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    A South Vietnamese UH-1H being pushed overboard to make room for a Cessna O-1 landing. (U.S. Navy/released)
Why don't they just fly the helicopter and bring it back once the plane is landed ?!

> Chambers ordered all available hands to the flight deck, regardless of rank, to assist in moving any aircraft parked on the deck to a different spot, clearing a long strip for Lee to land on. Any helo that couldn’t be moved in a safe and timely manner was to be pushed over the side of the deck after a quick gear strip. An estimated $10 million worth of South Vietnamese UH-1Hs were thus stripped and jettisoned from the flight deck. When five more South Vietnamese Hueys landed on the deck during the mad dash to clear the deck, their occupants were hustled into the ship and their helos met the same fate as the others.

Seems there wasn't time or resources to get them all into the air quickly enough.

The same thing happened at the end of WW2 with all the PT boats that has been shipped to the pacific. In the course of a war, a lot of equipment gets moved to the field. When war ends (particularly abruptly as was the case in Vietnam), it’s a cost benefit analysis as to whether it makes sense to ship it back. PT boats were burned and scuttled in WW2, helicopters were dumped in vietnam (not just in this case but in others to make room on the decks for people). I’m sure a lot of equipment was left in the field as well.

And more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan, billions of dollars of equipment, including thousands of Hummers and MRAPs were scrapped or donated to local allied security forces as the cost of shipping them back the United States was prohibitively costly. Embarrassingly, some of the equipment fell into the possession of the Islamic State when they conquered northern Iraq.

> in the field

You can still see an OV-10 (I think) and a handful of C-130s parked in a corner of the airport in Ho Chi Minh City:


After the Japanese surrender in WW2 the British Pacific Fleet dumped a load of lend-lease carrier aircraft over the side, although I believe in this case it was related to the terms that the US had imposed on their use.

More importantly there was no use to the equipment. South Vietnam fell. There is no where for this equipment to go.

That and risk. They probably had no way of knowing what mechanical condition some of those helicopters were in, and to have half a dozen or more helos hovering around the carrier would be half a dozen potential emergencies that would have to be dealt with in the midst of an already complicated situation.

And then you also risk the lives of all of the crew members.

This is an odd logic, isn't it? The country that owned the chopper practically ceased to exist, it doesn't mean the equipment is no good...

Equipment doesn’t exist in a vacuum. There must be a supply chain to maintain it.

... it was just US equipment with a different coat of paint

No time to do a full check over equipment which by the end of the war may have been maintained to the bare minimum if not worse.

What do you think they stripped before dumping the aircraft? Is there modular, compact stuff like radios? Or what? No time to remove an engine, presumably, even if that was something that could happen fairly routinely during maintenance.

There was a period in the late 1970s when North Vietnam was undercutting the US in supplying parts & replacements to some Latin American countries, I recall.

While only pilots can fly a helicopter, everyone on the boat can push a helicopter into the sea.

If I had to guess, I'd bet that it was going to happen anyway. After all, the nation they belonged to didn't exist anymore. The optics of keeping them would be questionable and they weren't all that useful anyway.

Lack of fuel?

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