PINEVILLE, La. - The Louisiana National Guard bid a fond farewell to the last of its UH-1V Huey helicopters, as they departed for Killeen, Texas, from Esler Field in Pineville, La., June 9.
More commonly known as the Huey, the UH-1V has been the workhorse of the Army since the Vietnam War. The Louisiana Army National Guard has utilized the helicopters since the 1960s.
“They call the Huey the legacy aircraft,” said 1st Sgt. Gregory Patin of the 812th Medical Detachment (Air Ambulance), a 22-year veteran of flying the Huey. “Anyone that has ever flown in a Huey knows the history and can appreciate everything that they have done.”
The Huey has provided Louisiana with medevac, firefighting, Troop and cargo transport and emergency responses. During Hurricane Katrina, the Huey helicopters flew more than 200 hours of operation in five days where they hoisted 144 trapped people and moved more than 600 from flooded areas.
“It is hard seeing the Huey leave,” said Sgt. 1st Class Mike W. Gunnels, maintenance supervisor of the 812th Medical Detachment (AA). “It is pretty much like going to your mother’s funeral. The Huey’s always got me out of hot spots in Vietnam, and she always brought me back home.”