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The Vietnam Experience Exhibit at Patriot’s Point

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Charleston, SC – When I visited Patriot’s Point two years ago, the Vietnam Experience Exhibit was closed; it is now back open to the public. It offers a glimpse of two parts of the Navy and Marine Corps experience in the Vietnam War. Just after you enter the exhibit, there is a display symbolizing Vietnam War dead from South Carolina; it consists of pegs on which dog tags are hung. This is an incredible visualization and it truly catches your attention, so much so that I never was able to bring myself to take a photo of it. The first part of the exhibit is representative of a “Brown Water Navy” river patrol boat support base. There’s a UH-1M painted in HA(L)-3 “Seawolves” colors. There’s a MK1 River Patrol Boat (PBR), a Comm Shack, hooch for the crews, other support buildings, Observation Tower, a UH-1H “Dust-Off” medevac helicopter, and a UH-34D Sea Horse. After you pass the through the support base, you enter the second half of the exhibit – a representation of a Marine Corps artillery support base like the one at Khe Sanh. It features a 105mm howitzer, an M-42 Duster (self propelled anti-aircraft gun used for ground support fire), CH-46E Sea Knight, and a deuce-and-a-half truck.

The aircraft in this exhibit have recently been repainted and are looking great. It won’t take the scorching southern sun and heat to take its toll on them, so try to get by soon before the paint begins to fade and degrade. The AH-1 that looked so poorly on my last visit to Patriot’s Point is now sitting by the fence next to the gift shop and is still looking poorly; I’d have thought they’d have given it some new paint and included it with the Vietnam Experience Exhibit… perhaps that’s in to be done in the future. Anway, it’s a shame to see the Cobra still in that state.

Note:  Two of the aircraft in this exhibit are on loan from the National Naval Aviation Museum, which I visited in 2015.

UH-1M Huey painted in HA(L)-3 Seawolves colors (this is actually a US Army UH-1, 66--15005). The Seawolves flew aerial cover for the River Patrol Boats.

UH-1M Huey painted in HA(L)-3 Seawolves colors (this is actually a US Army UH-1, 66–15005). The Seawolves flew aerial cover for the River Patrol Boats.

MK1 River Patrol Boat (PBR) "Elaine"

MK1 River Patrol Boat (PBR) “Elaine”

Kaiser Jeep M725 Ambulance

Kaiser Jeep M725 Ambulance

Comm Shack made out of a conex box

Comm Shack made out of a conex box

Radio gear inside of the comm shack

Radio gear inside of the Comm Shack

Radio gear inside of the comm shack

Radio gear inside of the Comm Shack

Radio gear inside of the comm shack

Radio gear inside of the Comm Shack

1968 Pinup Calendar inside the comm shack

1968 Pinup Calendar inside the Comm Shack

Guard Tower

Obersvation Tower

UH-1H "Dust-Off" Huey (US Army 65-10132)

UH-1H “Dust-Off” Huey (US Army 65-10132)

UH-34D Sea Horse (Bu No 147171), This aircraft is on loan to Patriot's Point from the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, FL

UH-34D Sea Horse (Bu No 147171), This aircraft is on loan to Patriot’s Point from the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, FL

Looking down at the UH-34D from the Observation Tower

Looking down at the UH-34D from the Observation Tower

Looking down at the UH-1H from the Observation Tower

Looking down at the UH-1H from the Observation Tower

Looking down at the Patrol Boat Support Base from the Observation Tower

Looking down at the Patrol Boat Support Base from the Observation Tower

Looking down at the Patrol Boat Support Base from the Observation Tower

Looking down at the Patrol Boat Support Base from the Observation Tower

Looking down at the Patrol Boat Support Base from the Observation Tower

Looking down at the Patrol Boat Support Base from the Observation Tower

Looking down into the Khe Sanh part of the Vietnam Experience Exhibit fro the Observation Tower

Looking down into the Khe Sanh part of the Vietnam Experience Exhibit fro the Observation Tower

Looking down into the Khe Sanh part of the Vietnam Experience Exhibit fro the Observation Tower

Looking down into the Khe Sanh part of the Vietnam Experience Exhibit fro the Observation Tower

105mm Howitzer

105mm Howitzer

M-42 Duster, the haze is from smoke effect from the burning, upside down jeep next to it

M-42 Duster, the haze is from smoke effect from the burning, upside down jeep next to it

M-42 Duster

M-42 Duster

CH-46E (Bu No 154009), this aircraft is also on loan from the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, FL

CH-46E (Bu No 154009), this aircraft is also on loan from the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, FL

A look inside the CH-46E

A look inside the CH-46E

Deuce-and-a-Half Truck

Deuce-and-a-Half Truck

 


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