Vietnam vets ride once more in a Huey helicopter and receive respect, closure


Vietnam vets ride once more in a Huey Helicopter and receive respect, closure

Strap in.  Pull pitch. And take your heart for a ride…

Vietnam vets, families of fallen soldiers and others will relive their wartime experiences and receive both respect and closure when they ride once again in a Huey helicopter, an icon of the Vietnam war.

Military Channel will bring viewers the world television premiere of award-winning Vietnam documentary IN THE SHADOW OF THE BLADE, which follows the journey of restored Huey helicopter 091 into the backyards of Vietnam veterans and their families as a catalyst to tell their untold stories.  An icon of the Vietnam War, the UH-1 Huey helicopter was a lifeline for combat troops, providing transportation, supplies and medical evacuation.  More than 7,000 Hueys flew in Vietnam and nearly half were destroyed.  IN THE SHADOW OF THE BLADE premieres on Thursday, February 10, 8-10 PM (ET/PT).

IN THE SHADOW OF THE BLADE traveled 10,000 miles across America, filming hundreds of veterans, representatives from each branch of the armed forces, as they reunited with the symbolic helicopter, taking them back into the skies for a flight of peace.  The healing result has been described by veterans as a sacred mission and the most important thing to happen to Vietnam veterans since the dedication of The Wall.  IN THE SHADOW OF THE BLADE visited eight states and made more than 42 landings during production, gathering more than 200 hours of footage.


Among the numerous people who tell their moving stories in the documentary are a Vietnamese baby girl (now an adult) whose mother was killed and who was adopted by American parents; a vet who won a Silver Star for trying to save another soldier’s life; and a woman whose father was killed in Vietnam.  Veterans of all branches of service, all jobs and all ethnicities were interviewed, including helicopter crewmembers, infantry soldiers, nurses, Red Cross and USO civilians and a Vietnamese pilot who is now an American citizen.  Two former prisoners of war are interviewed in the program.

IN THE SHADOW OF THE BLADE won Best of Show and Gold Documentary at the 2004

WorldFest International Film Festival, the Vietnam Veterans of America President’s Award for Outstanding Documentary Film and the endorsements of many veterans’ organizations.  The aircraft used in the film is now on permanent display in the Smithsonian Museum of American History exhibit Price of Freedom: Americans at War.

IN THE SHADOW OF THE BLADE was produced for the Military Channel by Patrick and Cheryl Fries of Austin, Texas’ Arrowhead Film & Video.  Bill Howard is executive producer for the Military Channel.

Discovery Networks, U.S., a unit of Discovery Communications, Inc., operates and manages the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, the Travel Channel, Discovery Health Channel, Discovery HD Theater, Discovery Kids Channel, Discovery Times Channel, The Science Channel, the Military Channel, Discovery Home Channel, Discovery en Español and FitTV.  The unit also distributes BBC AMERICA.



Fact SheetHuey Helicopter


The UH-1 Huey helicopter was used in Vietnam by all branches of service. According to Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association statistics, 7,013 Hueys flew in Vietnam and nearly half3,305were destroyed.


For ground troops, the UH-1 was a lifeline that took them into and out of battle and brought supplies and medical evacuation.


In Vietnam, more than 900,000 wounded were medically evacuated by Huey helicopters. As a result, 98% of wounded who survived the first 24 hours lived to return homea lifesaving rate previously unknown in war.


The UH-1’s 48-foot rotor blade makes a distinctively loud WHOP WHOP WHOP sound, often described by veterans as the sound of freedom.


The Huey used in the documentary film is tail number 65-00091, or 091, an aircraft that served in the 173rd Assault Helicopter Company, The Robin Hoods, in Vietnam. It was damaged by enemy fire three times in 1966-67. Robin Hood veterans repainted the restored aircraft’s distinctive nose art during the film production. Huey “091” is on permanent display in the Smithsonian Museum of American History exhibit Americans at War: The Price of Freedom.


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