Thursday, November 30, 2017

Take Me Home Huey: Special Vietnam War helicopter in Palm Desert helping veterans heal

PALM DESERT, Calif. - A U.S. Army Huey helicopter that served to transport wounded servicemen during the Vietnam War and was later remade into a sculpture dedicated to those killed in the war will be on display in Palm Desert through the weekend, starting Thursday.

"Take Me Home Huey" will be on display through Monday at Freedom Park, 77400 Country Club Drive.

The sculpture is made from a retired UH-1 Huey helicopter that was shot down during a medical rescue in 1969, killing crew chief Gary Lynn Dubach and medic Stephen Lawrence Schumacher.

Artist Steve Maloney transformed the 47-foot-long helicopter into its current form, serving as a work of art, memorial to fallen soldiers, and vehicle for PTSD awareness.

The sculpture will be installed at Freedom Park this morning and its five-day exhibit will include an opening ceremony Saturday, to be attended by Maloney and Mayor Jan Harnik. The ceremony will also include a screening of the "Take Me Home Huey" documentary, a companion piece to the installation, and an event with veterans and military organizations, food, kids' activities and more.

For Vietnam veteran Gene Hobdy, the helicopter brings back vivid memories.

“When I stand here and look at this, I can smell the flight line and the jet fuel. 2 o' clock a.m. when the flight line lit up like downtown New York," he said.

Its appearance in Palm Desert is not the sculpture's first in the Coachella Valley. It has made previous appearances in Palm Springs, including its debut at the Palm Springs Air Museum in 2015.

More details on the documentary and art piece can be found here.

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