Artist Transforms Huey Helicopter Found In Arizona Boneyard
A helicopter sculpture starts its exhibition in Peoria Thursday.
A Huey helicopter sits in Peoria, covered in brightly painted images of American cars and apple pies. The farther you go down the body of the copter, a list of helicopter companies and their nicknames sit on camouflage colors.
Artist Steve Maloney said his piece is meant to be a catalyst for conversations between Vietnam veterans for whom the Huey is iconic.
“And also start a dialogue about their time in Vietnam or if they had PTSD issues, then they would start to talk about it,” Maloney said.
The chopper was found in an Arizona boneyard. It had been shot down in a medical evacuation in 1969.
Peoria resident and Vietnam veteran Pierre Millet came to see the installation and was a medic in the Vietnam war. He found himself injured and in a Huey, so the title “Take Me Home Huey” resonates with him.
“[That] type of Huey was the soldier’s last moment between surviving and God," Millet said. "That’s what got them to safety, it’s a lifesaver.”
Millet said it was an incredible piece of technology. He said his favorite part are the painted names of the companies, including the 95th Evac Hospital and 44th Medical Brigade that he was part of.
Veteran Howard Palmer was in Vietnam trying to help the South Vietnamese become self-sufficient. He said he was only in a Huey once, and it was bittersweet.
“It reminds me of a sad day that I left. It was sad, yeah," Palmer said. "We weren’t done yet, and I was leaving, and I felt a certain obligation to that.”
The piece will travel to Phoenix for the Veteran's Day parade then spend 45 days in Mesa.