In what can only be described as a sad day, Fort Rucker has announced the official retirement of all HUEYs in future military operations. This momentous occassion took place on 17th May 2011 at Cairns Army Air Field. Hundreds of people gathered to watch this moving retirement ceremony for the Huey, which has enjoyed a military career in excess of 50 years.
When you hear Major General Anthony Crutchfield (Commanding General USAACE and Fort Rucker) refer to the occassion as 'a family reunion to say goodbye to a family member', you get a deep feeling for how much this helicopter meant to all those pilots and soldiers who flew in the HUEY during Vietnam and subsequent military conflicts thoughout the world.
The Huey was first introduced in 1959 with around 7,000 taking part in the Vietnam conflict. Since then around 16,000 have been produced in total serving all around the world. The HUEY truly has a place in the military history books as one of the finest war machines ever to serve in military combat.
To quote Larry Castagneto's poignant words when talking about the HUEY, She is alive, She has a life of her own and She has been a lifelong friend. HUEY 509 will carry on flying to keep this memory alive for many years to come.