Ride in a Vietnam War-era Huey when Moving Wall comes to Columbus

Visitors of the Moving Wall exhibit this week at the Bartholomew County 4-H Fairgrounds will have a chance to hop aboard a piece of history.

A Huey helicopter that was used during the Vietnam War will be on display Friday and Saturday beginning at 8 a.m. and will be available for for visitors to take rides, said Jim Ogilvie, a local helicopter pilot.

Ogilvie, a retired captain and master aviator in the U.S. Army, said the 15-minute rides will be available until 5 p.m., but may be extended if demand warrants.

The 1968 helicopter was in Vietnam for three years and is owned by the Indiana Search and Rescue Association, a non-profit organization, Ogilvie said. The helicopter’s appearance is part of the visit involving the Moving Wall, a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, which will be on display starting Thursday until 10 a.m. Monday.

World War II and Korean War veterans can fly on the helicopter for free, while Vietnam veterans can pay a $75 membership fee, which gets them a club membership to the search and rescue association and a free helicopter ride. Other individuals will be able to ride in the helicopter by paying a $100 fee for a club membership and a free helicopter ride, Ogilvie said.

For people who would rather not take a helicopter ride, the aircraft will be available for the public to climb into for photo opportunities. The helicopter, which is stored at the Indianapolis Metropolitan Airport in Fishers, has the ability to hold up to eight passengers at a time, in addition to the pilot and crew members.

The aircraft being shown at the fairgrounds is one of four Hueys the association owns.

“No other helicopter sounds like it,” Ogilvie said.

Susan Thayer Fye, a member of the Moving Wall Committee with American Legion Post 24 in Columbus, said she is looking forward to a good turnout for the exhibit and the helicopter’s appearance. She added that she hopes the overall experience will serve as a history lesson for visitors, especially children.

Organizers have estimated that as many as 100,000 visitors may take part in this week’s experience.

“This will certainly be the most significant event in Bartholomew County this year,” Thayer Fye said.

Day-by-day schedules

6 p.m. Thursday: Special music by Southern Indiana Pipes & Drums, national anthem by Philharmonic Youth Orchestra Ensemble, remarks by Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop, benediction by retired minister Ed Boone, three-volley salute and taps by American Legion Post 24 color guard.

Noon Friday: Special music by Southern Indiana Pipes & Drums, national anthem by Rich Coffey, invocation by Brian Graves of Garden City Christian Church, remarks by Brig. Gen. Ronald A. Westfall, taps by Caleb Bray.

6 p.m. Friday: Special music by Southern Indiana Pipes & Drums, national anthem by Philharmonic Youth Orchestra Ensemble, remarks by Lt. Col. Cathleen A. Van Bree, benediction by military chaplain Reeves Flint, taps by American Legion Post 24 color guard.

Noon Saturday: Special music by Southern Indiana Pipes & Drums, national anthem by John Tasca, invocation by John Marquis of Central Heights Church of God, remarks by Col. Roger D. Peterman (retired), taps by Caleb Bray.

6 p.m. Saturday: Special music by Southern Indiana Pipes & Drums, national anthem by Rich Coffey, remarks by Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger (retired), benediction by John Sichting of New Hope Christian Church, taps by Caleb Bray.

Noon July 30: Special music by Southern Indiana Pipes & Drums, national anthem by Rich Coffey, invocation by retired minister Jerry Curry, remarks by Lt. Col. Kenny Freeman (retired), taps by Caleb Bray.

6 p.m. July 30: Special music by Southern Indiana Pipes & Drums, national anthem by Rich Coffey, remarks by Staff Sgt. Michael Thompson, benediction by Dan Cash of First Baptist Church, three-volley salute and taps by American Legion Post 24 color guard

Information on helicopter rides

Event info: Rides on a Huey helicopter will be available beginning at 8 a.m. and will continue based on demand Friday and Saturday at the Moving Wall exhibit at the Bartholomew County 4-H Fairgrounds, 750 W. County Road 200S, Columbus.

Details: World War II and Korean War veterans can fly for free. Vietnam veterans will be required to pay a $75 membership fee, which gets them a membership to the Indiana Search and Rescue Association and a free helicopter ride.

Other individuals will be able to ride in the helicopter by paying a $100 fee for a membership and a free helicopter ride.

Author photo
Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com