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Artifact Friday: The UH-1 Iroquois

It is that time of the week!

Today is National Vietnam War Veterans Day. It is observed on this day because it was on March 29, 1973, that the last of the United States military disbanded and left Vietnam. March 29, 2012, President Barak Obama made an official proclamation that this day be commemorated to honor our veterans who served during the Vietnam War.

In observance of this day, AAMM staff is highlighting the Bell UH-1 Iroquois (Bell Model 204) or the "Huey".

This is one of the most universally recognized aircraft of the Vietnam War.

The “Huey” is powered by a single turboshaft engine with two rotors-the main blades and the tail blade. The first member of the Huey family was developed to meet the United States Army's 1952 requirement for a medical evacuation and utility helicopter. Its first flight was in 1956. The UH-1 was the first turbine-powered helicopter produced for the United States military. The Iroquois was originally designated HU-1, hence the Huey nickname but was then redesignated UH-1 in 1962. With the success of the original Huey design, a need was identified for a larger and more powerful version of this helicopter. The result was a lengthened fuselage that accommodated 12 to 14 troops and a larger main rotor-blade system. That version was then upgraded with a 1,400 SHP (Shaft Horsepower) T53-L-13B engine creating the UH-1H model. The 3,000 Hueys (mostly H variants) that survived the war would be the backbone of the military's post-war helicopter fleet. The UH-1 first saw service in combat and later Medevac operations during the Vietnam War, where it replaced existing piston-powered helicopters like the CH-34 Choctaw. The Army officially retired the UH-1H helicopter in 2011 after roughly 50 years of service. Overall, Bell manufactured more than 16,000 Hueys over its production run from 1955 to 1976. The UH-1 military helicopter has the legacy of being the longest-used and manufactured helicopter in the United States military and is still in use by a wide variety of civilian and foreign military operators. During the Vietnam War over 7,000 Hueys were deployed and flew over 7.5 million flight hours. The vast majority were in service with the Army, flying Medevac, command and control, air assault, and personnel and materiel transport missions. Hueys evacuated more than 90,000 patients from the battlefield, greatly increasing the survival rate of soldiers wounded in combat.

The Arkansas Air and Military Museum has two UH-1 Iroquois helicopters on display! Come to the museum this weekend to see them in person!



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