The “Huey”


This summer, we hired Kirsten Olson, a recent MFA graduate student of University of Alaska Fairbanks, as one of our interns.  She has a background in Anthropology and came to us by way of the UA Museum of the North’s Ethnology and History Collection, where she worked for two years during her graduate studies.  She has a great love of Alaskan history and is excited to be working with, researching, and sharing the collections at the Pioneer Air Museum with you!  

As you enter the Pioneer Air Museum, immediately to your left, you’re almost nose to nose with a Huey! The UH-1, aka “Huey” is a military helicopter with a single turbo shaft engine and two-bladed main and tail rotors. Bell Helicopter manufacturer developed the UH-1, aka “Huey”, in 1952 as a medical evacuation and utility helicopter.  It was ordered into mass production in 1960 for the U.S. Military. More than 16,000 helicopters have been produced worldwide.

Huey’s were put into service during the Vietnam War for general support, air assault, cargo transportation, aero medical evacuation, search and rescue, electronic warfare, and general attack missions. The UH-1 body was upgraded to this model, designated the UH-1H, and manufactured in 1966. The individual companies would have modified the helicopters for specific purposes, for example the escort helicopters were outfitted with rocket launchers, grenade launchers, and machine guns, allowing them to take troops deep into enemy territory.

The  UH-1H at the Museum saw combat in South Vietnam. It was taken down three times during combat.  During one of its last missions, a support mission to the main base in 1969, it took a hit from a rocket propelled grenade while landing, damaging the communication system, electric system, and it’s structure.  After the war, the helicopter was sent to the overhaul facility in Texas and transferred to various Alaskan Army posts, before finally coming to Fort Wainwright.  It was retired in 1993 and subsequently loaned to the Pioneer Air Museum. The Army still maintains the craft and in the spring of 2015, Delta Co. I-52 Aviation Regiment of Fort Wainwright repaired the “chin bubble” (the plexiglass beneath the pilots seat). 

A visitor of the museum recognized the ID number on the tail of the craft, #66-00934 and identified it as the helicopter he few during the Vietnam war. Thomas Ackerman was the crew-chief and gunman of this Huey.  Photos of him and crew members were kindly sent to the museum by his daughter and breathe new life into the history of this aircraft.

3 responses to “The “Huey””

  1. Dennis Kelley Avatar
    Dennis Kelley

    National Defense Service Medal (Sharp Shooter) sounds like TWO different awards. Everyone received the NDSM up to a certain year.

    1. Lyn Avatar

      @ Dennis- A couple of years before his death from Agent Orange related cancer in 2004, Sgt. Tom Ackerman had sent additional detailed pictures of the Huey, and more information which I believe are misplaced/buried in the museum archives. If the staff could possibly locate the original bundle they could clarify.

  2. Harry Thies Avatar
    Harry Thies

    The photos you have posted are not 934, tha is a M model Huey.. only has 1 cargo door window, 934 is an H Model longer huey has 2 cargo door windows…I was stationed at Ft.WW in the same Squad as 934 in late 1980’s early 90’s 4/123 Avn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *