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Bell UH-1 "Huey" Iroquois 66-00609:

The Iconic workhouse and legendary symbol of the Vietnam War, the Bell UH-1 Huey helicopter was the most produced  aircraft since World War II.  Utilized in both insertion and extraction operations of US troops along with the gunship configuration,  the Huey still is the most recognized helicopter in the world.


Our UH-1 Huey which we call 609, was built by Bell as the 609th unit of the 1966 production year.  Built as an UH-1C version, it was converted to an UH-1M in May 1971 with the addition of a more powerful Lycoming turbine engine.   609 served two tours in Vietnam, being first deployed with the 176th Assault Helicopter Company in 1967 operating out of Chu Lai.   As a Gunship, 609 operated with the Musket Gunship platoon as Musket 609 and supported some of the most dangerous combat missions of the war including flying to support Chump Valley on May 15, 1967. Maj Charles Kettles of the 176th received the Medal of Honor for this action and every Huey in the unit took intense fire.


Musket 609 continued operations with the 176th until 14 February 1969 when she took ground fire directly into her engine compartment that forced the aircraft into a hard landing.  Recovered and repaired back in the USA,  609 returned to Vietnam on 11 November 1969 as a member of the Taipan gunship platoon of the 135th Assault Helicopter Company operating mostly out of Dong Tam.


Taipan 609 would support Vietnamese operating units in the Delta region until January 1972 receiving more war wounds flying tree top level missions with the 135th.    Deployed back to the USA, 609 would finish her career with the 1st Battalion of the 26th Air Cavalry Squadron of the Massachusetts National Guard.  


Through the extensive efforts of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 207 of Westport, MA, the helicopter was placed on loan to the USS Massachusetts Memorial Committee, Inc. and dedicated at Battleship Cove on May 30, 1993.

UH-1 609 is currently undergoing a complete restoration to her Vietnam War combat appearance as a tribute to all those who served.  Her war wounds will be preserved as a stark reminder of the sacrifice of our forces that fought in Vietnam.


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