Huey Helicopter at Army Heritage Days brings back memories for veterans

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MIDDLESEX TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center is kicking off its Army Heritage Days this weekend in Cumberland County.

The event is a living history demonstration with reenactment and displays from different wars. This year's will highlight the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, and a main attraction is a Huey helicopter.

The helicopter flew for the 170th Assault Helicopter Company in Vietnam and served from 1968 to 1970.

Michael Caimi, vice president of the Liberty Warbird Association, said, "The Huey helicopter was the lifeline of the soldier."

The helicopter was used to transport troops and food during the war.

Larry Wade, a Vietnam War veteran, said, "We had it landing on our decks all the time. We'd refuel it, get the wounded off, resupply it,  get it back in the air."

The Liberty Warbird Association is an organization that restores Vietnam-era helicopters. They bought the aircraft and they are working to get it to fly again.

Caimi said, "There's one thing to see the helicopter, see a picture of it. It's another to walk up to it physically and touch it, put your hand on it and feel the bullet hole patches. Somehow that makes it real: the combat experience."

Just the sight of it takes veterans back to that time period.

Wade said, "It's just a healing for some, and it's going to be a Pandora's boxes for others and we know this. It's going to bring back some very good memories. It's going to bring back some bad memories. But it's going to be a healing for Vietnam veterans and others."

It will leave an impact on more than just the people who served in the war.

"Real excited about seeing the children see this, to give them a little bit of our heritage, what we went through," Wade said.