VA North Texas Health Care System
Huey Finds a Home at VA Medical Center in Bonham
Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Medical Center has quite a military treasure on campus. A Huey helicopter was donated to VA North Texas Health Care System and is in permanent residence at the Bonham campus.
The Huey was restored to original colors and markings of the 101st Airborne Division and completed in time for a dedication ceremony before Veterans Day.
The most famous helicopter in the world is the Bell UH-1 Iroquois. The helicopter was originally designated the HU-1A, which is where it received its name "Huey." The Huey first flew in 1956 assigned to the 101st Airborne Division and was introduced to the war zone in Vietnam in 1962.
Lt. Gen. Richard E. Carey of Plano knows well the role a Huey served in the Vietnam War. He was commanding general of the 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade that supplied helicopters and a security force for the evacuation of Saigon. Carey recalls, "The wop wop sound of the Huey rotors meant help was on the way for the wounded or that a future mission against the enemy was being planned or underway. The Huey in a word was a Godsend and the workhorse of the Vietnam War."
This particular airframe was built by Bell Helicopter in Fort Worth in 1970 as a UH-H and used in Vietnam to spot artillery and transport troops. It was later converted stateside as a UH-1V medical evacuation aircraft. The Huey was donated by the Army, and transportation services were also donated at no cost. Restoration was completed by a team of volunteer employees and veterans, and Bell Helicopter played a key role in the acquisition as well as technical support during the restoration.
The Huey has been a huge hit for Veterans and staff at Bonham – many of whom have first-hand experience with a Huey in their military career. It represents a significant piece of military history.