Episode 970 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a USMC Vietnam Veteran who is doing something very special. Bob Fritzler, 82, lives in Keenesburg, Colorado which is about 30 miles northeast of Denver. There was a story about him and his project on WUSA Channel 9 NBC News titled: Veteran restoring Vietnam-era helicopter to hopefully donate to the Smithsonian. The story was submitted by Dan Grossman of WUSA.
According to Grossman’s story, Bob Fritzler has done the impossible. He has acquired the same helicopter he flew in Vietnam and secured it on his farm at Keenesburg. In 1962 He was a Marine aviator flying a H-34 Choctaw helicopter in Vietnam to support the South Vietnamese military as they battled the Viet Cong forces. At first he operated down south below Saigon then his unit relocated up to the DaNang area.
After his retirement from the airlines he took up the avocation of restoring helicopters. Fritzler came across an H-34 he had flown in Vietnam while attending a convention in Fort Worth, Texas. His records indicated he had flown eight combat missions in the H-34 he discovered at the convention. Four years and $64,000 later he is still putting in five hours a day restoring the helicopter that has a special connection to his memories of his timed in Vietnam.
Fritzler set up USMC Shufly Helicopter Flight Association, Inc. to manage the restoration of his U.S. Marine Corps Sikorsky H-34 Helicopter, flown in Operation SHUFLY. He launched this endeavor in 2012 in honor of the 50th anniversary of Operation SHUFLY, the first U.S. Marine Corps engagement in combat operations leading to the Vietnam War.
CLICK HERE for more information about Bob’s project.
CLICK HERE to make donation and help Bob realize his dream of restoring the H-34 Choctaw Helicopter he flew in Vietnam back in 1962.