Finally! After years of searching and rejections, Aviation Heritage Park has a Huey. Well, not exactly. The bird is not on site.
However, one with AHP’s name on it is sitting in the “bone yard” at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, AZ.
According to Patricia Ochs, Air Force Display Administrator with the National Museum of the USAF, the Vietnam era Huey UH-1 is waiting to be demilitarized, readied for transfer to AHP. Once this is done the craft will be officially on loan to AHP. The next step is arranging transportation from AZ to KY.
Recently a search team from AHP traveled to Arizona to view three aircraft available and selected the one best suited for the park. The gunship selected flew with the 20th SOS “Green Hornets,” involved in several insertion and extraction missions deep in enemy held territory. Once on site at AHP the bird will be restored, then put on display. No timetable has been set for restoration completion at this time.
In keeping with AHP protocol, the Huey has a back story connected with a local aviator. This artifact will pay tribute to Army chopper pilot, Col. Raymond Nutter, along with honoring all the men and women from south central Kentucky who served during the Vietnam War.
Nutter was a native of Georgetown, KY. He played football under Coach Bear Bryant at the University of Kentucky before transferring to WKU. He played on WKU’s 1952 Refrigerator Bowl Championship football team.
In 1966 Nutter was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with armed hostile forces in the Republic of Vietnam while serving with the 121st Assault Helicopter Company.
Nutter distinguished himself while serving as platoon leader of an armed helicopter team supporting combat operations near Vi Thanh. Nutter led his air-craft in strikes on heavily fortified Viet Cong positions that were threatening a small friendly force. When two evacuation helicopters were forced to abandon attempts to reach the ground unit because of intense fire, Nutter decided to fly in for the pickup. As he brought his Huey down, it was hit by a burst of fire which riddled the cabin, shot away the controls and killed the other pilot. In the crash Nutter suffered severe injury to his leg, but led two crew members deeper into the swamp as the Viet Cong gave chase. Hoping to escape capture, the team continued to move through enemy terrain. Hampered by injury and beset by leeches and mosquitoes, he hacked his way with his knife through the swamp. On two occasions he was attacked by armed insurgents. He engaged in hand-to-hand combat and killed them with his knife. Early the following morning he made contact with a friendly Vietnamese force and was rescued. More about Colonel Nutter on our site here.
Nutter died Oct. 2006