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A Tribute to Veterans

Saturday November 7, 1998
At 1:00 P.M.
Georgia Veterans Memorial State Park

Brief History of the "Huey" #643

The park acquired the helicopter a few years back, and it joined the other aircraft on display. It was basically stripped of all its instruments and in desperate need of new paint and detailing. Capt. Tom Nesbitt, a local Cordele resident and former pilot with the 114th Knights in Vietnam decided to research the tail number of the helicopter and discovered it had flown in his unit in Vietnam from June '67 to July '68.

Although this was a few years prior to Mr. Nesbitt's service in Vietnam, (70-71), he felt compelled to do something to improve the run-down appearance of the Huey. He first tried to get major companies to help sponsor this expensive undertaking but found no help there. He then put the word out to his friends and over the Internet. To his surprise and delight, people from all over the country responded to assist in making this happen.

We are honored today to have one of the pilots who actually flew this Huey in combat and as flight leader on several missions around the Delta, Lt. (Later Capt.) Guy Hatlie.

Official records indicate the chopper was shot down at least once, but personal recollections by other crew members who have been found establish that it was shot down three times. After leaving Vietnam it went to Thailand for overhaul, then to Germany and back to the States to finish out it's service before being "retired."

We thank the following for their contributions:

Labor provided by:
Tom Nesbitt, Marla Nesbitt, Tony Spletstoser, Ben Watson, (Cordele Body Works), Sheriff Donnie Haralson and his crew and Jerry Gray.

Donations of equipment, nose art, gauges, and monetary contributions:
Oscar Sanders, Tom and Naomi Schena, Richard and Lynn Hunter, Leroy "Red" Wilson, Col. George Young, Tony Karpinski, Guy Hatlie, Clayton Owens, UNC Lear Siegler of Ft.Drum, NY and U.S.Helicopters of Ozark, AL.

Technical advice, discounts, and moral support:
Alan Knight (Sherwin Williams), Terry Dell (114th Webmaster), John Nichols (Lockheed), and Butch Eyler (Eyler Signs, Gettysburg, PA) and the Crisp County Power Commission who mounted the Huey.

"Without the assistance of the above individuals I could not have completed this project. I hope I left no one out. Thank you all so very much!"

Tom Nesbitt

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