Vietnam War 50th Anniversary: NJ’s Huey Helicopter Plaza Inspires Personal Messages

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The fully restored Iroquois UH-1D “Huey” on display at New Jersey’s Vietnam Era Museum and Educational Center.

This spring, a 1964 Iroquois UH-1D “Huey” helicopter fully restored by a group of Veteran volunteers, many of whom were Vietnam-era helicopter pilots and maintenance technicians, was dedicated after making its final landing in front of the Vietnam Era Museum and Educational Center in Holmdel, N.J.

“At the Huey Plaza’s Dedication Ceremony on May 7th – among hundreds of fellow Vietnam Veterans – I was brought back by the sounds of the Huey, as its pitch is unmistakable,” recalls New Jersey state President of the Vietnam Veterans of America Dennis Beaureard.  “My relationship with the Huey began in 1968, when I was an infantry soldier in the U.S. Army, 9th Division, 3/39th Infantry, Bravo Company. I was evacuated from the Mekong Delta and flown by to the 3rd Field Hospital on Feb. 2, 1968.

Beauregard, a key supporter of a fundraising effort called Operation Huey Paver, has partnered with the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation (NJVVMF) to invite individuals, organizations and businesses to be part of the newly constructed Huey Plaza by purchasing a paving stone for $350. Each paving stone within the plaza can be engraved with a personal message of support to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War as well as financially support programming at the museum and educational center.

“The Huey helicopter is the iconic symbol of the Vietnam War, and family and friends recognize the Huey Plaza as an ideal venue to preserve the memory of their loved ones,” said NJVVMF’s Executive Director Bill Linderman. “Many visitors, including thousands of school children from across New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, will visit the exhibit and read the messages, educating future generations on the sacrifices made by our Vietnam Veterans.”

The presence of the renovated Huey serves as a reminder of the sacrifices of Vietnam Veterans, and a way to pass the knowledge on to many visitors to come.  Although the Huey will never actually be able to fly again, it comes to life with simulated sounds of its spinning rotor blades at the entrance to the Vietnam Era Museum & Educational Center. The exhibit is open daily and on the first Saturday of each month at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. free tours are led by Vietnam Veterans by appointment.

The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation offers a meaningful and engaging experience that recognizes the sacrifice, courage and valor of Vietnam Veterans, and encourages and fosters a thorough understanding of the Vietnam Era – including the political, historical, social, cultural and military aspects surrounding the war, as it affected the United States, and especially New Jersey.

To support the NJVVMF, or for directions, visit www.njvvmf.org. For more information on purchasing a paver stone, call (732) 335-0033, or visit the NJVVMF Huey Plaza Paver Program page to choose your contribution and download the paver order form of your choice.

jsmigaframesJennifer Smiga is Founder of inBLOOM Communications. She lives in Long Branch, NJ with her family and is the marketing consultant for the New Jersey Vietnam
Veterans’ Memorial Foundation in Holmdel, NJ.

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4 Comments to “Vietnam War 50th Anniversary: NJ’s Huey Helicopter Plaza Inspires Personal Messages”

  1. Jalica says:

    This is to honor those lost in a war of service to this country. Vietnam was for many, a place that castrated the soldier who left with a small piece of self, lost somewhere in a infrastructure of war and power. For my husband, and the men of Pedro 9, I am the widow who stands to invest in what was once apart of me, apart of serving the red, white and blue despite the atrocities my husband and others faced, I too, came from a time where war was not about parades or American truth, but political games that the soldier left scarred remarks even today. My husband never saw the changes that have been made. He took his life after the MacNamara story. For us and the children death just began. We have tried to amend but maybe we need others to walk with us. Those who care to embark on living. His motto for his group was “So Others May Live” He met this in learning to forgive himself. Nothing more but human deliverance from a war that was torn!

  2. Ron peeples says:

    Excellent.

  3. Tony Chliek says:

    I took a lot of rides on the Huey, the last being when I was medivaced after being wounded by a claymore. My usual seat was on the floor right behind the pilot with my feet hanging out the door. Great view, what was I thinking, first man off and last man on?

  4. Danny says:

    if only the brave ment hat fought for our great country in Vietnam had been given a portion of the help the brave men and now the brave women fighting in today’s wars are being given more of them would have survived to see the changes that have come about.all too often it is only the veteran that receives the thanks and the praise for what they have done. your story should be a reminder 2 every person in our country that not only the veteran pays a price and deserves a heartfelt handshake or even a hug but also the spouse of that veteran goes through a lot I might even be brave enough to say they go through hell as well as we have. the next time you think of veteran or welcome a veteran home turn to their spouse and thank them for standing by your brother for your sister. As always god bless our troops, god bless our veterans, and may God bless America!