The Story Begins.....|
In the spring of this year, my wife Marla called me from her job located directly across from the entrance to the Georgia Veterans Memorial State Park. She had pulled one of those "women things" and locked her keys in her car. I had to drive the 8 miles to rescue her.
After taking care of that crises, I created a larger one.
Just for the heck of it I wrote the tail number down on my hand,
When I returned home I sent Gary the number, and a few hours later I had the results. To my surprise I found that Huey 64-13643 arrived in Vietnam in 1966, serving initially as a medevac, and then in June 1967 was sent to the 114th Assault Helicopter Company, Red Knight platoon, where it served from then through July 1968. This got my attention! I knew I had to help the old bird regain her self respect. After surviving the Tet Offensive of 1968, she deserved a better fate than to sit there rotting and rusting away for all the world to see.
I didn't even have to sleep on it. That afternoon I called the park and asked if I could have permission to put a new paint job on it. The next day I went back out there for a talk with park officials and was granted permission, providing I would "be careful."
The photo's show the condition of 643 at that time she was placed in the park. 6 years later, she has been scraped, sanded, bondoed, and washed down in preparation for painting.
I have never seen a more disciplined crew of men since serving in the 82nd Airborne Division in 1972-73! I never heard a gripe or grumble from a single one of them as they labored away in the 100 degree hot Georgia sun. They were happy to be off road work, and interested in knowing more about helicopters. I was happy to have them and tried to answer their questions as best I could. They also told me they would like to come back and work on it again if I needed them.
Needless to say, this took a large load off of my tired old body. Sheriff Haralson's assistance is greatly appreciated. He has promised me the same type help for any other such worthy project.