Spotlight on American Huey 369 Organization

Based in Indiana, American Huey 369 Organization is committed to preserving and educating the public to the history of the iconic UH-1 “Huey” helicopter and its Veterans, especially the Vietnam War era Veterans.

Co-Founders and brothers John and Alan Walker—along with John’s wife Kae—operate the non-profit organization with the help of more than 200 core member volunteers. The organization started after John, a former Marine Corps captain and helicopter pilot, saw a listing in 2004 on eBay for a Huey helicopter. After extensive research he approached Alan to invest in the purchase of this important piece of history. Trusting his brother’s knowledge and keen eye, it was an easy yes.

John and Alan Walker take possession of 369 from Richard Bowie of DEEMI in 2004
John and Alan Walker take possession of 369 from Richard Bowie of DEEMI in 2004.

The brothers—along with countless volunteers—spent two years bringing Huey 369 back to airworthy condition with its first post-restoration flight occurring in July 2007. They also obtained a second UH-1H, Tail #803, in 2005 and began its restoration in November of 2007. After the restored aircraft became airworthy, American Huey volunteer aircrew began flying them to airshows and other events.

The organization now operates four airworthy Hueys—including a UH-1B gunship—and houses another unrestored Huey plus parts and memorabilia in its temporary museum at Grissom Aeroplex in Peru, Indiana. All five Hueys in the organization’s collection served in the Vietnam War. Complete histories on three of the restored aircraft can be found at americanhuey369.com.

Two UH-1 Hueys - a gunship and a medevac
Two of the four flying Hueys in the American Huey 369 collection.

In 2021 the organization broke ground on its future National American Huey History Museum, located on 34 acres of beautiful land outside Peru, Indiana. When completed, the 34,000 square-foot museum will help to preserve and ensure the memory of over 50 different models spanning a period of 66 years.

As a tribute to the more than 58,300 Vietnam Veterans who paid the ultimate price for our freedom, a Memorial Brick Walkway will be created in their honor. Anyone can choose a Veteran from the list on the website at www.polarengraving.com/americanhuey369 and purchase a Memory Brick which will be engraved with the name of that chosen Veteran. You can also purchase a brick for yourself, another Veteran, business, organization or club (you don’t have to be a Veteran). The 10-foot-wide walkway will begin at the flag poles in the front of the museum, wind its way to and through the museum, and will end at the helicopter pads behind the museum.

From their humble beginnings 18 years ago restoring two Hueys in an unheated and uninsulated pole barn, American Huey 369 Organization now has more than 22,800 members worldwide and has attended 237 scheduled events. More than $2.5 million has already been raised toward the museum and restoration efforts, but the organization needs additional funding to reach its $4 million goal and to avoid construction delays of the museum.

Three pictures showing construction of the museum.
Construction commences on Phase 1 of the museum.

American Huey 369 proudly flies the UH-1 Van Horn Aviation tail rotor blades, which are “stronger and provide a much-needed increase in tail rotor effectiveness,” John Walker says. “Our organization truly appreciates the professional support of a Veteran-owned company, coupled with their extremely knowledgeable and friendly staff. Thank you, Jim Van Horn!”

Huey Tail #959 with VHA tail rotor blades
Tail #959 above flew in Vietnam in the IA Drang Valley, 1st Cav 227th A Co.

 

“Vietnam War Veterans did not receive the thanks or praise for their service when they returned from their tours overseas, and it was the failure of those of us on the home front to understand, honor, and thank this generation that fought so gallantly in the humid jungles—not because there was an obvious threat like the Axis powers of World War II but because their country asked them to go. And they went.”

THANK YOU, VIETNAM VETERANS AND ALL VETERANS, FOR YOUR SERVICE AND “WELCOME HOME!”

-John Walker, President AH-369