The CH-21C Shawnee was the US. Army troop carrying variant of a design originally conceived by Piasecki as an Arctic rescue helicopter for the USAF. This tandem rotor design, Piasecki’s speciality, had also that peculiar shape which gave Piasecki’s choppers the sobriquet “Flying Bananas”. First flown in 1952, these robust piston-engined helicopters saw service with quite a few countries in various roles, both military an civilian. They were trusty assets, but still lacked sophistication and light and powerful turbine engines.
Superb -as usual- LIFE magazine photo of South Vietnam Army (ARVN) soldiers ready to board some US. Army “Bananas”. Yeah, I know, no American G.I. Joes here. Hey, I could not resist the word game with Bud Spencer’s movie.