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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.

Member Profiles

640px-Flickr_-_The_U.S._Army_-_Medal_of_Honor,_Maj._Bruce_CrandallColonel Bruce P. Crandall (Ret.), husband, father, explorer, pilot, Vietnam War hero, engineer, civic leader and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, addressed Antioch University Seattle’s (AUS) 2015 graduates at the university’s commencement ceremony on Sunday, June 21 at Town Hall Seattle. He shared insights about demonstrating social courage and the inner determination to choose the right path, which may not always be the safest or easiest route.

“Colonel Crandall exemplifies the definition of courage and bravery, not only because of the extreme danger that he faced during his military service, but also because of his willingness to face danger in pursuit of helping others and at great personal risk,” said AUS president Daniel Hocoy. “Standing up for one’s beliefs is difficult enough – doing so in the most extreme of circumstances is the true mark of a courageous leader and hero.”

The local chapter of the VHPA is proud to include Col. Crandall as one of our members.

Future Meetings

The Washington State Chapter of the VHPA will be meeting for the second time this year on Saturday, 27 June 2015, in the Airlift NW hangar on Olympia Airport. Start time is 1030 hrs with coffee and donuts available. This same weekend is the Olympia Air Show. After our meeting you are free to roam the show. Static display aircraft include two Marine Ospreys, a Canadian Caribou, an assortment of fixed wing aircraft including P-51’s and a fully restored Corsair. As of this writing, an Army Reserve Chinook is 50 – 50, awaiting permission. I remind you to bring some cash. We have awesome t-shirts, stickers, patches, pins and hats. And new this month we have short sleeve t-shirts with pockets for our members with glasses, etc. I assume that means most of us.

We will update the membership on the status of our newly finished UH-1. We recently completed a two day static display at the Lacey Fun Fair and learned a few lessons.

The Olympic Flight Museum has some volunteers to man our UH-1 both days of this air show. In the interest of protecting this great aircraft and answering specific questions, I would ask any of our members who would like to assist, let me know. I will work all day Saturday after our meeting but I am unable on Sunday. Your assistance would be appreciated.

Our third meeting will be in Spokane for our east side brothers on Saturday 19 September. Everyone is invited to attend. If you are in the area please join us.

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

Thank you all for your time and attention.

John Combs – President

Special Events

The Olympic Museum anticipated that requests for the UH1 would increase. The first event is 16 and 17 May for static display at the Lacey Spring Fun Fair honoring Armed Forces Day on the campus of St. Martin’s College. Our Chapter will provide members to man the aircraft and answer all those questions. You are all invited to help out either day. Bring your family if you wish. Mr. Dave Saunders will again pull the trailer in place about 0800 Sat morning. It will remain overnight (with lots of security provided) and we will depart Sunday afternoon around 1600. Should be fun.

What's New?

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


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

Last Meetings

The February lunch at Famous Dave’s was great. A large crowd, good food, and several new members made for a fun time. As a reminder, your current Chapter Officers have agreed to serve for another year. I am grateful for their support for 2015.
The UH-1 is doing well at the Olympic Flight Museum. Although it is stored outside for now, no leaks have been detected. The new side steps for static display have been completed. My special thanks to Jim Fleming, Tom Thorning, and Izzy Velez for the design and building of this project. When not in use, they attach to the trailer. The onboard music is up and running. A MP3 player, amplifier, two speakers, and a thumb drive with 62 Vietnam era songs are ready. Wednesday this week we installed the new system to lock the sliding and the pilot’s doors.

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
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Last modified: 12/29/2014 12:39:14 -0800 (Zulu)