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National VHPA Site








To enhance and accredit the cohesiveness, esprit de corps, and traditions of valor of rotary wing aircrews that flew in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam Era. To seek out, using whatever means available, individuals who piloted rotary wing aircraft in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam era and inform them of the existence of the VHPA and encourage all eligible individuals to become members.

Membership is open to all helicopter pilots who flew in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam era (1961-1975).

Chapter Profile

The Washington State Chapter of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association (VHPA) was founded in September, 2000 by Jack Salm, Jr. It holds regular meetings in Washington state including sites on both sides of the Cascades.

Future Meetings

Our chapter is preparing to participate in the 49thAnnual Auburn Veterans’ Day Parade on November 8th. This event is the largest veterans’ parade west of the Mississippi and is designated by the Veterans Day National Committee and the US Department of Veterans Affairs as a Regional Site for celebration of Veterans Day 2014. The city of Auburn is proud to be a Vietnam War Commemorative Partner and this year's parade is paying special tribute to the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

The Auburn parade has become a very special event for our chapter, affording us the opportunity to interact with the spectators and other parade participants.  We’ve seen many older veterans rise from their wheelchairs as we pass by with our “Huey” and chapter banner, to salute and thank us for our service. We plan to have our newly restored UH1 on display including a rotor system. A lot of work has gone into making this happen so be sure to attend.

8:30AM - Breakfast with the American Legion at Auburn Senior Center, 808 Ninth St. SE, Auburn WA 98071. From Hwy 18 take Auburn Way S Exit, turn left onto Auburn Wy S. At next stop light intersection with F Street and 9th Street SE, turn left onto 9th Street and proceed two blocks east to Senior Center next to Les Grove Park.

9:30 AM - Proceed north on F Street to our “Holding Area”, at the corner of H Street SE and E. Main, in downtown Auburn. The map can be seen here. We will form up and march (or ride the Huey for those unable to march) alongside our restored Olympia Flight Museum UH-1H Huey towed by VHPA-WA member Dave Saunders.
11:00 AM Parade commences - 1:00 PM Parade ends.

Suggested attire: VHPA-WA Jackets and shirts, VHPA-WA Caps or former military unit caps, khaki or tan trousers. We may not look uniform but let’s look sharp and be proud of our service. American Flags will be handed out to all VHPA members for the march down Main Street.

For more info call Pat Staeheli (253) 859-4185. See you in Auburn on Nov 8th!

If you have a topic for the chapter consideration and would like it to be addressed, please contact John Combs by email or phone.

What's New?

We've received an update from the volunteers who are restoring the UH1 we tow in the Auburn Veterans Day parade. Check out the new pictures and detailed description of their progress.

Check out the VHPAWA Gear page to see our new Chapter Challenge Coin.


Dan Fox produced another great video of the Auburn Veteran's Day march. This is a 'must see'.

Check out the pictures and videos that show what aviators and their crews experienced in Vietnam.

Last Meetings

The Washington State Chapter of the VHPA met for the third time this year on Saturday, 20 Sep, 2014, in Spokane, WA for the benefit of our Eastside brothers. We  gathered at the Timber Creek Grill Buffet,  and attended by seventeen members including our infamous past President Mr. Mark Hansen. Mark will be leaving soon to return to Ecuador to enjoy his retirement. We were well briefed by Mark on this country and all it has to offer. Thank you Mark. The meeting was informative especially on VA matters.

Events of Interest

This link leads you to a number of chapter activities including the UH1 restoration project, special events and other interest projects.

The chapter coordinated the retirement of CW4 Joseph Long's retirement after 44 years of service. He's the oldest helicopter pilot to serve in Vietnam. Click here for the rest of the story.

The Washington State Chapter of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association (VHPA) is a totally separate, independent entity and is not authorized to act as an agent, or representative, of the VHPA or any of the other chapters.

VHPA-WA  2013  Officers

President: J C Combs  206-660-2187 hooker44@comcast.net
Vice President:   Hal Thornton 509-829-0737 hnbthorn@aol.com

Members at Large

Mid Term: Steve Lodwig 206-930-8521 stevelodwig@gmail.com
Senior: Dave Eck 253-447-4993 david@lighthousefg.com
Junior: Bill Lyons 253-631-0371 bill60lyons@comcast.net
Secretary:  Bill Lyons 253-631-0371 bill60lyons@comcast.net
Treasurer: John Schafer 253-874-1306 johnshafercpa@comcast.net
Web Master: Bill Vaughn  425-556-9025 billva@betav.com
Sgt at Arms: Jim LePenske 206-714-3283 jimlep3@comcast.net
Parade Coordinator Pat Staeheli 253-859-4185 pgstaeheli@yahoo.com
Chaplin: Padre Francis Jeffery 253-588-3478 fjeffery@aol.com
Photos/Camera: Dan Fox 253-531-8242 two-foxes@msn.com

Past Presidents

2000 Jack Salm Jr. Founder,  National VHPA President (2009)
2001-2002 Tom Wie   (had to drop out, Jack Salm reelected)  
2002-2003 Jack Salm Jr.
2004 Pat Staeheli 
2005 Dave Rosenkranz 
2006 Dick Glasgow   (Died Feb. 21, 2007)
2007 Chris Farwell 
2008 Paul Fleming
2009 David P. Eck     
2010 Frank Jones (Health issues Feb. 2010)
2010 Bob Brown
2011 Mark Hansen
2012 Mark Hansen
2013 Don LeMaster  

Electronic mail
    Webmaster: William Vaughn (Redmond, WA)
Please note: This website may contain information that the webmaster, VHPA or VHPAWA considers proprietary and confidential. Information contained herein shall not be used for commercial solicitation purposes, or any correspondence related thereto. Correspondence relating to commercial purposes or solicitations can be sent to the webmaster whereupon it will be forwarded to the appropriate VHPA or VHPAWA representative or discarded as they see fit.
Send mail to the webmaster billva@betav.com with questions or comments about this web site.
Portions Copyright © 2003-2013 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association Washington State Chapter
Portions Copyright (c) 2003-2013, William R. Vaughn
Last modified: 05/22/2013 12:04:21 -0700 (Zulu)