If the Vietnam War could be said to have provided anything good, it was its technological advancement of turbine-powered helicopters and development of a pool of qualified pilots to fly them. At the peak of the war, the U.S. Army was churning out some 300 pilots a month. Then, in 1970 the service started giving “early outs” to pilots, reaching a monthly high of 4,000 in 1971. This phase of exits was followed by a massive reduction in force, or RIF, that dumped even more highly trained, ...

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