegetative environment such as the thick jungles of Southeast Asia.
The Army new that it needed new types of rotorcraft for this new role of Airmobile, air support, and air insertion/extraction. This was seen on July 5, 1964 when a Green Beret camp Nam Dong was attacked after midnight by hundreds of Viet Cong. The defenders held the perimeter through the night, but in the morning, VC machine gunners drove off six Marine Choctaw helicopters attempting to deliver reinforcements. The Marine helicopters were not fully equipped to aggressively engage an ever increasingly aggressive enemy. Later on, a single Huey arrived treetop level and put the VC on the defensive, which bought enough time to deliver much needed personnel and supplies as well as pave the way for other helicopters to arrive. It was because of the harrowing situations the Army saw that it needed a new type of aircraft and pilots brave and bold enough to fly them.
General Ezell and his co-pilot Burdett were shot down while flying their AH-1. At the time, there were those that not only did not want to see Ezell as a pilot, the most glamorous job in the military. most didn't want to see him as an officer or even in uniform altogether. However, men of his fortitude were the right men for the right job at the right time. His co-pilot's leg was severely damaged due to enemy ordinance piercing the cockpit. He would have to carry his injured co-pilot over the course of 3 weeks while aggressively being pursued by enemy troops seeking to capture them. It was along the way that Burdett informed him that he was a leader in the Tennessee Ku Klux Klan. To read more about this plot twist and how Ezell handled it, read the book, "By Duty Bound".
The Cobra was strictly attack. It could fly higher, further, and faster than the standard Huey and could put more rounds and aerial bombardment on target and more precisely. The key asset was the
The US Army phased out the AH-1 during the 1990s and retired the AH-1 from active service in March 1999. The AH-1 continues to remain in service with the US Marine Corps, which operates the twin-engine AH-1W SuperCobra (which was retired this past December of 2020) and AH-1Z Viper.
The AH-1 and all of its variants racked up a stellar combat record over the decades following Vietnam. These engagements were relatively one-sided with US firepower being unmatched. However, in response to the September 11th Attacks and the ensuing Global War On Terrorism the Cobra would be tested again. This time by a more aggressive enemy than what was faced in previous combat operations such as in Grenada, Beirut, and Operation Desert Storm. Not since Vietnam had the US Military engaged in such fierce firefighting. Unlike 1991's Desert Storm, this time the Iraqi's came out to fight.
In March of 2003, the US and Coalition Forces invaded Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom. From the off start it was increasingly obvious that this campaign would not be over in a matter of days like Desert Storm. In what would become known as "The Sunni Triangle", some of the most ferocious and bloody battles would be waged. The Sunni Triangle at the time of the 2003 invasion was Iraq's most volatile region. It was a hell hole of opposition to the U.S.-led coalition and scene of political instability and pure violence and death. It was called the triangle because of its triangular connection between the cities of Ramadi, Baghdad, and Tikrit - the city of Saddam Hussein's birth.
The area was a stronghold for Saddam Hussein's Baath Party. The Sunni Triangle was also home of Fallujah. Fallujah is a city in the Iraqi province of Al Anbar, located roughly 43 miles west of Baghdad on the Euphrates River.
The real jaws of death was Nasariyah. Nasiriyah is a city which lies along the banks of the Euphrates River in Dhi Qar Province, about 225 miles southeast of Baghdad. In what would be dubbed, "Ambush Alley", Nasariyah was a stronghold for insurgents and Baath Party loyalists. Nasiriyah was also home of the headquarters of the Iraqi Army's 3rd Corps, composed of the 11th Infantry Division (ID), 51st Mechanized Infantry Division, and 6th Armored Division. The 51st operated in the south covering the oilfields, and the 6th was north near Al Amarah. On March 23, a US Army supply convoy from the 507th Maintenance Company had mistakenly veered off Highway 8 and then turned toward the city into enemy-held territory. The US convoy ran into
an ambush, drawing enemy fire from every direction. Eleven American soldiers were killed and several more were taken prisoner. However, a few soldiers managed to escape the ambush and form a screen around their wounded. They were soon rescued by a company from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade also known as Task Force Tarawa.
After a delay, the Marines of 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, attacked Nasiriyah from the south, using amphibious assault vehicles (AAV's) and Cobra gunships. During this action, the Marines captured two bridges spanning the Euphrates River that were defended by Fedayeen and Ba'ath Party guerrilla soldiers. In heavy fighting, several Iraqi platoon-sized units, two ZSU-23-4 "Shilka" anti-aircraft weapons and several mortar and artillery positions were destroyed by a combined force of M1 Abrams tanks, Cobra helicopter gunships, and the artillery of 1st Battalion, 10th Marines.
March 23rd was the bloodiest day of the operations for the Marines, when 18 men of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, were killed and eight Amphibious Assault Vehicles were disabled in heavy fighting with Iraqi forces around the Saddam Canal. The Marines were engaged by RPGs, mortar, and artillery fire, as well as four Iraqi tanks hidden behind a building. For the Marines, Nasariya served as a baptism by fire.
In the thick of the battle was HMLA-169, the "Vipers". During the 2003 invasion of Iraq 12 of the 18 AH-1Ws of the unit sustained battle damage and on March 30, 2003 a UH-1N Huey crashed; killing three members on board. HMLA-169 in Iraq, just as with its predecessors in Vietnam met intense hostility consistently. From the on start of the 2003 invasion, it was clear that this type of combat and warfare would be different and more prolonged than previous armed conflicts, minus Vietnam. The Vipers met death in the face, and in true Marine fashion, they grinned.
The AH-1W distinguished itself keenly over the skies of Iraq. In February 2005, HMLA-169 the "Vipers" ended their 6 month deployment to Iraq. At the end of January 2005, the squadron, under the command of Lt. Colonel Lloyd Wright, flew more than 2,600 AH-1W Super Cobra hours, 1,225 UH-1N Huey hours, and achieved 85 new designations/qualifications for pilots and 40 for crew chiefs. Over 920 combat flight missions had been supported, all mishap-free. On December 1, 2004 the Cobras of HMLA-169 inflicted severe damage to enemy strongholds operating in Fallujah, Iraq. HMLA-169's detachment went into the thick of Fallujah, which at the time was a stronghold of enemy insurgents and terrorist operatives, with eight pilots, four Cobras and 30 maintainers. The Vipers were tasked with supporting 24-hour operations consisting of close air support, casualty evacuation and convoy escorts, and armed reconnaissance missions.
When the Vipers went into the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003, they were trained professional warriors. They represented all walks of life, socio-economic levels, educational levels both enlisted and commissioned alike. But what made HMLA-169 significantly different is that it was home to the first African-American female Naval Aviator - Captain Vernice Armour.
While as a student at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) in 1993, Vernice Armour enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve and later entered into the Army ROTC as a cadet in the Simultaneous Membership Program.
In 1996, she took time off from college to become a Nashville police officer. She became the first female African-American on the motorcycle patrol.
She eventually graduated from MTSU in 1997. In 1998, she became the first African American female to serve as a police officer in Tempe, Arizona before joining the U.S. Marines as an Officer Candidate in October 1998.
After successfully completing OCS, she was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on December 12, 1998. Armour was sent to flight school at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas and later Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. Earning her wings in July 2001, she became the first African American female Marine Naval Aviator and combat helicopter pilot. Not only was she number one in her class of twelve, she was number one among the last two hundred graduates.
After flight school, Armour was assigned to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton near San Diego, California for training in the AH-1W Super Cobra. After this, she was assigned to HMLS-169. While at Camp Pendleton, she was named 2001 Camp Pendleton Female Athlete of the Year, twice won the Camp's annual Strongest Warrior Competition, and was a running back for the San Diego Sunfire women's football team. A then Captain Armour is what you would call, A Marine's Marine. In the thick of battle, both in the skies and on the ground, she's the ultimate personification of who you'd want to cover you.
In the opening days of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, Allied commanders knew that ground forces would have to operate in lightening speed. The initial strategy was to neutralize the Iraqi military's ability to communicate and coordinate. After knocking out Saddam's "eyes and ears", then take control of key strategic areas. In order to accomplish this, it would take close air support that helicopters are best suited to accomplish due to their ability to hover and fly at slower speeds and engage in a more personal and direct manner so as to minimize collateral damage. At the same time this makes rotorcraft more susceptable to enemy ground fire.
The Battle of Mogadishu, also known as "Black Hawk Down would serve as a template on how to shoot down helicopters. A common tactic would be to engage Allied forces and wait for close air support to arrive. A contingency of fighters armed with rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) would then emerge in attempts to knock down what was clearly a superior firepower capability. The first US Marine/Navy helicopter to crash was on March 20, 2003. It was a CH-46E Sea Knight of HMM-268, based out of Hawaii. Four US Marines and eight British Marines were killed. On March 30, 2003, a UH-1N Huey of HMLA-169 crashed, killing three. On 14 April 14, 2003 a Marine AH-1W SuperCobra of HMLA-169 crashes near Samarra, injuring both pilots. The helicopter was later destroyed.
Flying around the clock, Allied aircraft were very vulnerable to enemy ordinance. Helicopters would return to base riddled with bullets from small arms fire. However, pilots such as Armour gave as good as they got. The Cobra came armed with 20 mm (0.787 in) M197 3-barreled Gatling cannon in the M97 turret with 750 rounds ammo capacity,
2.75 in (70 mm) Mk 40, or Hydra 70 rockets in 7 or 19 rounds pods, 5 in (127 mm) Zuni rockets – up to 16 rockets in 4-round LAU-10D/A launchers, and AIM-9 Sidewinder anti-aircraft missiles – 1 mounted on each hardpoint. It has a Maximum speed: 152 knots (175 mph, 282 km/h) and a Never exceed speed: 190 knots (220 mph, 350 km/h). The Cobra has a Range: 311 nautical miles (358 mi, 576 km) and a service ceiling: 10,500 ft (3,200 m) with a rate of climb of 1,090 ft/min (5.5 m/s).
Under the call sign, "Junk", Captain Armour flew into battle with the best training, flying a platform that had been in place since Vietnam. Only the US Army's AH-64 Apache can rival the Cobra, which was based off of the AH-1. Close air support missions in the war over Iraq saw unprecedented levels of coordination between ground forces and aviators. Mistakes made during the Vietnam War were not to be repeated. From the off start, air superiority would have to be gained so as to restrict the mobility of Iraqi forces. The Coalition declared that air supremacy was achieved on April 8, nearly two weeks after the war began.
" We're (Marine Aviators) very meticulous, professional, and anal, because we have to be. Sometimes it may come off the wrong way. But when you're there with the grunts, putting fires within 100 meters of their position, there is no room to make a mistake", she once stated on the characteristic makeup of Marine Aviators. Because the Marine Corps is the smallest branch, it is expected to do more with less. Therefore a Marine must be innovative or as Clint Eastwood stated in the motion picture, "Heartbreak Ridge", a Marine must be able to "improvise, overcome, and adapt". As Armour once stated in an interview, " The enemy is firing back at you. You're not out on some benign range where there is a dead tank target. You are shooting at a live target that is shooting at you" she spoke of her combat experience and difference in training.
"Flying in a cobra is like riding on a roller coaster without any rails. You're in a 3D dimensional world with all of the power at your fingertips." she once mentioned while in the midst of a deployment. When the planners of the war in Iraq began to strategize, they knew that Iraq would fight. The strategy in Desert Storm was simply to route the Republican Guard out of Kuwait. OIF would call to actually invade Iraq which meant that the country would be strongly defended. Top Marine aviation officers met with experts from information operations, targeting, collections, Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1), the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, and the Rand Corporation to formulate a strategy on how to project air superiority and troop support, mainly through close air support for ground Maines. Another key aspect that hadn't been conducted since the Vietnam War was aerial support for riverine operations through Iraq's vast river systems, mainly the Tigris and Euphrates as well as seizing all bridges and for Allied control, and the neutralization of key enemy defensive positions along these waterways.
Given the fact tat this was a hot war, the hours were long and demanding. A constant rotation cycle worked especially well for helicopter crews, who often flew multiple missions that totaled 8–12 hours day and night with short breaks for replenishment stops. Typically, Cobra aircrews took 30– 45 minutes to fire their missiles before they flew a short distance, usually less than 10 minutes, to quickly refuel, often hot refueling and rearm. Flying at altitudes as low as 100 feet and at speeds of 80–120 knots, aviators destroyed a host of well-defended Iraqi targets, including tanks, armed vehicles, mortar positions, and small arms fires. In the thickness and fogs of war, new strategies would have to be formed, new technologies and weapons systems would be tried and implemented while supporting the core values and principles of the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF). Just as with warriors of America's previous wars, the modern day Marines rose to the occasion and surpassed all expectations.
In order to maintain global reach and dominance, America has always stood at the ready by investing in state of the art technological supremacy. The initial Cobra was a revolutionary leap forward from its cousin, the UH-1 Huey. Just as the AH-1W was an evolutionary leap forward from its predecessor , the AH-1, the AH-1W inevitably had to give way for its next generation variant, the AH-1Z. On October 19, 2020, the US Marine Corps officially retired the Bell AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopter from its fleet, after more than 34 years of service. The
AH-1W racked up 933,614 hours flying with the Marines during its service life, taking part in campaigns from Operation Desert Storm to Iraqi Freedom, and Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Marines’ equipped it with a fire control system which allowed for air-to-air capability as well as ground attack.
Vernice Armour and other Marine Aviators just like her, demonstrated not just professionalism, but the consistent tenacity to drive the enemy into submission by effectively deploying the AH-1W in a host of capacities. In the shadows of her stellar combat accomplishments, as well as proving that women could in fact serve with gallantry in combat, Captain Vernice Armour helped to push the technological envelope in rotary winged development and combat implementation. As a result, she would later appear on the Oprah Winfrey Show, and The View as well as numerous print publications. She left the U.S. Marine Corps in June 2007 to begin a career as a professional speaker sharing her personal stories of law enforcement and military service as an expert on creating breakthroughs in life. In 2011 she published her book Zero to Breakthrough: The 7-Step, Battle-Tested Method for Accomplishing Goals that Matter.
In Zero to Breakthrough, Vernice Armour turns aspiration into action by revealing how to create the path that will get you out of your rut on onto the runway and cleared for take off. Vernice
Armour firmly believes that there is no such thing as a dream out of reach. Integrating the foundational concepts of a Breakthrough Mentality TM like preparation, strategy, courage, legacy, and the importance of high spirits and enthusiasm, Zero to Breakthrough helps readers build a sustainable inner force and conviction that result in accomplishing significant goals and becoming an extraordinary member of any business or community. Packed with hard-hitting advice and amazing anecdotes from her adventures on the battlefield
Vernice Armour has been awarded the Air Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
She received the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters from Coastal Carolina University during the December 2013 commencement ceremony.
Necessity is the mother of all invention. War time necessity demanded that a newer aircraft with greater firepower, longer range, and a more agile helicopter with tandem seating which made it harder to shoot down. These developments paid off tremendously and struck fear in the hearts and minds of the enemy. Over 1,000 Cobras were delivered by the end of the US involvement in 1973. Akin to the Flying Tigers of the All Volunteer Group (AVG) in the C.I.B. theater leading up to WWII, the Cobras, as were some Huey Hogs were painted with the iconic shark's teeth. This had a powerful psychological effect on the VC and NVA below when the Cobra flew in hunter-killer along with strike teams firing just above tree top level. When the Cobra deployed in Vietnam, it was definitely a game changer in favor of the US.
The gender and race of General Ware and Captain Armour is irrelevant as the aircraft didn't know who was flying it. What is important is that they were competent and highly trained and skilled to fly a complex aircraft through all of its variants, in the midst of a very well trained and skilled enemy that sought to aggressively to shoot them down. In the case of General Ware, this actually happened. The technological envelope was successfully pushed thanks to those such as Ware and Armour. As a result, the US still has the world's premier attack helicopters, in both the Apache and Cobra. Without the advent of the Cobra, there would not be the Apache. The fact that over 50 years later, the AH-1W has now given way to the AH-1Z, this is the ultimate proof of the lethality and necessity of the Cobra on today's modern battlefield.