This April 30th marks the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, which was the final battle that marked the end of the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War started on November 1, 1955 and lasted 19.5 years.
The Mid America Museum of Aviation and Transportation houses one of only three Bell UH-1 helicopters in the Iowa area. The UH-1 that is currently at the air museum, built July 1967, served in the Vietnam War and was one of a very few still in good condition that was brought back to the United States once the war ended.
Of the 16,000 made, over 7,000 served in the Vietnam War. The helicopter was used for medical evacuation, command and control, air assault, and to transport personnel. The Huey is also well known for its versatility and dependability, as well as the distinctive sound of the rotors. UH-1s that were tasked with ground attack and troop transport were outfitted with machine guns, rocket and grenade launchers.
Once it returned to the United States, this UH-1 was assigned to the Utah National Guard and eventually found it’s way to the Iowa National Guard, where it was retired. Museum Director Larry Finley, stated, “Despite this particular Huey sitting outside most of its life, it is in outstanding shape. The Mid America Museum of Aviation considers itself lucky to house the UH-1, on loan from the United States Army Gold Star Museum at Camp Dodge in
Gary Rosenberger of Carter Lake, Iowa, a United States Marine, experienced the UH-1 on multiple occasions throughout his military career. As a scout sniper, he was often transported via the UH-1 to numerous missions in the field. He also experienced seeing just how fast the UH-1 was and how it was able to maneuver around the sky. In Gary’s words, ‘The UH-1 was possibly the best helicopter in military history’.