Some 40 Vietnam Dustoff Association crewmembers who flew UH1 “Huey” medivac helicopters in Vietnam will be welcomed as brothers by Kent County Chapter 850, Vietnam Veterans of America, during their annual reunion in Dover between September 20 – 26.
The highly-decorated aviators were part of a 10-year operation credited with saving 900,000 lives during the Vietnam War, sometimes at the cost of their own.
The four-man Dustoff crews flew day and night, in all weather, in mountains and valleys, often under fire. They had a casualty rate greater than 30 percent with 121 killed and 545 wounded, and 199 helicopters lost. Dustoff 90 and its crew are still listed as Missing In Action. Visit When I Have Your Wounded – YouTube for the Dustoff story.
Activities will include a trip to the Vietnam Wall in D.C. and to Ft. Miles in Lewes along with a guided tour of the AMC Museum at Dover AFB and visits to Dover businesses.
But the most significant events will be a September 22 dinner at Dover’s Modern Maturity Center to honor them, followed by a 10 a.m. ceremony on September 25 at Kent County Veterans Memorial Park in Dover where more than 100 bricks will be dedicated in honor of Dustoff crews, including those lost in action. The bricks will create a Walk of Honor placed under the Huey in the park.
The Vietnam Dustoff Association, aka “Rusty Eagles,” originally based in California, have traveled the nation since 2003 for their reunions. They visited Dover in 2017 and were so impressed by their reception by local, county and state organizations that they plan to make Dover their official home base this September.
“These guys are the heroes who saved my life in Vietnam,” said twice-wounded Joe Startt, Chapter 850 president, “and we are honored to embrace them again.”
A limited number of dinner tickets are available to the public at $40 on a first-come-first-served basis. Contact Woody Postle at 302-632-5284 or firstname.lastname@example.org, for tickets and to order a roast beef or stuffed chicken dinner.