In the episode there is big news for Vietnam helicopter pilots. Back in episode 713 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast the possibility of a monument for Vietnam helicopter pilots was covered. The efforts of Representative Mark Amodei of Nevada were discussed. He was spearheading an effort to get Congressional approval for a monument honoring Vietnam helicopter pilots.
After a three year effort it has finally happened. Congress has given its approval for the monument. That momentous event was featured in a story from The Military Times titled: Monument honoring Vietnam helicopter crews approved for Arlington Cemetery that was submitted by: Charlsy Panzino. Panzino reported that the Vietnam Helicopter Crew Monument Act was passed in March. Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, introduced the bipartisan legislation. Companion legislation was introduced on the House side by Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev.
Proposals for the monument were first made back in April 2014 by retired Air Force Lt. Col. Bob Hesselbein, who flew AH-1 Cobra gunships in Vietnam. He is the legacy committee chairman of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association. The initial request by the pilots association was turned down by then Army Secretary John McHugh. He cited this as the basis for his decision to turn down the request: “The prime directive for the cemetery is to do everything it can not to initiate an action that would displace an otherwise-eligible veteran.”
Not being the sort to back down from a challenge, the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association members decided to make the monument happen despite the McHugh refusal. They got busy seeking action from Congress and they started a nationwide publicity campaign to garner support from the community. That effort resulted in passage of the Vietnam Helicopter Crew Monument Act by Congress.
This was a tremendous accomplishment by the VHPA. They should be commended and supported. They are funding the entire cost of the monument.
To make a donation to the VHPA for the monument: