A semi-truck pulling a helicopter through Hawthorne made a stir, especially when both truck and aircraft were painted in Hawthorne’s favorite colors: red, white and blue.
The shot down Huey that traveled around the bypass served as an air ambulance during the Vietnam War.
Aircraft like this Bell UH-1 Iroquois was used during the Vietnam War in both combat missions and rescue-recovery operations.
Owner by artist Steve Maloney, the project is called, “Take Me, Home Huey”. The painting and restoration of this 47-foot sculpture are to “bring attention to veterans of all conflicts, as well as to PTSD and the 50th Anniversary [of the Vietnam War] Commemoration,” according to their website.
In graffiti, type writing is the nicknames of helicopter squadrons that served during the Vietnam War as well as patriotic insignia including an American flag, apple pie, and muscle cars.
Inside of the copter is suspended remains of parts from helicopters and a time capsule that will be opened on April 20, 2025, which will be the 50th anniversary of the fall of Saigon. Inside that capsule are photos of soldiers, items they carried throughout the war and letters sent home.
The helicopter may not be a typical item used to help with PTSD, but the artist explained that it is a therapeutic tool for many victims, stating, “We are helping veterans express themselves by making them feel they are recognized and appreciated. One veteran told me if it was not for this project, ‘he would have swallowed a bullet by now’, saying he slept with a loaded pistol for a long time,” artist Maloney revealed.
The Huey as well as the documentary film, “Take Me Home Huey” will be on display at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno from Sept. 28 to Oct. 1. Veterans and service members are free but must register to attend.
The helicopter was shot down in Vietnam with two casualties in 1969 during a Medevac mission. Its serial number is #67-17174.
To make a reservation, contact the museum at 775-329-3333.