Military display in Lynchburg serves as fundraiser to build Vietnam War museum

Organizers say the museum in Nelson County would bring a hands-on experience

One veterans group is on a mission to honor those who served in the Vietnam War.

LYNCHBURG, Va. – It was something you don’t see every day on the streets of Downtown Lynchburg.

A 1964 Huey helicopter from the Vietnam War was on display Friday at Monument Terrace.

Henry Wyatt is familiar with the aircraft because he flew one. The pilot recalled dropping troops off in Vietnam, then as he took off, his helicopter was shot down.

“[We were] about 10 feet up in the air when a guy popped up and put a 30-round magazine from one end of the helicopter through the end. I got shrapnel in the backs of my legs,” said Wyatt.

The helicopter served as a fundraiser at the weekly Monument Terrace Troop Rally, which honors service members past and present.

The Vietnam War and Foreign Conflicts Foundation is on a mission to raise one million dollars to build a museum in Nelson County.

Larry Saunders, vice chairman of the foundation, said the museum would bring a hands-on experience.

“You’ll be to get in [the military vehicles], you’ll be able to touch them. We want adults and children alike to be able to get in a helicopter, pick up a firearm. We want people to understand what the Vietnam War was about,” said Saunders.

The local Purple Heart Chapter donated to the cause. Steve Bozeman presented Saunders with a check for $1,000.

Bozeman served as a Marine Corps. pilot in Vietnam and earned a Purple Heart after his helicopter was shot down.

He said the equipment is more than history -- it’s a lifesaver.

“A lot of Vietnam warriors were saved by these helicopters. We went in, got shot at, we picked them up, took them back to the medical station to get treated. So, a lot of lives were saved because of these helicopters,” said Bozeman.

The hope is to honor military members of the past and teach history to future generations.

About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.