The featured aircraft - the Bell UH-1H Iriquois - is the main reason Vietnam is often referred to as the "helicopter war." And this rag-tag group of Bay Area guys is trying to preserve the unique experience of flying one in combat in America's most lesson-worthy military entanglement. How do they do that?
Founder Geoff Carr has sunk a small fortune into acquiring and restoring to combat specs this aircraft, and it serves as a living, flying museum. From its homebase at Bud Field Aviation in Hayward, CA, they buzz veterans events and wow anyone within earshot on the ground. (The Huey makes a distinctive whop-whop-whop that almost anyone can recognize.)
What makes this group truly special, though, are the guys themselves. Some served in Vietnam, some are sons of those who served, and some never served at all. But they're all in love with this Huey and what it represents. (Frankly, after spending a day in the sky with it, so am I.)
This is a war machine, however. The guys who caretake it struggle with the conflict between their love for the aircraft and their nuanced views of war itself, which are very, well, Bay Area. As I learn more about them for a longer-form web doc, I can appreciate the vets' desire to honor their wartime experiences while refusing to deny their complicated feelings about the politics that forced them into adventures both righteous and heinous.
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