At a ‘sundown ceremony’ on August 28, the U.S. Marine Corps officially retired its UH-1N fleet after over 40 years of service. The ceremony was held at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base, New Orleans. The honor of presenting the aircraft during the ceremony was given to Marine Light Attack Squadron 773, Detachment A, Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 49.
Manufactured by Bell Helicopter, the first of the UH-1Ns began arriving into Navy and USMC units in 1971. Beginning its operational service life during the Vietnam War, it flew in Grenada, the Gulf, Iraq, among others, finally underlining its combat career in Afghanistan during 2010.
A UH-1N Huey helicopter (left) makes way for a UH-1Y Venom. The aircraft belong to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 773, Marine Aircraft Group 49. Photo courtesy USMC
The aircraft type has seen numbers upgrades during its service life but is now being replaced by a much more capable, four-bladed main rotor equipped UH-1Y Venom with shares 84 percent commonality on major components with the USMC’s other modern replacement, the AH-1Z attack helicopter. Originally, the UH-1Y was to be remanufactured from UH-1N airframes, but in April 2005, approval was granted to build them as new helicopters.
"The UH-1N is American history; it's a touch tone aircraft of combat for a full generation," concluded Col. Philip M. Pastino, commanding officer of MAG-49.