UGLY Angels visit Tulsa

Saturday, May 19th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A helicopter on its way to the scrap pile is now a flying memorial. KOTV's Donn Robertson says the special helicopter was flown by the 'Ugly Angels.'

Pilot Mike Schneider from Inola, "It's a sound we used to wake up to and go to sleep to." "I think about the memory of the guys who served." "As Ugly as this bird is the fellows loved to see it coming." "We were responsible to get them back."

One wounded soldier in Vietnam told his rescuer, you are the ugliest angel I have ever seen. So, the squadron changed its name. Schneider says "We weren't very good looking, the aircraft wasn't very good looking so they called us ugly angels." The Ugly Angels flew this very helicopter in Vietnam, they brought in food, bullets, supplies, and most importantly rescued the soldiers from the hot zones. Two Inola pilots bought the retired 'copter and planned on scrapping it for parts. "Right now, that gives me chills, it would have ended up in pieces." They found bullets lodged in the ole' bird, did some research and found the 'Ugly Angels.' "Some of them never talked about the war until they actually got involved with this helicopter." "May Bill's spirit be with us."

Rain on Friday didn't slow down a memorial service in Veteran's Park, as the soldiers honored the 33 soldiers whom died serving the squadron. Now they're serving as storytellers, as the 'Ugly Angels' and their helicopter have been traveling to schools. "The Vietnam War is kind of a lost war." “Right or wrong, it is part of their history."

The 'Ugly Angels' and their rare bird are preparing for another mission, a trip to Washington D.C where it will be on display for Memorial Day.