Four Vietnam-Era Helicopters Donated to Vietnam Center at Texas Tech University

Written by Michael Castellon

Date: Jan. 18, 2006
CONTACT: Michael Castellon,

LUBBOCK – After serving valiantly in combat in Southeast Asia almost 40 years ago, several refurbished U.S. Army helicopters will now call Texas Tech home and serve as storytellers of their illustrious history.

Vietnam Center officials on Wednesday announced the gift of four refurbished Vietnam-era helicopters from Vietnam veteran and distinguished author Chester “Chuck” Carlock of Fort Worth.

The donation includes an AH-1 Cobra Gunship, an OH-58 observation helicopter, a TH-55 training helicopter and UH-1 Huey multipurpose helicopter.

Deputy Director of the Vietnam Center Steve Maxner met Carlock at a reunion of the 71st Assault Helicopter Company in Las Vegas in 2000. Carlock, a collector and exhibitor of Vietnam-era aircraft and historical artifacts, successfully refurbished the helicopters and designed and built four special trailers that were used to transport the aircraft to Lubbock.

“This generous gift promises to be a landmark for future generations studying the Vietnam War,” Maxner said. “These artifacts tell a very unique story and will be studied by students and scholars for years to come.”

Maxner, along with Carlock and others, transported the helicopters from Fort Worth to Memorial Circle at Texas Tech, where a welcoming ceremony was held.

Carlock served in Vietnam as a Huey gunship pilot and is author of the book, “Firebirds,” an autobiographical account of his service in Vietnam.

The aircraft will be stored off campus until they can be displayed in the Vietnam Center Museum and Archive building planned for Texas Tech University. This on-campus facility, when funded and built, will be the premiere facility of its kind in the nation. It is anticipated that it will attract additional archival collections and significant artifacts, such as the ones received Wednesday.

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CONTACT: Stephen Maxner, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Center at Texas Tech,, or (806) 742-9010.