This helicopter has seen more combat missions and gunfire than most aircraft in the military's aviation history. Check out his store from David Klugh with KIMA 29.

YAKIMA -- One of the most famous soldiers in American military history is retiring after 50 years of service.
His name is Huey and he saved the lives of tens of thousands of his fellow army soldiers.
Huey -- as you may have guessed -- is not man but machine.
A helicopter that every soldier who flew it or flew in it knew its value as a friend.
We attended a retirement party at the Yakima Training Center.

You really only need to hear the signature sound of twin rotors slapping the air to know what's coming. And if you've been around for more than a couple decades... the word "Huey" has meaning.  During this retirement party, the word Huey took one step closer toward the archives of the American military.

The official retirement of a military helicopter may not seem liker a big deal, until you understand the significance of this one. The UH1 Huey has been a recognized symbol of the American military for half a century. 16,000 of these were built. 40 countries bought them and have been flying them. Rivet to rivet, it is unquestionably the most successful military aircraft in aviation history."

Successful in military terms means it kept pilots like Colonel, Bruce Crandall alive.

"I led 756 combat missions in the lead helicopter and that thing brought me home everytime. It had the ability to take a hell of a lot of gunfire."

The Huey was tough, hard to shoot down. And for the soldiers here at this farewell ceremony, hard to let go of.

Major George Johnson commands the Air Ambulance Detachment here. "Whenever you say helicopter, the first thing that pops into everybody's mind is UH1. It's been the dream of my life to actually fly this aircraft for the last several years and it's just been fantastic."

Yakima's Army Air Ambulance Detachment wants to give Crandall one last ride in the ship he helped make famous.

"You can't help but fall in love with something that's, that's mechanical, but it's personal. My wife understood that I had a second lover that was the Huey."

And this old Colonel certainly hasn't lost his pilot's sense of humor.

I asked the Colonel how he liked his final ride. "How was it? Do I look like I just had sex," he said.

For both the Army and some of it's oldest and best pilots, you can retire the Huey, but you can never replace what it meant to thousands of American soldiers.

Once the Yakima Training Center's Huey is gone, only two of these helicopters will remain in service with the U-S Army at a base in the Southeast. Within a couple years, Huey will only be a part of military history for the Army. For the Video click here to visit

More From 92.9 The Bull