OPERATION HUEY RESTORATION TAKES FLIGHT AT NEW JERSEY VIETNAM VETERANS’ MEMORIAL FOUNDATION’S VIETNAM ERA MUSEUM & EDUCATIONAL CENTER
Veteran volunteers log 1,200 hours and counting to restore Huey helicopter that served two tours in Vietnam War
In January 2013, the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation (NJVVMF) took possession of a 1964 Bell UH-1D Iroquois helicopter, also known as the “Huey.” After spending more than two decades deteriorating outside at Fort Dix, New Jersey, the Huey is currently under restoration by a crew of veteran volunteers. The crew has logged more than 1,200 hours, working on Mondays throughout the spring and summer of 2013 in a hangar at Monmouth Executive Airport in Wall Township. Their work is restoring and preparing the Huey for display at the Vietnam Era Museum & Educational Center in Holmdel in 2014.
The Huey, serial #64-13732, served two tours in Vietnam. From October 1966 through September 1967, it served with the 116th Assault Helicopter Company, “The Hornets,” at Cu Chi in support of the 25th Infantry Division. After being repaired from damage sustained during a crash, it served with the 118th Assault Helicopter Company, “The Thunderbirds,” from November 1968 through February 1970 at Bien Hoa. During its service in Vietnam, this Huey logged more than 3,000 flight hours, saving countless lives and providing daily support for troops.
Thanks to the generosity of the restoration crew, members of the local military community, and numerous sponsors, the NJVVMF has accomplished a great deal. However, there is still a lot of work to be done before the Huey is relocated and installed as a permanent display at the museum in the spring of 2014.
Dedicated in September 1998, the museum is celebrating its 15th anniversary. It is the first and only museum of its kind in the country. Exhibits and programs are devoted to gaining an understanding of the Vietnam Era, the War in Southeast Asia, and its lasting impact on American culture, using New Jersey as a microcosm of what happened on a larger scale.
Operation Huey Restoration is a labor of love. The crew of veteran volunteers could not be more qualified; many served as pilots and maintenance technicians. Their dedication and passion reflect the significance of the project. This project has once again brought these veterans together, working towards an important goal: the restoration of a Huey that served alongside so many in Vietnam. They understand that their work will preserve their legacies and leave a lasting impression on all who experience this Huey.
To make a donation in support of Operation Huey Restoration, for project updates, and to view the restoration crew at work, please visit http://www.njvvmf.org/huey-home-page.html or call (732) 335-0033, ext. 104.
The Vietnam Era Museum & Educational Center is located adjacent to the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial; the museum is located on the grounds of the PNC Bank Arts Center, exit 116 on the Garden State Parkway in Holmdel. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and by special appointment. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for senior citizens and students, and free for children 10 years of age and younger, veterans, and active duty military personnel.
About the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation
The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation (NJVVMF) offers a meaningful and engaging experience that recognizes the sacrifices, courage, and valor of Vietnam veterans, and encourages and fosters a thorough understanding of the Vietnam Era, including the political, historical, social, cultural, and military aspects, which affected the United States and especially New Jersey.
The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, “A Place to Remember, To Heal, and To Honor,” recognizes all who served, especially the 1,563 New Jersey-born soldiers who never returned home. During 2013, the Vietnam Era Museum & Educational Center celebrates its 15th anniversary. Since opening in 1998, the museum has welcomed more than 180,000 visitors of all ages. The nonprofit foundation, with the support of its volunteers, offers innovative and relevant programs and services, based in sound scholarship and relevant community needs. The collections, resources, programs, and services offered provide important and unduplicated historical resources. For more information please visit www.njvvmf.org.