A military surplus H-34 helicopter has been acquired by a group of veterans in Northern Idaho, according to a feature on the Navy Times. The helicopter is intended to be used as a Vietnam War memorial in Sandpoint, Idaho.
Former military pilot Bill Collier shared that it would “be really cool to drag this thing through town for the Fourth of July parade,” in a story published on Saturday on the Bonner Counter Daily Bee.
The possible locations where the helicopter may be displayed include the Memorial Park, or the VFW. H-34 helicopters were used for troop transportation, medical evacuation and reconnaissance during the Vietnam War.
The 36-foot long helicopter was purchased for $1,000, according to Collier. The inclusion of extra parts, however, increased the price to $5,000; another $5,000 will be spent towards transporting the helicopter from Everett, Washington, to Sandpoint. The cost of acquisition, as well as moving expenses, is being covered by donations.
Collier shared that the helicopter may be used as a recruiting tool for their organization, or as a fund-raising tool. He shared further: “I received an email from a pilot friend of mine in Texas about a bunch of these helicopters available for purchase… He said that the ones not sold by the end of the month would be shredded. I just sent out an email, and the money started rolling in… It was amazing.”
One such donation came from an anonymous donor they are calling “Charlie,” who reportedly walked into a local VFW office, asked how much money was needed to buy the helicopter, and came back three hours later with seven $100 bills.