'Take Me Home Huey' art exhibit on display at Henry Ford Museum

Posted at 5:49 PM, Jun 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-29 17:49:55-04

The iconic U.S. Army Huey helicopter is a symbol associated with the Vietnam War.

A project called "Take Me Home Huey" is a traveling art exhibit using an actual Huey that was shot down in Vietnam in 1969.

The helicopter is on display at the Henry Ford Museum. The Huey served as an medivac during the Vietnam War.

A contemporary artist who is a Vietnam veteran found it in an aircraft boneyard and brought it back to life using art.

But, this represents a dark time for other Vietnam veterans - some get choked up looking at it.

"Emotion," Bill Sturgeon said. "Can't help it. I left Vietnam in 1970, from 1968-70, and it still comes up and haunts me every so often."

Sturgeon has a hard time looking at the Huey helicopter, as it reminds him of a difficult time in his past.

"We flew a lot in combat with that and also put a lot of our dead in those type of choppers."

The traveling art exhibit makes a stop at the Henry Ford Museum.

It is a project to raise money and awareness for veterans who suffer from PTSD.

The concept of the paintings comes from Contemporary artist Steve Maloney - who is a Vietnam Veteran.

"Honor those vets who never got a welcome home," Maloney explained. "A lot of these guys they never talk about their war experiences and now they are standing there with their grandchild or even their wife or daughter and they have a chance to reflect. It's been pretty emotional for some of these soldiers to come back but I think it's healing."

The Huey was used for medical rescues until it was shot down in 1969, killing the crew chief and medic.

Three vets on the aircraft survived. Maloney said, "Three weeks ago, we found the pilot that we've been looking for three years."

Museum officials say it's fitting to display the Huey.

Jim Johnson from Henry Ford Museum added, "We have a really broad collection here and it deals with the American experience through time."

The artist hopes the helicopter serves as a reminder for those who lost their lives.

Sturgeon explained, "I'm very happy that there is some recognition for the veteran's that are here and also the remembrance of the ones who didn't make it."

The helicopter is on display until July 5th and it free to check it out.