The UH-1 evolved from a 1955 U.S. Army competition for a new utility helicopter. The Army employed it in various roles, including that of an armed escort or attack gunship in Vietnam. The initial Army designation was HU-1, which led to the common unofficial nickname of "Huey." All U.S. armed services adopted the model as did several other countries, and it was redesignated in 1962 as the UH-1 under a triservice agreement. The USAF ordered the UH-1F Huey in the early 1960s for support duties at missile sites, and TH-1F variants for instrument and hoist training and medical evacuation.
The USAF later ordered more capable versions of the Huey. The HH-1H incorporated a longer fuselage and larger cargo area. The USAF ordered these in 1970 as local base rescue helicopters to replace the HH-43 Huskie. The first of the USAF's UH-1Ns, a twin-engine utility version capable of cruising on one engine, was obtained in 1970.
The Huey on display served in South Vietnam with the 20th Special Operations Squadron flying dangerous, highly-classified missions inserting special operations personnel into Laos and Cambodia. In June 1969, it was converted into a UH-1P gunship equipped with two rocket pods and two miniguns.
The museum's UH-1P is configured and painted to appear as the UH-1F flown by Capt. Jim Fleming on Nov. 26, 1968. On this day, he braved intense enemy fire to rescue a small reconnaissance team that was about to be overrun by a much larger enemy force. For his bravery, Fleming was awarded the Medal of Honor.
TECHNICAL NOTES: Armament: Two 7.62mm M60 machine guns Engine: General Electric T-58 of 1,070 shaft hp Maximum speed: 140 mph Cruising speed: 115 mph Range: 330 miles Ceiling: 24,830 ft. Rotor diameter: 48 ft. Overall length: 57'1" ft. Height: 14 ft. 11 in. Weight: 9,000 maximum