Sunday, 23 September 2007

Goodbye Huey

The last of the UH – 1H choppers (Hueys) that have provided sterling service in our defence forces (first with the RAAF and then in Army Aviation) were pensioned off last week.

Finally, the “Grandfathers Axe” strategy has run its course.

I have vivid memories of leaping in and out of these things as a rifleman in 7RAR in Vietnam in 1970. Nothing takes me back to that experience more effectively than the “wocka wocka” sound of the two-blade rotor.

I remember the rush of wind in my face, laced with a whiff of Avtur, generated by 100 knots plus of forward momentum. I remember the crewie’s M-60s opening up during a “hot” insertion, and scaring the living daylights out of me because we hadn’t been briefed about this possibility.

It also beat walking in the heat with a load of gear and the ever present possibility of standing on a mine or running into a bunker system.

I’ll miss the occasional training fly-overs here in Toowoomba (from Oakey base) and the annual ceremonial activity on Anzac Day.

For those (like me) who want to wallow in the nostalgia, go to –

and download the MP3.

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