Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   
Canadian Warplanes 7: Bell CH-118 Iroquois

Bell CH-118 Iroquois

Data current to 28 Dec 2020.

Bell CH-118 Iroquois Helicopter (10), (Serial Nos. 118101-118110)

Bell CH-118 Iroquois Helicopter (Serial No. 118103), ca 1969.  (Canadian Forces Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Bell CH-118 Iroquois helicopter in flight with members of the Canadian Forces Parachute Team, The Sky Hawks, exiting over DZ Buxton, north of Edmonton, Alberta ca 1977.  Sgt Wayne Johnson in the door, Sgt Ralph Goebel just stepping off and Capt Jean Simard lower right.  (Author Photo)

Bell CH-118 Iroquois Helicopter (Serial No. 118103), ca 1974.  (Canadian Forces Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Bell CH-118 Iroquois Helicopter (Serial No. 118103), ca 1989.  (Canadian Forces Photo via Mike Kaehler)


Bell CH-118 Iroquois Helicopter (Serial No. 118103), ca 1989.  (Canadian Forces Photo)

Bell CH-118 Iroquois Helicopter. (Serial No. 118106).  (Alain Rioux Photo)

Bell CH-118 Iroquois (Serial No. 118101), CFB Trenton, Ontario.

Bell CH-118 Iroquois (Serial No. 118108).  (Alain Rioux Photo)

 (DND Photos via Mike Kaehler)

Bell CH-118 Iroquois (Serial No. 118110), in an early 1970's Rescue paint scheme, CFB Winnipeg, Manitoba.

 (Inga kk Photo)

Bell UH-1H Iroquois flown for the ICCS.

Intelligence Branch members Maj Tom F. Davie, Capt Bernie N. Wright and WO Gary W. Handson served in Vietnam with the International Commission for Control and Supervision (ICCS).

During the First Indochina War (19 Dec 1946 to 20 July 1954) between France and the Indo-Chinese nationalist and communist parties, Canada remained militarily uninvolved but provided modest diplomatic and economic support to the French. Canada was, however, part of the International Control Commission (ICC) (along with Poland and India) that oversaw the 1954 Geneva Agreements that divided Vietnam, provided for French withdrawal and would have instituted elections for reunification by 1956. Behind the scenes, Canadian diplomats tried to discourage both France and the United States from escalating the conflict in a part of the world Canadians had decided was not strategically vital.

Canadian negotiators were secretly involved in exchanging messages between the U.S. and North Vietnam on behalf of the Americans, with the approval of the Canadian government. Canada tried to mediate between the warring countries, aiming for a conclusion that could allow the U.S. to leave the conflict honorably.

Between 28 Jan and 31 July 1973, Canada provided 240 peacekeeping troops to Operation Gallant, the peace keeping operation associated with the International Commission of Control and Supervision (ICCS) Vietnam, along with Hungary, Indonesia, and Poland. Their role was to monitor the cease-fire in Vietnam per the Paris Peace Accords. After Canada's departure from the Commission, it was replaced by Iran. The work of the ICCS continued until the April 1975 fall of Saigon.

The Protocol to the Paris Agreement detailed the functions of the ICCS. At Article 4 it named the locations of seven regional teams and twenty-six teams within those regions in Vietnam. It also called for seven teams to be assigned to ports of entry (for replacement of armaments, munitions and war material permitted the two Vietnamese parties under Article 7 of the Agreement) and seven teams to supervise the return of captured and detained personnel.

In summary, the ICCS was to supervise the cease-fire, the withdrawal of troops, the dismantlement of military bases, the activity at ports of entry and the return of captured military personnel and foreign civilians. It was to report on the implementation, or violation, of the Peace Agreement and Protocols. As with the old ICSC, there were continuous disagreements between the communist and non-communist nations about the causes of treaty violations. Canada attempted to counter this with an "open mouth policy" to the world's media.

For reasons of distance and for reasons of safety, in a time of conflict, the ICCS often traveled by air. Requiring pilots experienced at flying over mountain and jungle, and men accustomed to the unpredictable military background of the region, the ICCS gave a contract to a locally well-established operation, Air America. Initially under the command of Colonel J. A. Mitchell, of Canada, this organization gave a coat of white paint to its aircraft and panels indicating 'ICCS', to operate as: ICCS Air Services. Captain Charles Laviolette (-1973), 12e Régiment blindé du Canada ICCS Canada, was the only Canadian fatality with the ICCS, though others were lost with the ICC.

During the period there were 18,000 alleged cease-fire violations, which resulted in over 76,000 killed, wounded and missing to both sides: on 29 May 1973 the Canadians announced that they were withdrawing from the ICCS because they had come to supervise a ceasefire but were instead observing a war.