Wall of Honor Acquires Vietnam Era Helicopter, WWII Jeep | News
ENID, Oklahoma. – A Vietnamese-era Bell UH-1 Iroquois military utility helicopter – dubbed Huey – arrived at its final resting place at the Woodring Wall of Honor and Veterans Park on Monday.
The Huey helicopter is from the now closed Cold War Museum in Lancaster, Texas, and will be on display as part of the ML Becker Educational Center and Woodring Wall of Honor exhibits.
“We are privileged to have this as a permanent part of our park,” said Elaine Johns, Executive Director of the Wall of Honor. “We can’t wait until the rest of 2022, which we can’t talk about right now, but there is more to come.”
The helicopter is temporarily stripped of its blades and transmission. The incoming warbird is accompanied by a WWII jeep which will be on display in the museum.
Admiring fans and veterans alike met the helicopter at Hutch’s Oil and Convenience Store in South Van Buren as it arrived in Enid. The Huey was transported on a trailer by museum volunteer Justin Messenger in Lancaster, Texas.
The Huey was escorted to Woodring by the Enid Police Department, followed by dozens of vehicles in the procession.
“The team worked 22 hours to get there and take the Huey apart to transport it and make its way through Dallas,” Johns said. “It was a slow process as there were several wrecks and a lot of ‘lookieloos’ passing the Huey.”
The past and future of Woodring’s Huey
The helicopter left Lancaster at 11 p.m. and arrived in Oklahoma City at 4 a.m., departing at 9 a.m. and arriving in Enid around 11 a.m., Messenger said.
“We sailed in insane traffic, but mostly because people were looking at the helicopter,” Messenger said. “This helicopter is a true Vietnam veteran. It was so damaged that they had to rebuild it in the United States after the war.
A mine on a landing pad is what ultimately took this helicopter out of service, Johns said. Previously, it served as a form of transportation before the bomb went off and damaged her stomach, Johns said.
The Huey will be housed with the A-26 Lady Liberty for now, but there isn’t enough room in the hangar to properly display the helicopter.
“Now we have to start a new campaign to get a new building,” Johns said. “We already have an account open at Security National Bank. We will accept new donations because we will have to build a large building that can house what we think we will get this year. 10,000 square feet of memorabilia could be added to the park this year.
The fully assembled helicopter will be unveiled during the Woodring Memorial Day celebration.
The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
Woodring’s board of directors had previously gone to examine another Huey helicopter, belonging to the US military in Kansas, but were unable to obtain it.
“Justin, one of our volunteers, has a Cobra. He and his brother own it, ”Johns said. There was a man in Texas who said, ‘If you ever find this part for a Cobra, I’ll trade a Huey for it. “Justin told me three weeks ago and told me he found this Cobra part on eBay for $ 15,000. We knew we could raise $ 15,000 to get this Huey. So we got it. We are very honored to have it now.
Several Vietnam veterans gathered at Woodring with the arrival of the Huey. Many of them recounted their memories of the war and their involvement in jeeps and helicopters like those new to Woodring.
“I joined in 1991 and served until 1996,” said veteran Brent Roberts. “I went to air assault school at Camp Gruber in 1993. I rappelled three times from the Huey. They had the Blackhawk there, but I went the old fashioned way. I remember on the skates there they had a special tower that you had to train on the Huey. If you had a misstep, you would catch a hanging opossum. There is a static probe which, if you touch it with your foot, you are in trouble.
A veteran, Lawrence Payne of the 101st Airborne Division of the Army “The Comancheros”, knew a lot about the Huey, pointing out the differences between the various models and talking about the material make-up of the helicopter.
“I was a crew chief for 14 months in Vietnam on an H Huey model in 70s and 71s,” Payne said. “The B models are early. It has a shorter door. Model H has two windows in the sliding door, and there is another small entrance door in front. It has a slightly larger luggage compartment, a lift motor and bigger rotor blades.