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11 June 2009
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“A Touch of History”
The North Carolina Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association (NCVHPA) was founded in 1989. The Chapter’s goal is “…to promote and perpetuate the bonds of brotherhood that binds a group of men who have shared and survived an experience fraught with danger yet filled with the essence of pride and satisfaction.” The members endeavor to represent the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots in an atmosphere of decorum that focuses a light of respect and admiration upon all veterans.
Their vision was simply to establish a group of North Carolina men who flew helicopters in Vietnam, acquire a few old Vietnam era helicopters destined for the scrap heap, restore them, mount them on trailers, combined with the men who flew them. We present a part of living history to the public and to schools. The display, consists of two LOH’S, a Mike Model gunship, a Cobra gunship, and a Medical Evacuation H-Model lift ship. All the Association members were helicopter pilots in Vietnam, instilling a personal touch to the display. They have received overwhelming approval at every event in which they have participated. This display gives the public an opportunity to view the evolution of the helicopter gunship at the only location in the United States outside of the Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker, AL.
We are achieving our goal in that young and old alike seem drawn to our display. They are able to climb into the ships, press the flesh and talk with the people who were there and had the experiences – taking advantage of an opportunity that later generations will only read about. We have educated many, helped recruit a new generation of proud vets, and brought some understanding to a very difficult time for our country – and to those who wore its uniform.
The association was honored to have represented Vietnam Veterans by having participated in two Presidential Inauguration Parades. Helicopters have been made available to over 80,000 school children in NC, SC, and VA. In addition, the NCVHPA has worked with Drug and Summer Youth Programs. Other events have been: six year’s attendance at the Azalea Festival Parade in Wilmington, NC; participation in the oldest July 4th parade in the US at Belhaven, NC; and four appearances in the oldest, continuous Veteran’s Day parade in the United States at Warsaw, NC. The men and helicopters have also appeared in numerous Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day events throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia .
These men and aircraft have been in attendance as requested at veterans interment, as well as supported churches at Veterans Day, and supported TD Jakes at a Crusade for men. The Association supported the Hospice Balloon Festival in Burlington, NC, for six years with static displays. The helicopters have been displayed at 4th of July events in Philadelphia, PA; Orlando, FL; Alabama, and Nashville, TN. These men and helicopters have appeared in the 2000 and 2004 4th of July Parades in Washington, DC. The Association has supported the Army, National Guard and the Air Force Recruiting Services at schools and air shows.
The Association is supported 98 percent by the members. No state or federal funds have been granted. The Association will accept tax-deductible donations of which 100 percent will be used to transport and maintain the helicopters.
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