This past weekend, Patriots Point received a Vietnam-era 1967 Marine Corps CH-46D helicopter as is the newest addition to Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum’s Vietnam Naval Support Base exhibit. The addition of this aircraft is part of the expansion and revitalization of the newly announced Vietnam Experience Exhibit, beginning construction in June.
The CH-46D has been loaned through the Federal U.S. Navy museum, the National Naval Aviation Museum, located in Pensacola, FL. The helicopter is coming out of service from the Marine Corps Air Station New River in North Carolina. Patriots Point acquired the CH-46D by request, and was recently notified it was available for loan.
The addition of the CH-46D helicopter will be one of many new exciting artifacts Patriots Point will employ with the development of its new three acre Vietnam Experience Exhibit. This new exhibit will not only include more artifacts and aircraft, but many interactive components that will make the exhibit come to life for visitors. The Museum is also planning a number of living history events in the exhibit with veterans and reenactors.
“We are always honored to obtain new artifacts, but the acquisition of the CH-46 is particularly exciting as it adds another new element to the expansion of the Vietnam Naval Support Base,” said Mac Burdette, Executive Director of Patriots Point. “It was a very important aircraft in Vietnam and it will be an asset in telling the unique stories of this war, especially from the Marine Corps. We have dozens of Vietnam veteran pilots and crew members who flew in this type of helicopter in Vietnam. They will be the real attraction.”
The Boeing CH-46 Sea Knight is a tandem-rotor twin-turbine helicopter that first took flight during the Vietnam War. The first of its kind was delivered in 1964 to the U.S. Marine Corps and began carrying troops and cargo between land and U.S. Navy ships in 1965. CH-46 was an important USMC aircraft that aided in the evacuation of U.S. personnel from South Vietnam in 1975. Patriots Point is acquiring a CH-46D model. It is a large aircraft, able to carry up to 23,000 pounds or 25 men, and could reach up to 165 miles per hour, and has only recently been phased out of service. The CH-46D Patriots Point is specifically receiving will carry the markings of HMM-164, which was the first squadron to have received these markings in Vietnam, and it was the last Marine Squadron to operate in during the war.
The Vietnam Experience Exhibit will immerse guests into what it was like to live in these support camps during the war. The expansions are projected to include foxholes, sounds of commanding officers, illusions of complete seclusion, and interactive artifacts. Construction on the Vietnam Experience Exhibit will begin as soon as this June and it is expected to be largely completed by November 2014, in time for Veterans Day. You can find more information about this expansion here.