SANDPOINT – A group of veterans in North Idaho has purchased a military surplus H-34 helicopter they hope to display in Sandpoint as a Vietnam War memorial.
“It will be really cool to drag this thing through town for the Fourth of July parade,” former military pilot Bill Collier said Saturday.
He said the group was considering where to display the helicopter, with possible locations being Memorial Park or the VFW Hall. The H-34 helicopters during the war were used for troop transportation, medical evacuation and reconnaissance.
Collier said the 36-foot-long helicopter cost $1,000, but extra parts pushed the price to about $5,000. He said it will cost another $5,000 to get the helicopter from Everett to Sandpoint. Donations are paying for the helicopter and its moving costs.
It’s also been a bit of a rescue mission for Collier.
“I received an email from a pilot friend of mine in Texas about a bunch of these helicopters available for purchase,” Collier said. “He said that the ones not sold by the end of the month would be shredded.”
So Collier started asking for donations. “I just sent out an email, and the money started rolling in,” he said. “It was amazing.”