The North Carolina Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association (NCVHPA) was founded in 1989. The Association's goals are "... to promote and perpetuate the bonds of brotherhood that bind a group of men who have shared and survived an experience fraught with danger yet filled with the essence of pride and satisfaction." The NCVHPA members endeavor to represent the Vietnam helicopter pilots in an atmosphere of decorum that focuses a light of respect and admiration upon all veterans.
The NCVHPA vision is simply to establish a group of North Carolina veterans who flew helicopters in Vietnam, acquire a few old Vietnam era helicopters destined for the scrap heap, restore them, mount them on trailers, and combine them with the dialogue of the men who flew them. All members have been verified as Vietnam era helicopter pilots, having thousands of combined combat flying hours. Major commendations awarded these pilots are: Silver Stars, Bronze Stars with V for valor, Distinguished Flying Crosses, Air Medals and Purple Hearts, and numerous other awards, the greatest being the honor of serving America and coming home to make contributions to our great Nation. Being the fortunate ones who made it home, we have strived over the past 25 years to bring honor to all our brothers and sisters who served in Vietnam, as well as to those who have served and continue to serve today.
We present a part of living history to the public and to schools. The display consists of an OH-6; OH-58; a Charlie model, Cobra, and Mike-model gunships; Evacuation and H-model lift ships. The aircraft are as they would have been flown in Vietnam and came directly from the military. All the Association members were helicopter pilots in Vietnam, instilling a personal touch to the display. The aircraft and pilots have received overwhelming approval at every event in which they have participated. This display provides the public an opportunity to view the evolution of the helicopter gunship at the only location in the United States outside of the Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker, Alabama.
Our efforts with the NCVHPA display are to bring a part of history to the public. We are achieving our goal in that young and old alike seem drawn to our display. People are able to climb into the ships, press the flesh and talk with the people who were there and had the experiences, taking advantage of an opportunity that later generations will only read about. We have educated many, helped recruit a new generation of proud veterans, and brought some understanding of a very difficult time for our Nation as well as to those who wore its uniform.
The Association was honored to have represented Vietnam veterans in three Presidential Inaugural Parades. Helicopters have been brought to over 200,000 students in schools in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, and Florida (at no cost to the public) for educational programs. In addition, the NCVHPA has worked with Drug prevention and Summer Youth Programs. Other events have included: Azalea Festival Parades in Wilmington, NC; support for the Vietnam memorial moving walls; participation with Lenovo and their care package program for active duty troops; aiding Kangaroo Express with their Wounded Warrior Support Program; and Bank of America with their support of service personnel. NCVHPA men and helicopters have also appeared in numerous Veterans Day and Memorial Day events throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Washington, DC. We have supported Relay for Life, At-Risk Boys Camp, Boy Scout Jamborees, and the USO of North Carolina. In addition, we currently support Golden Corral's fundraising for Camp Corral. For more information, see www.campcorral.org.
These men and aircraft have supported church programs on Veterans Day, T.D. Jakes ministries at a Crusade for Men, and the Hospice Balloon Festival in Burlington NC; The NCVHPA has participated in July 4th events in Philadelphia, PA; Orlando, FL; Huntsville, AL; and Washington, DC. In addition, when asked, we have been a part of memorial service for vets and veteran internments.
The Association is supported 98 percent by its members. No state or federal funds have been granted. The Association will accept tax-deductible donations of which 100 percent will be used to transport and maintain the helicopters. The Association has been an incorporated 501(c) (3) association since 1989.
"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.
For he today that sheds his blood with me,
Shall be my brother..."
"When once you have tested flight, you will forever
walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward for there
you have been, and there you will always long to return."
Leonardo da Vinci
Ed Hughes, President
Jerald Phelps, Vice President
Bob Inglis, Secretary
Jerry Seago, Helicopter Procurement and Events Coordinator
2822 Franklin Road
Hillsborough, NC 27278
Carl Seager, Treasurer
1091 Boulder Road
Greensboro, NC 27409