Why EMU? - EMU INC. derives its name from the radio call sign of a unique unit in Army aviation history, the 135th Assault Helicopter Company. The 135th was a typical Vietnam era Assault Helicopter Company with the major exception that it was composed of both U.S. Army and Royal Australian Navy personnel. Because of this unique composition, the 135th was considered an Experimental Military Unit, hence its call sign E.M.U. or EMU."
Several hundred people turned out to watch EMU 309’s historic landing aboard the battleship USS Iowa. Under overcast skies, the unmistakable sound of a Huey in flight could be heard approaching from a great distance, followed by the first landing of a helicopter of any type on a battleship in over 20 years. As the picture perfect landing was safely completed by pilots Croy Pelletier and Randy Parent and the rest of the crew of 309, the cheers of the crowd could be heard all over the grand old battleship. The USS Iowa has been under renovation as a floating museum at the Port of Richmond in Richmond, CA for the past two years. Our landing, on Sunday, May 13 2012, was the last day the ship was open to the public before being towed to her permanent home in San Pedro, CA. For more information on the USS Iowa go to www.pacificbattleship.com.
A flying museum dedicated to preserving the history of assault helicopter units in Vietnam.The featured aircraft - the Bell UH-1H Iroquois - is the main reason Vietnam is often referred to as the "helicopter war." And this rag-tag group of Bay Area guys is trying to preserve the unique experience of flying one in combat in America's most lesson-worthy military entanglement. How do they do that?
Founder Geoff Carr has sunk a small fortune into acquiring and restoring to combat specs this aircraft, and it serves as a living, flying museum. From its homebase at Bud Field Aviation in Hayward, CA, they buzz veterans events and wow anyone within earshot on the ground. (The Huey makes a distinctive whop-whop-whop that almost anyone can recognize.)
What makes this group truly special, though, are the guys themselves. Some served in Vietnam, some are sons of those who served, and some never served at all. But they're all in love with this Huey and what it represents. (Frankly, after spending a day in the sky with it, so am I.)
This is a war machine, however. The guys who caretake it struggle with the conflict between their love for the aircraft and their nuanced views of war itself, which are very, well, Bay Area. As I learn more about them for a longer-form web doc, I can appreciate the vets' desire to honor their wartime experiences while refusing to deny their complicated feelings about the politics that forced them into adventures both righteous and heinous.
Help preserve the history
of the Vietnam Assault Helicopter Units.
In addition to educating the public, we seek to honor all Vietnam helicopter veterans through support and tribute.
We will be adding more content, videos and pages in the near future. Keep coming back to view our progress and consider becoming a member. You will not only support our efforts, but will be kept informed of all EMU, Inc. news.