September 27, 2017
Patriot Guard Riders Escorted Huey Helicopter to Oklahoma History Center for New Exhibit
OKLAHOMA CITY — In preparation for the upcoming exhibit “Welcome Home: Oklahomans and the War in Vietnam,” the Oklahoma History Center transported a newly acquired Huey helicopter to Oklahoma City. The exhibit will open to the public on November 6, 2017.
This addition to the exhibit will honor those who stepped up and served in the Vietnam War and is donated by native Oklahoman Bob Ford, who said, “Any Army pilot or crew member who had the privilege to fly the Huey in combat loves it; it never let us down.”
The aircraft began its journey from Weatherford, Texas, on Sunday, September 24, and arrived at the History Center mid-afternoon. The Huey was installed the following day, suspended from the History Center atrium in the same manner as the iconic replica of the Winnie Mae airplane hanging in the Devon Great Hall. The procession crossed the Oklahoma/Texas state line and was escorted from there by the Patriot Guard Riders (PGR) directly to the grounds of the Oklahoma History Center. The PGR is a nationwide organization known for its impressive motorcycle convoys, whose stated mission is to “ensure dignity and respect at memorial services honoring Fallen Military Heroes, First Responders and honorably discharged Veterans.” The PGR also will be involved in escorting The Wall That Heals, a scaled version of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., to the Oklahoma History Center on November 8, 2017.
The UH-1 Iroquois was originally designated as the HU-1A. The helicopter quickly developed a nickname derived from its designation of HU-1A, which came to be pronounced "Huey." The rotary-winged aircraft, which was first flown by the U.S. Army in 1956, also was used by the U.S. Air Force’s 20th Special Operations Squadron in South Vietnam, where it was converted into a UH-1P gunship and equipped with two rocket pads and two mini-guns. Today, the Air Force uses the light-lift utility helicopter to support Global Strike Command missile wings, survival school training, test and evaluation and search and rescue operations.
“Welcome Home: Oklahomans and the War in Vietnam” is scheduled to be open to the public for two years and will explore the impact of the war in Vietnam on Oklahoma families as told through the stories of the young men and women who served their country in the armed forces and the immigrant families who fled Vietnam and came to Oklahoma seeking freedom and opportunity.
The Oklahoma History Center is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society and is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, National Archives and is an accredited member of the American Association of Museums. The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.
Editor’s Note: Images associated with this story can be obtained by contacting Steve Hawkins at 405-522-0754 or firstname.lastname@example.org.