JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – The United States Army Air Ambulance Detachment (USAAAD) at the Yakima Training Center will say farewell to a legendary aircraft, the UH-1 Huey, with a final flight ceremony beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
A special guest for the ceremony is former UH-1 Huey pilot and Medal of Honor recipient Col. Bruce P. Crandall (U.S. Army retired), and the guest speaker is Master Aviator and former 9th Aviation Battalion commander Col. Philip E. Courts (U.S. Army retired). Following the ceremony Crandall and Courts will accompany a UH-1 flight crew and the USAAAD command team on a final flight around the YTC range.
The UH-1 Helicopter, known to most simply as the Huey, was first manufactured in 1956. The Army began receiving them by 1959. Its distinctive nickname came from the pronunciation of its first Army designation of HU-1- for helicopter, utility – and later models featured the word Huey emblazoned on the pilot’s foot pedals.
More than 15,000 of the aircraft were produced with about half that number having been flown during the Vietnam conflict.
The U.S. Army National Guard retired the UH-1 Huey from service in a ceremony at Fort Myers,Va. Oct. 2, 2009. (Source: www.army.mil/-news/2009/10/09/28585-guard-retires-uh-1-huey-after-50-years-of-service/ )
The USAAAD Yakima Training Center will transition to the UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter.
Media interested in covering this event should contact the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Public Affairs Office by calling (253) 967-0147 or 0152 by 2 p.m. Tuesday, or by calling the on-call PAO after duty hours at (253) 967-0015.
Additional Information on guest speakers:
Col. (Ret.) Crandall – On Nov. 14, 1965, Crandall led the first major division operation of airmobile troops into Landing Zone X-Ray in Vietnam’s Ia Drang Valley and is credited with evacuating some 70 wounded comrades with his wing man and fellow Medal of Honor recipient MAJ Ed Freeman. The two also flew in the ammunition needed for the 1/7th CAV (Custer’s old battalion) to survive. The craft he was flying was unarmed.
Col. (Ret.) Courts – In addition to commanding the 9th Aviation Battalion here from 1974-1976, Courts served two tours in Vietnam as a UH-1 pilot and commanded the 48th Assault Helicopter Company (Blue Stars) in 1971.