A UH-34D Sikorksy helicopter.
In honor of the upcoming Veteran’s Day, a YL-37 helicopter from the Vietnam War will land on Saints Field at Monte Cassino School on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 9:00 a.m. The crew will talk to the students about what the helicopter did during the war. “We have spent the last few weeks preparing for a program for Veteran’s Day. Our children have enjoyed learning the significance of this important holiday to honor our Veterans,” commented music teacher, Joanne Pearson. The helicopter and crew will remain on campus until 1:30 p.m. so students can tour the helicopter and ask questions.
The YL-37, which was manufactured in Bridgeport, CT in 1961, served in Vietnam from 1965-1968. It is the only Marine UH-34D Sikorsky helicopter with documented combat history that survived the Vietnam War, and returned home to become a flying memorial to all Vietnam Veterans. The historic YL-37 is flown today with some of her surviving crew members, bringing to life the role in history she played to a new generation of young people, as part of the “hands-on” educational process. Monte Cassino School Director, Matt Vereecke, stated the entire school community has been anticipating this event. “We are honored to have a piece of living history here on our campus to share with our students and discuss with them the sacrifice that our veterans’ make for our country.”
During the many missions she flew, the YL-37 was fired upon many times by the Vietcong. Once she was disabled to the point that she had to be carried out of the crash zone by a CH-53. Today she wears 54 patches over bullet holes sustained in Vietnam. She operated out of every major air base in I-Corps, South Vietnam, hospital ships and many aircraft carriers. This rare aircraft served with the squadron -362, who were known as the “Ugly Angels.” On her side you will see a bronze plaque that she proudly wears with the names of 33 Marines of the “Ugly Angels” who gave their lives in Vietnam for service to our country.
Monte Cassino School was founded in the Benedictine tradition in 1926. It serves students from three years old through 8th grade. The educational mission of the school unites teachers, parents and students in the shared goal of educating each student as a child of God in innovative ways that develop the mind, heart, and will.