A Huey helicopter is permanently “airborne” in Treynor.
A Bell UH-1 Iroquois helicopter — commonly referred to as a “Huey” — went on display on the Treynor Community Center grounds in April, thanks in large part to Treynor American Legion Post 725, which purchased the helicopter. While the post approved the purchase of the chopper, longtime Legion member Ron Kerber gets credit for the three-year effort to track it down.
“I always wondered how the Legion could have something to connect with the military, as far as a static display,” Kerber said in a statement. “I took the project under my wing to make it happen.”
What started as a search for any sort of military memorabilia — guns, equipment or even a jeep — turned into a search for a helicopter that took Kerber to Illinois, Florida and then back to Illinois, where he found a former Texas National Guard helicopter for sale.
The Legion made the purchase through Midwest Aerospace Limited. The owner rebuilt some of its components and made repairs, including patching bullet holes from combat missions in Vietnam.
The helicopter has no engine — for display purposes — but with an engine and a tuneup, it probably could fly again, Kerber said.
Kerber said the chopper was built in 1964 by Bell Helicopters and sold to the Army in 1965. Soldiers flew the helicopter on missions during the Vietnam War for four years, he said. About 18,000 of the helicopter models were sent to the war, with 3,500 shot down and about 1,800 still in operation today, Kerber said.
According to a press release, Hueys can cost about $65,000, but the Legion was able to purchase the chopper for about a third of that.
A dedication for the chopper display at 10:30 a.m. Saturday also will honor 100 years of the American Legion.