(NSI News Source Info) April 6, 2009: The US Navy has closed a chapter in its rotary-wing history with the retirement of the last H-1 Hueys in naval service. At a special ceremony at NAS Fallon, Nevada on April 3, the base's Search and Rescue team, known as the Longhorns, flew one final flight in one of their last two HH-1 Hueys. The unit will continue its search and rescue commitment with the H-60 Seahawk. The Bell Helicopter UH-1 Iroquois, commonly (or officially in the U.S. Marine Corps) known as the "Huey", is a multipurpose military helicopter, famous for its use in the Vietnam War. The UH-1 was developed from 1955 US Army trials with the Bell Model 204. The initial designation of HU-1 (helicopter utility) led to its nickname, Huey. The aircraft was first used by the military in 1959 and went into tri-service production in 1962 as the UH-1. The last were produced in 1976 with more than 16,000 made in total, of which about 7,000 saw use during the Vietnam War. In Vietnam, 2,202 Huey pilots were killed and approximately 2,500 aircraft were lost, roughly half to combat and the rest to operational accidents. Fallon was the last bastion of the HH-1 in US Navy service. The type operated from the base for 36 years primarily providing SAR for military operations in Northwest Nevada, specifically, NAS Fallon and the enormous ranges employed by the base for training aircrews.The unit also had a secondary responsibility of providing helicopter SAR services to civilian agencies, but only when the service does not interfere with the unit's primary mission. In 2000, the Longhorns had one of their busiest years taking part in 26 civilian rescues ranging from a lost 60-year-old hiker with a broken femur to a 22-year-old snowboarder who fell 800 feet down a crevasse. One of the last two Hueys will be put on display at NAS Fallon, the other used as a training tool in Florida. The H-1 served the Navy for 43 years, and HH-1s have served on numerous Search and Rescue units at Naval bases across the United States and on Antarctic operations, adopting a bright dayglo orange scheme and flying wiht United States Navy Antarctic Development Squadron Six (VXE-6).
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