Throwback Thursday – Bowling Green’s Huey Helicopter

Throwback Thursday has been telling stories of the aircraft and aviators featured in Bowling Green’s Aviation Heritage Park. This week we’re highlighting the park’s most recent addition, the Huey helicopter. Made famous in the 1960s, the Huey was the Vietnam-era war machine.

Officially named the Bell UH-1 Iroquois, the helicopter was first produced in 1963. It was the most widely used helicopter transport in all of Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. More than seven thousand of these helicopters were used on both public and top secret missions.

The Huey helicopters were often used for Med-Evac and hospital runs—made even more famous by the hit television series M.A.S.H. While most were used to move personnel, some were still heavily armed gunships for large-scale air assaults.

The Huey specifically at Bowling Green’s park is number 160. It has combat airtime and was used on missions with the Green Berets’ 20th Special Operations Squadron of the United States air force (or S.O.S.). The 20th S.O.S. commanded secret missions in Laos and Cambodia during the war, often rescuing downed American pilots and resupplying forces. 

Aviation Heritage Park received permission to complete this Huey restoration in honor of Kentucky native and WKU graduate Colonel Raymond T. Nutter, one of the most highly decorated soldiers of the Vietnam War.

This type of Huey helicopter is one of only 120 produced. It is currently on loan from the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.