The museum’s UH-1B, U.S. Army serial number 62-2084, civilian registration N832M, has been restored to its original combat configuration and is painted to represent the 118th Assault Helicopter Company “Thunderbirds,” Third Platoon “bandits,” Bien Hoa, Vietnam, 1965. This aircraft flew with the U.S. Army from 1963-1984. In 1964, it deployed to Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division from Ft. Campbell, Ky.
Prior to coming to the museum, this helicopter flew with the Lee County Mosquito Abatement, Lee County, Florida, spraying insecticide. This Huey sat dormant for 8 years in Florida before coming to California and being restored in 2003, and 14 bullet hole patches were discovered during the restoration.
The aggressive restoration was accomplished by both museum personnel and some dedicated volunteers. Two of the volunteers were former U.S. Army Huey crewman that served in Vietnam. Helping to make this Huey come to life was a memorable experience for both them and the museum.
Day one-the “Old Yellar” color was from its life as a skeeter sprayer. It had some modifications to be dealt with, such as different skids to counter the weight of an added spray tank. It had been stripped of all military equipment. All of the wiring was replaced as well as the hydraulics, instruments, rotor blades and plexiglass. The entire interior was repainted to military specs, rear web seats were added, as well as military style radios.