In July of 1975 a UH-1 Helicopter was dedicated to those killed in action during the Vietnam War. The monument and aircraft are located on the grounds between the Army Medical Department Center of Excellence (formerly the AMEDD Center and School) and the current Medical Command Headquarters buildings on Fort Sam Houston.
Over the years the Texas weather and sun deteriorated the original aircraft despite the aircraft being repainted at least three times. Then, in December 2007, a winter storm caused the rear strut of the aircraft to fail. Significant corrosion of the airframe was noted as the retention straps on the cross tube flaked off like potato chips.
Then in 2010 an aircraft exchange was coordinated with the Army Aviation Museum and the AMEDD Museum. The old bird was transported to Fort Rucker in exchange for a newly renovated UH-1 Helicopter painted in the medevac configuration. It is now 2021 and that aircraft was just repainted for the first time since 2010.
In meeting with the Deputy Chief of Staff of the AMEDD COE with Dan Gower, Executive Director, DUSTOFF Association and Johnny West, Former President and Project Manager of the project, plans are under way to significantly invest in a structure of some manner to cover the helicopter and protect it from the elements (both sun and freeze/thaw). This helicopter is a significant point of interest on the grounds of the AMEDD COE. Many classes will pose their graduation pictures in front of the helicopter. So, the structure over the aircraft must also be aesthetically pleasing and not disrupt the ability to pose large groups in front of the aircraft.
Our thanks to Johnny West and George Wunderlich, curator of the AMEDD Museum) for their Saturday morning workday to scrub the two monuments on the plaza of the mold and stains on those monuments – restoring them to a presentable state once again.
Standby for further developments.