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Vietnam pilots say the Huey Helicopter saved hundreds of lives in the war

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - Saturday Fort Wayne’s Replica Vietnam Memorial Wall was unveiled and during that event people got to ride on a piece of military history. 

The event had two recommissioned Huey Helicopters used during the Vietnam War, and many of the veterans who flew them were back in the pilot's seat. 

Chief Warrant Officer Phil Marshall says they saved hundreds of soldiers using these aircrafts. 

“I was a medevac helicopter pilot,” he said. “We fly with the doors open which is an experience better than a rollercoaster.” 

He says there were more than 7,000 of those helicopters used to rescue people in the war. 

"We were there to save lives and unfortunately there are a lot names on the wall that we didn’t get to soon enough,” he said. “The wall would have been a lot larger without these Huey helicopters.” 

Marshall says they had medics on-board who would help save people’s lives. 

“What we were doing was very risky, very dangerous, and very incredible, unlike anything I've ever done before,” he said. 

Patrick Wing is a retired lieutenant colonel with the Indiana National Guard. 

“It just brings back a mixture of emotion about all the people some close friends, my wife’s brother was killed in Vietnam,” he said. “It's always great to talk to people again, reminisce about the good times, sometimes we will shed a tear about some of the names on the wall.” 

He says riding in one of these helicopters and seeing the Replica Vietnam Memorial Wall was emotional, but it reminded him of the sacfrice his fellow soliders made for our country.  

“It reminds me that living in this country it’s part of what we should all be doing whatever we need to do, to keep our country safe and free,” he said. 

The organization who brought the helicopters here is called the American Huey 369, you can find more information here. 

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Karli VanCleave

Karli VanCleave is a multimedia journalist at WPTA for the evening newscast. Karli is a Fort Wayne native and Indiana University Bloomington graduate.
Feel free to connect with her on Facebook (@KarliVanCleaveNews) and Twitter (@Karli_VanCleave), or if you have a story idea send her an email at kvancleave@wpta21.com.

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