July 31, 2003, 10:17 EST

Last UH-1 "Huey" helicopter leaves Virginia Guard inventory

 
Maj. Rob McMillin and Chief Warrant Officer Norman McIntosh depart from the Army Aviation Support Facility on one of the final flights made by the last “Huey” assigned to the Virginia Army National Guard. (Photo by Lt. Col. Chester Carter, III, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office)

SANDSTON, Va. – An era came to an end this July when the last UH-1 Iroquois “Huey” left the Virginia Army National Guard inventory. The “Huey” made its final departure from the Virginia Army National Guard Army Aviation Support Facility, Richmond International Airport on the 31st ending its service in the Virginia Army National Guard which began in 1972. The “Huey” was flown to Rhode Island where it will be turned over to the Rhode Island Army National Guard for further service.

The first “Huey” entered the Virginia Army National Guard inventory in 1972 with Company A, 28th Aviation Battalion (Assault Helicopter) at Sandston, Va. It has remained in service with the Virginia Army National Guard until now. The “Huey” flown to Rhode Island entered service in 1974 at Ft. Sill, Okla. and was assigned to the Virginia Army National Guard in 1998. As the Virginia Army National Guard has kept pace with advances in Army Aviation the “Huey,” an icon of the Vietnam era, has been replaced by the UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter.

 
Maj. Rob McMillin conducts a preflight check of the “Huey” before it departs on one of its last flights in the Virginia Army National Guard. (Photo by Lt. Col. Chester Carter, III, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office)

Virginia Army National Guard aviation has made a significant contribution to our national defense effort including two overseas deployments since August 1990. The 986th Medical Detachment (Air Ambulance), Virginia Army National Guard, flew the “Huey” in the Gulf War from September 1990 through October 1991. More recently soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation flew the Black Hawk in Bosnia-Herzegovina from August 2001 through May 2002 as a part of the Virginia Army National Guard’s 29th Infantry Division’s mission to enforce the Dayton Peace Accord in the Balkans.

Col. William Simpson, Commander of the Army Aviation Support Facility at Richmond International Airport hosted a media day on July 25th. The purpose of the media day was to provide members of the media a greater understanding of the Virginia Army National Guard’s past accomplishments, current mission, and future goals.

The 25th was also an opportunity for former aviators to return to the facility to see old friends and recount experiences. Virginia Army National Guard aviators who saw service in Vietnam, Desert Shield / Storm as well as in the skies over the Commonwealth shared stories and talked about people, events and the “Huey” that had clearly had such a significant impact on their lives.

Additional information on the UH-1 “Huey” and UH-60 Black Hawk can be found at http://tri.army.mil/lc/cs/csa/aahist.htm.

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