Comanchero Aircraft UH-1H #67-19502

UH-1H #67-19502 on display on Super Saturday during the 101st Airborne Association Reunion at Fort Campbell, 2000

UH-1H #67-19502, April 13, 1971, RVN while serving with A/101 AHB "Comancheros"

The day UH-1H #67-19502 arrived at the Charlotte County Aviation Unit Hanger for restoration

John Lipski, left and Robert Carr in front of 502

Captain Robert Carr and pilot Carl Burgerhoff, with M/G (ret) Norman Schwarzkopf, during a visit by the Bush/Cheney campaign in 2000

 

Captain Robert Carr, of the Charlotte County Sheriffs Office Aviation Unit, found this former A/101 AVN aircraft in 1999  while searching for aircraft that were available from the GSA inventory for service with that aviation unit.UH-1H #67-19502 was a A/101 AHB  Lam Son 719 veteran aircraft while serving with the Comancheros and still wears the battle scars from that historic operation. Captain Carr acquired the aircraft for the Charlotte County Sheriffs Office Aviation Unit from the GSA. Then after hundreds of volunteer hours of hard work, he and his volunteer crew restored the aircraft to excellent operational condition.†In June of 2000, UH-1H #67-19502 flew a mission to Fort Campbell, KY during the 101st Airborne Divisions "Week of the Eagles" celebration. The aircraft earned the title of the "Healing Helicopter" during that trip because of the effect the aircraft had on those that touched and were touched by the aircraft. The aircraft then returned to full active service with the Charlotte County Aviation Unit and once again had a home and a mission.

The 2000 election brought a new Charlotte County Sheriff and Administration changes within the department. Captain Robert Carr left his position with the Sheriffs office in January of 2001. After a short time with the current Charlotte County Sheriffs Aviation unit in 2001, some damage occurred to the aircraft. The aircraft was then cannibalized to keep other Charlotte County Aviation unit aircraft operational. UH-1H #67-19502 shell minus the aircraft's bullet ridden combat tail boom, transmission & turbine, mast and rotors and other cannibalized parts, lay rusting outside the Charlotte County Sheriff Aviation Hanger.

 

The following links have more information and pictures of the history UH-1H #67-19502

Information on helicopter 67-19502

Tales of UH-67-19502

502 Media Links

 Restoration

Initial Flight of 502

Test Flight 06/03/00

502 Logbook

 

Copter case ends; charges dropped-10/10/03

PUNTA GORDA -- The high-profile case against a former Charlotte County sheriff's aviation captain accused of illegally trading government surplus helicopters and parts ended quietly in a courtroom Thursday morning.

Robert E. Carr, 59, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of falsifying a public record, for which Circuit Judge Isaac Anderson imposed a $1,000 fine. The state dropped 11 felony charges -- three of grand theft and eight of official misconduct -- against Carr of Port Charlotte the same morning.

 

Assistant state attorney Jerry Brock said Carr "certainly did things that he could have been fired for," but was not prosecuted on the felony charges because Carr did not "personally benefit by any of the actions he engaged in.
"He was changing documents, putting false information in documents so as to benefit the Sheriff's Office," Brock said. "We do not see where he profited in any way."

The federal government also investigated Carr for allegedly stealing a helicopter engine, but concluded several months ago that it would not file charges, Brock said.  

 

In an interview Thursday, Carr said the charges were politically motivated. He has maintained his innocence. "They were wrong," Carr said. Carr also released a prepared statement, in which he wrote: "It was a cunning investigation initiated and fabricated under the guise of the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office."

The investigation began after Bill Clement took office and discovered missing helicopters and parts. The helicopters had been donated during Richard Worch's administration. Carr retired rather than take a pay cut in December 2000.

In January 2002, Carr and former sheriff's aviation mechanic Denis Mintze were arrested. The thefts allegedly happened sometime from August to October 1999, court records show. Investigators had claimed that Carr illegally traded government equipment to private aviation companies in order to offset the cost of restoring the helicopter, court documents show. Helicopter parts were allegedly shipped to private vendors, who would credit thousands of dollars to Carr's aviation unit and pay for whatever bills were sent to them out of that credit, the documents state. Mintze was charged with two counts of felony grand theft. He was accused of stealing a helicopter turbine engine and a helicopter fuel control part from the Sheriff's Office. In August, the state dropped the charges against Mintze, citing insufficient evidence. Mintze had said the accusations were fabricated.

Carr said he pleaded to the misdemeanor charge because he wanted closure and had run out of money to continue a legal battle. Now, Carr said, he plans to move on.
"Today, two and a half years later, I have been vindicated and take with me my pride and integrity," Carr wrote.

 

These are current pictures of Five 0 Deuce (Oct 2002)

These are current pictures of Five 0 Deuce (Oct 2002)

Richard Bittle and Gary Lee Stamey with 502, 02/2003, at the Charlotte County Aviation Unit Hanger

 

02/2003 transmission damage and new tail boom that has been added to the aircraft.

This is a painting that the Comancheros commissioned  Joe Kline Aviation Art to detail to reflect the colors of UH-1H 67-19502. The painting  was presented to Bob Carr in appreciation for the work he did restoring the aircraft. The picture is typical of the missions that the aircraft preformed numerous times in service with A/101 AHB in South Vietnam.

 

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