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Vietnam-era helicopter displayed at Peoria’s veterans memorial plaza

A 1967 Huey helicopter is on display at the Senator John McCain Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza in Peoria's Rio Vista Community Park. (KTAR News Photo/Ali Vetnar)

PEORIA, Arizona — When you pull into Rio Vista Community Park, you won’t be able to miss the Senator John McCain Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza.

Just look for the Army helicopter.

“We have a life-size, full Huey that was used in the Vietnam War,” Peoria Mayor Cathy Carlat said Monday.

“And now it has been brought back to life and put up on a pedestal, as it should be.”

The city held a Veterans Day ceremony that featured a dedication to the recently expanded McCain plaza and highlighted 68 new names that were added to the park’s Honor Wall.

The Honor Wall is a place where families can honor their loved ones who serve or have served in the military. Each honor space includes the veteran’s name, rank, branch and service years.

“Every single year we have expanded and expanded our memorial since 2007,” said Carlat, referring to the year it debuted.

In addition to the Honor Wall, the memorial features notable wartime events engraved on an 88-foot black granite Memorial Wall and a military branch flag display.

The helicopter added this year is a 1967 Bell UH-1H that flew in Vietnam from 1968 to 1971.

It’s on extended loan from Light Horse Legacy, a Peoria-based nonprofit outreach program for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Rio Vista Community Park is located at 8866 W. Thunderbird Rd., just west of the Loop 101 Agua Fria Freeway.

“It is open all hours of the day and night and anyone can come at any time that they want and just feel that they can relax and know that Peoria really cares about our veterans,” Carlat said.

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