The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


March 29, 2014

Crew of 'Wendy' reunites

100 gather to view helicopter, remember fallen

NEW BERLIN — NEW BERLIN — The UH-1 Huey helicopter has sat proudly aside Benfer-Miller American Legion Post 957 in New Berlin for about 20 years, a Vietnam War-era machine requisitioned for a display out front.

For Bill Case, of the San Francisco area, helicopter No. 526 was more than a display. Case was crew chief for “Wendy,” as the helicopter was named, from 1970-72 during his service in Da Nang.

An online database search led Case back to Wendy, and on Saturday, he and other crew members watched as she was rededicated in a tribute to Vietnam Veterans Day at the legion.

It was part of a moving ceremony marked with many tears and unmarred by the cold afternoon rain, a tribute to all Vietnam veterans, living and fallen, in front of about 100 people.

“When I first moved here, the helo sat here proud, neat, it was something special,” event organizer Martin Russell, of the legion, told the crowd. “When Bill found it and called the legion, he came to share the story and it came to life.”

A few months ago, Case had searched an online database of old military equipment, and it said the helicopter was at the New Berlin American Legion. Case checked out the legion’s website, and sure enough, there was his machine.

“I called here and asked someone to read me the tail number,” Case said. “I couldn’t believe it was the Huey. It was awesome!”

It had been 40 years since he’d seen Wendy, and “I thought ‘dang, I want to go see it.’ ”

In his remarks to the crowd, Case thanked the New Berlin American Legion for reviving Wendy, calling the Huey “a workhorse aircraft.” Case was joined by his sons, their wives and his granddaughters, saying “this is great” they got to see this piece of his personal history.

“I cannot tell you how much this means to me, this thing being here,” he said. “It’s a beautiful spot for it to sit. ... It rejuvenated a lot of memories, and brought old buddies back together.”

Those old buddies came to New Berlin from all over the country: Ron Jemison, from Talladega, Ala., Wendy’s door gunner; Paul Hale, from Montgomery, Ala., her pilot; Daryl Christensen, from South Dakota was there, his brother, Alan, had been part of the crew but who went missing in Vietnam; Jim Meehan, of Salisbury Mills, N.Y., also was there representing fallen family members.

“It was amazing. What else can you say?” Russell said when he learned of Wendy’s crew.

The ceremony was complete with a gun salute, the shell casings presented to all of Wendy’s crew and representatives. Attendees also were invited to attach flowers to a wreath in memory of veterans.

“After 40 years, we’re still knitted together by Wendy,” Case said. Seeing her again “was the best welcome home I had in 40 years.”

n Email comments to

Text Only
  • New warden returning to Lewisburg penitentiary

    David J. Ebbert has been tapped to replace Jeff Thomas as warden at United States Penitentiary in Lewisburg.

    July 25, 2014

  • eyebrows.jpg Coming Sunday: Browsing for brows

    As makeup sales soar, four tips to make your eyebrows raise others'. Coming Sunday

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fast food workers to escalate wage demands

    Fast food workers say they’re prepared to escalate their campaign for higher wages and union representation, starting with a national convention in suburban Chicago where more than 1,000 workers are expected to discuss the future of the effort that has spread to dozens of cities in less than two years.

    July 25, 2014

  • 1plane18.jpg Air travel a leap of faith for passengers

    Airline travel requires passengers to make a leap of faith, entrusting their lives to pilots, airlines, air traffic controllers and others who regulate air travel.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Honduran president: U.S. has enormous responsibility for crisis

    The historic influx of illegal immigrants from Central America is caused primarily by the high demand for illicit drugs in the United States, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez said Thursday.

    July 25, 2014

  • Today's Editorial: Child's sensibilities shield bad parents

    Periodically, a decree goes forth from the county seat announcing a special on child support, generally in the form of reducing charges and fines for all those able and willing to make good on some payments now past due.

    July 25, 2014

  • Budd fundraising run to pass Geisinger

    MILTON — It’s “kickstands up” tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. from LT’s Tavern on Route 405 in Milton where hundreds of motorcycles will take off on a run to raise funds for the Budds, the Ohio family whose matriarch, Sharon, recovers at Geisinger Medical Center from grave injuries suffered in a rock-throwing incident two weeks ago.

    July 25, 2014

  • Attorneys seek $28G more from Line Mountain in wrestling case

    WILLIAMSPORT — The legal fee issue between the Line Mountain School District and the Beattie family, which successfully sued the district to allow seventh-grader Audriana Beattie to participate on the all-male wrestling team, is not over.

    July 24, 2014

  • Driver to police: 'Just shoot me'

    WATSONTOWN — A Turbotville man has been charged with making terroristic threats and disturbing the peace after he allegedly threatened to shoot people in a bar and said he had a weapon.

    July 24, 2014

  • New panel of officers installed by CSIU directors

    MONTANDON — A new executive team was installed at Wednesday night’s Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit meeting, as the terms of the present leadership expired this month. Act 102 of 1970, which first created 29 IUs in Pennsylvania, requires  intermediate unit directors to elect board of director officers annually in July.

    July 24, 2014

The Daily Marquee

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.