Veterans History Project Service Summary:

  • War or Conflict: Vietnam War, 1961-1975
  • Branch of Service: Army
  • Unit of Service: 188th Assault Helicopter Company (Black Widows); 235th Aviation Company; 1109th Transportation Company; 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment
  • Location of Service: Fort Polk, Louisiana; Fort Wolters, Texas; Fort Rucker, Alabama; Fort Benning, Georgia; Dau Tieng, Vietnam; Landing Zone Sally, Vietnam; New London, Connecticut
  • Highest Rank: Chief Warrant Officer 3

View full service history

"It felt like you were leaving something behind, that you should have finished." (Video interview, 1:16:31)

The son of Norwegian immigrants, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Kjell Tollefsen wanted to serve his country--and he wanted to fly. Enlisting in the Army granted both these wishes. By 1968, he was serving with the 188th Assault Helicopter Company, a unit nicknamed the “Black Widows” with a reputation for talent and aggression. Stationed first at Dau Tieng and then at Landing Zone Sally near Khe San, the Black Widows provided direct combat support, ferrying munitions, food, and troops to the bush and back, often coming under enemy fire. His interview is a highly detailed, evocative account of life in a helicopter unit: he describes being shot down, aircraft names, good luck charms, and the culture of adrenaline. Despite the grueling conditions, the bonds he developed with his comrades made it difficult to leave Vietnam at the end of his tour of duty.

About this Item

Title

  • Kjell T. Tollefsen Collection

Names

  • Tollefsen, Kjell T.
  • Central Connecticut State University
  • McGuckin, Briana
  • Hurst, Eileen

Home State

  • CT

Headings

  • -  Tollefsen, Kjell T.
  • -  Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Personal Narratives
  • -  United States. Army.

Notes

  • -  The veteran was born in Norway.

Repository

  • Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Gender

  • Male

Status

  • Veteran

Service History

  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975

    • Branch of Service: Army
    • Unit of Service: 188th Assault Helicopter Company (Black Widows); 235th Aviation Company; 1109th Transportation Company; 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment
    • Location of Service: Fort Polk, Louisiana; Fort Wolters, Texas; Fort Rucker, Alabama; Fort Benning, Georgia; Dau Tieng, Vietnam; Landing Zone Sally, Vietnam; New London, Connecticut
    • Highest Rank: Chief Warrant Officer 3
    • Dates of Service: 1967-1972
    • Entrance into Service: Enlisted
    • Military Status: Veteran

Materials

  • Video: DVD [1 item] -- Oral history interview (collected 12/05/2008)
  • Photograph: Digital print [72 items] -- Photograph (collected 1967 - 2008)
  • Video: DVD [1 item] -- Reference copy (collected 12/05/2008)
  • Computer File: CD [1 item] -- Electronic file of manuscript (collected 1967 - 1969)
  • Manuscript: Military papers (orders, personnel/201 files, etc) [2 items] -- Typewritten document (collected 1967 - 1969)

Collection Number

  • AFC/2001/001/67682

Cite as

  • Kjell T. Tollefsen Collection (AFC/2001/001/67682), Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Online Format

  • image
  • video

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

Using VHP Material in Publication or Exhibition

The Veterans History Project (VHP) at the Library of Congress collects, preserves and makes accessible the firsthand recollections of U.S. military veterans who served from World War I through more recent conflicts and peacekeeping missions, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand what they saw, did and felt during their service. The Veterans History Project Collection includes oral histories along with documentary materials such as original letters, diaries, photographs, and memoirs.

Veterans and interviewers contribute these materials to the Library for scholarly and educational purposes, retaining any copyright they may hold. Therefore, permission must be obtained before using the interview or other materials in exhibition or publication. Researchers or others who would like to make further use of these materials should contact the Veterans History Project for assistance.

As a publicly supported institution, the Library generally does not own rights to material in its collections. Therefore, it does not charge permission fees for use of such material and cannot give or deny permission to publish or otherwise distribute material in its collections. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item from the Library’s collections and for securing any necessary permissions rests with persons desiring to use the item.

Please contact us with questions.

Obtaining Copies of VHP Materials

In order for VHP materials to be duplicated, we must receive written permission from the interviewee for you to obtain a copy of the recording unless the proposed use is limited to personal use, research, or other uses permissible by copyright law. If the interviewee is deceased, their next-of-kin may grant written permission.

Please contact VHP for assistance if you need to contact a veteran for permission to use their materials in exhibition or publication, or if you have received permission from the veteran and need access to high-resolution copies of VHP collection materials.

Citing VHP Materials

Please use the following formats when citing Veterans History Project materials (substituting the appropriate name and collection ID number).

Materials as a whole:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Manuscript material:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Memoirs (MS02), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Transcript (MS04), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Correspondence (MS01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Recording:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Audio recording (SR01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Video recording (MV01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Photograph:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Photographs (PH01), photographer unknown, Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Photographs (PH03-PH14), Ralph Williams photographer, Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Computer file:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Computer file (CF01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Artifact:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Artifact (AR01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Tollefsen, Kjell T, Central Connecticut State University, Briana McGuckin, and Eileen Hurst. Kjell T. Tollefsen Collection. 1967. Personal Narrative. https://www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.67682/.

APA citation style:

Tollefsen, K. T., Central Connecticut State University, McGuckin, B. & Hurst, E. (1967) Kjell T. Tollefsen Collection. [Personal Narrative] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.67682/.

MLA citation style:

Tollefsen, Kjell T, et al. Kjell T. Tollefsen Collection. 1967. Personal Narrative. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.67682/>.