A helicopter that was shot down in combat during the Vietnam War, and then rehabbed, will be placed in a new memorial in Tonawanda, NY thanks to the efforts of Chapter 77 .
Local veterans secured the AH-1 Cobra because it symbolizes healing and teaching about the past. According to Chapter 77 leadership, it represents something that was damaged in Vietnam, recovered, and has renewed purpose, like some of its members.
The helicopter, described as a ‘workhorse’, was often used in close combat to assist troops. In 1967, the Cobra was shot down in Vietnam and it was repaired to serve again with the Air National Guard’s aviation unit in Rochester. Afterwards, the helicopter sat in storage for several years.
The helicopter is also revered as something of a local hero. The AH-1 Cobra was originally manufactured in New York by Bell Aerospace subsidiary Bell Helicopter, and with the new memorial currently under construction the combat helicopter will finally retire from service to the state in which it originated.
The helicopter will be displayed in the City of Tonawanda’s Veterans Park in New York. Tonawanda also has World War II jet.
The AH-1 Cobra helicopter never received a formal name, but will be called ‘Remembering Vietnam’.