Sheboygan Falls, Wis. — An effort to raise funds for a T-28 Aircraft Restoration and Hmong Pilots Exhibit at the Aviation Heritage Center of Wisconsin has outreach now in Minnesota.
With $15,000 already raised for the T-28 exhibit, the Aviation Heritage Center has committed $15,000 of its own funds to the memorial. The goal is to raise another $20,000 to complete the exhibit with everything as planned prior to the dedication ceremony on Saturday Sept. 20, at 2:00 p.m. at the Aviation Heritage Center of Wisconsin, N6191 Resource Drive, Sheboygan Falls, WI 53085.
Several distinguished guests are scheduled to be in attendance, including former Raven and Air America pilots, T-28 Instructor Pilots, Hmong pilots, and CIA personnel.
“It will be a once-in-a-lifetime gathering of these veterans of the “secret” war at the same time and place,” stated stated said Jon Helminiak, executive director, Aviation Heritage Center of Wisconsin.
The Aviation Heritage Center is making wonderful progress on the restoration of its North American T-28 “Trojan” aircraft – the centerpiece of an exhibit to honor the Hmong who flew this aircraft during the “secret” war in Laos.
“The exhibit will help to educate the American public as well as younger Hmong generations of the important roles of the Hmong pilots during the U.S. Secret War,” Helminiak said.
The exhibit is designed with the Heritage Center goal of “Advancing Education Through Aviation.” It will provide visitors with information and artifacts to understand:
• What and how important the US Secret War in Laos meant to the US war strategies in Vietnam
• How many Hmong successfully graduated from the US rigorous pilot training
• Who are the few Hmong pilot survivors
• Who were the Hmong pilots with the code name “Chao Pha Khao” and what does it mean and why
• Who were the pilots named “Ravens” and what were their roles
• How many types of aircrafts Hmong pilots flew during the war
• Why is the quote “Fly Until You Die” referred to the Hmong pilots?
• Why was the Long Cheng airport referred to as the “world’s busiest airport” during that period?
Veterans who can contribute information and materials should contact Helminiak at the Aviation Heritage Center.
“My appreciation for your support and interest in the Aviation Heritage Center and our T-28 exhibit,”
Gaoly Yang, a Minnesota contact who is advocating for the fundraising effort, notes that the donors can have their names attached to the exhibit as a tribute that will last forever.
Visit the museum online at www.ahcw.org. See photos of the T-28 restoration there and on the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ahcwi.