HH-1K Iroquois - NNAM

First Flight:
The earliest version of the Iroquois made its maiden flight on October 20, 1956.  

Enduring Nickname:
The original designation of the helicopter as procured by the U.S. Army was HU-1, which inspired the nickname “Huey.” Few knew the helicopter by its official name Iroquois.

Though not fast, the earliest versions possessing a cruise speed of 115 M.P.H., the Huey was versatile and adapted to the shifting tactical demands of the Vietnam War.  Capable of airlifting troops in its box-like fuselage, it proved an ideal platform for heliborne assaults supported by gunship versions of the type. Its small size made it ideal for landing in constricted areas or hovering overhead for expeditious evacuation of combat casualties, with Army, Navy and Marine Corps aircraft evacuating 378,000 casualties between 1965 and 1969

Variants:                                                  The Huey operated across the spectrum of the U.S. military and appeared in a number of versions. In Naval Aviation, it first operated with the Marine Corps, which began flying the UH-1E in 1964. The Navy procured the HH-1K and TH-1L for search and rescue and training duties respectively. The twin-engine UH-1N, which served with the Marine Corps in Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom among others, also equipped Antarctic Development Squadron (VXE) 6 supporting Operation Deep Freeze in the Antarctic. The latest in the long evolution of the Huey is the UH-1Y Venom.

The Seawolves:
In 1967 the Huey was chosen to outfit Helicopter Attack Squadron Light (HA(L)) 3, the first squadron of its type in Naval Aviation history. Nicknamed the Seawolves, HA(L)-3 served in concert with Navy patrol boats interdicting the enemy in the waters of the Mekong Delta and also supported Special Operations Forces (SOF).  The squadron’s helicopters were heavily armed, with machine guns, rockets, mini guns, and occasionally a 40mm grenade launcher. Able to scramble at a moment’s notice, Seawolves aircrew were heavily engaged. In one year alone, squadron personnel flew 34,746 hours, expending 17.5 million rounds of 7.62 mm /.50 caliber machine gun ammunition, 96,700 rockets, and 32,300 grenades.

The Museum’s Aircraft:
The museum’s HH-1K (Bureau Number 157188) spent much of its career flying with HA(L)-5, which it joined upon the squadron’s establishment at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pt. Mugu, California. During its service in HAL-5, a Naval Air Reserve squadron, it flew support of SOF missions, including insertion and extraction of SEAL teams, and interestingly bears the scars of hits by ground fire during an airborne firing exercise at San Clemente Island off the coast of California.

In 1988, seeking to commemorate the service of the HA(L)-3 Seawolves, the museum sought to add a Huey to the collection. Arrangements were made to receive an aircraft due to be stricken from HA(L)-5 and under the supervision of Petty Officer Bill Russell, a veteran of service in HA(L)-3 in Vietnam, the HH-1K was painted in the markings of the Seawolves in Vietnam. On April 17, 1989, the HH-1K was flight delivered to the museum. 

Museum's HH-1K After Arrival

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The museum's HH-1K pictured shortly after being flight delivered by its last squadron, HA(L)-5, in 1989.