The UH-1, or better known as “Huey” helicopter, was the first turbine-powered helicopter produced for the United States military. More than 16,000 were built during the Vietnam War. On February 11, Veteran Heritage Project (VHP) was able to bring a decommissioned 1966 UHU-1H Huey onto campus.
“We thought that it would be a really interesting piece of history to bring onto campus so that people could physically see one of the most important vehicles in the Vietnam War, which was the Huey Helicopter,” said Brett Lineburg, one of the advisors for VHP.
Each year, VHP publishes a book based off of one of the conflicts American forces have fought in. This year’s war is the Vietnam War, prompting VHP to not only bring in a helicopter, but also bring in Vietnam helicopter pilots to share their experiences with students.
“I feel like it gave students a real look of what helicopter pilots went through, like seeing the bullet holes showed students what all the helicopter pilots went through,” said Madison Jacoby, a member of VHP.
Denis Day, another advisor for VHP, communintacted with a gentleman named Todd Barett, who reconstructs Vietnam era helicopters. Barett offered VHP one of his helicopters to have on campus.
“It had been hit numerous times, so on the left side of the helicopter, you do see some war wounds. There are some bullet holes and some shrapnel damage. But that Huey in particular, I think, flew close to about 23 to 2400 combat missions before it was decommissioned,” said Lineburg.
Nearly 12,000 helicopters of varying types flew during the Vietnam War, but the most popular helicopter was the Huey. Mainly used as a troop transporter, air support or for medical evacuation, the Huey only had six seats in them or could hold up to two stretchers for a medevac role.
“I thought it was a really cool experience, and I was really glad that the history teachers were able to bring it onto campus. It was a good way to connect people with actual living history,” said Christian Harris, a member of VHP.
According to an article posted on History.com, the Vietnam War wounded more than 150,000 and claimed more than 58,000 American service members. Yet, through all their sacrifice they were not received well by the public.
“These guys were treated so badly, but they did such an important job that they need to be recognized for that,” said Lineburg.
This year, VHP is selling their book online at veteransheritage.org, ranging from $24 to $30. Students can also buy one from the VHP room, room 311. However, students have to contact Lineburg or Barbara Hatch, the founder of VHP, beforehand.