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Bell UH-1 Huey — All American Helicopter

Hello all, here is today's article posted on TheArmoryLife.com. It is titled “Bell UH-1 Huey — All American Helicopter” and can be found at https://www.thearmorylife.com/bell-uh-1-huey-all-american-helicopter/.


The soldiers who drove, manned, and rode in these have my utmost respect. History reflects Vietnam as a crappy war and I'll leave the "whether or not" to someone else. This article gave me a sense of being there, at least in some small way. The vets I know that are still alive don't talk about Vietnam. It was, by all accounts a freaking horrible place and we were well shut of it - too many of our young men left blood there for no good reason other than they were following orders. Come to think of it, that's a lesson some of our "modern" military could stand to learn. God bless and Godspeed to any of you who were there and came home to tell about it (or not). 🙏
 
As usual, Dr. Dabbs captures the true spirit of aviation with his writings. I nearly cried at the Huey startup!
I went through ORWAC in 1977 and completed primary in the TH55 and then went on to the UH-1 and OH-58. (dual rated) Cobras in '78 and back to the UH-1 in '86 (Dustoff) Retired in 2006. Currently fly an O360 powered RV4 painted in the colors of (WWII vintage) P-51 of the 318th Sqdn., 325th Fighter Group. (Checkertails)
Keep up the great work Will!
 
My experience with the UH-1 spans almost 50 years. My first ride was as a Civil Air Patrol cadet in 1969 at Ft. Lewis. After I became a paramedic, I would fly on civilian search and rescue missions with the 54th Medical Detachment throughout the 80s. They were deactivated after Desert Storm and I moved on to occasional missions with the King County Sheriff until about 2016. Some of my best stories involve those birds.
 
There is nothing quite like that wop, wop, wop sound of a Huey. While in Vietnam I spent time flying in these eggbeaters. When I was on the ground and I heard that sound, I knew it was an angel of mercy coming to get our wounded, or a gunship ready to light up Charlie, or our ride home. After getting out, I went on to be a paramedic with the Los Angeles Fire Department. In 1982, we were gearing up for the 1984 summer Olympics in LA. We knew we would not be able to cover all the various venues or get in and out with our ground units. The department put out a call for guys with military SF experience in helicopters. I was one of the original 10 guys that formed up the initial cadre of what became the Air Rescue/ Air Ambulance unit of the LAFD. We also formed Airborne Engine Companies for fighting high rise fires. The LAFD's helicopter of choice was the venerable UH-1 Huey. As others have said, when I hear that sound in the air, I always look up and get that tingling feeling!
 

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Dr. Dabbs, thank you so much for including the start-up video in your article. Hearing that sound really brought back memories of my time in service. I was a crewchief/Doorgunner on UH-1's. My pilots also made sure we got stick time, just in case something happened. I have flown both the OH-58 and the UH-1 and probably have close to 350 plus hours on the stick. With my guard time included I have over 2000hrs in the air in UH-1's. What a great bird.
 
Dr. Dabbs, I enjoyed reading your article. I always find aircraft history articles interesting, but those with personal details are the most fascinating. Although I was a CH-53E pilot, I also got trained to fly a UH-1N in 1986. It was like transitioning from a (maneuverable) semi-truck to an MG sports car. Concerning your article, I have one correction. In the caption of one of the pictures, it states, "A UH-1 of the 1st Marine Division", which is not correct. The Marines receiving the resupply would belong to the 1st Marine Division, but the helicopter would belong to an aircraft wing, in this case probably the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. This is a minor detail which, seeing that you are a Dogface and not a Marine, is easily forgiven.
 
By the time I made it to 2/17th Air Cav, 101st Abn. we were up to "H" models, I believe and AH-1G's with OH-6A LOH's, the trifecta of Air Cavalry in 1971. The Cobras were even getting air conditioning by then.
One of the great "never say never" examples was the observation that UH-1H's were NEVER authorized to carry rocket pods in Vietnam. Well, unless you're the Sqn. CO & you "need" to be able to mark targets.
2/17th Air Cav HHT Flt. Plt. on the Scabbard Pad, Camp Eagle, Thua Thien Province. My photos.
I would also recommend as a read LTG John Tolson's treatise on Airmobility in Vietnam. Free download. https://history.army.mil/html/books/090/90-4/index.html
 

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I served in both the Marines and Air Force. I maintained and crewed 4 different types of helicopters. I spent the majority of my AF career on UH-1N’s. At one time the AF had single engine Huey’s, the HH-1H. There may be some training Huey’s operated by the AF but I can’t verify that. Now that the N Model is in it’s twilight years, the sound of the Huey will fall silent and is to be replaced by a modern helicopter.
 
I served in both the Marines and Air Force. I maintained and crewed 4 different types of helicopters. I spent the majority of my AF career on UH-1N’s. At one time the AF had single engine Huey’s, the HH-1H. There may be some training Huey’s operated by the AF but I can’t verify that. Now that the N Model is in it’s twilight years, the sound of the Huey will fall silent and is to be replaced by a modern helicopter.
Every time I hear a helicopter my mind goes back to my time in Huey's.
 
At one point our group had a mission and we had 27 Huey's lined up ready for take-off. I was not on this mission I got to experience it from the ground, what a rush. The vibration that went thru your chest just felt awesome when all those birds were up and running ready for take-off. When they all left it was something to behold. and feel.
 
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