Why does the Army Helicopters Have Native American Names? Because 32 Them Earned the Medal of Honor

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This story is very interesting so I decided to share it all.

Here’s why Army helicopters have Native American names.

Black Hawk. Apache. Comanche. Lakota. Notice anything?

The Army’s history of naming its helicopters after Native American tribes and figures stems from an Army regulation made decades ago. The regulation has since been rescinded, but the tradition has carried on over the years.

An Army press release posted Wednesday explained the backstory of the U.S. military’s “long history” with Native Americans — and specifically the American Indian Wars.

“But Native Americans also served as some of the fiercest fighters for the United States for more than 200 years,” the release said. “In fact, 32 Native Americans have earned the nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor.”

The tradition originated from Army Gen. Hamilton Howze, who was tasked with the job to “develop doctrine and the way forward when it came to employing Army aircraft” after the Air Force split from the Army in 1947, the Army release said.

The original names for two helicopters were “Hoverfly” and “Dragonfly” — which Howze didn’t like. He decided the next helicopter would be called the Sioux “in honor of the Native Americans who fought Army soldiers in the Sioux Wars and defeated the 7th Cavalry Regiment at the Battle of Little Bighorn.”

And from that decision, years later in 1969, Army Regulation 70-28 was born.

AR 70-28 required that Army aircraft had to be named after “Indian terms and names of American Indian tribes and chiefs.” It also directed that tanks would be named after American generals, infantry weapons “would receive names for famous early American pioneers,” and assault weapons would have “fearsome reptile and insect names,” according to the press release.

Though the regulation has since been rescinded, the tradition for Army helicopters was set.

A press release further explained the process behind deciding on a name for an Army helicopter, saying that before the service could use the name Lakota for the UH-72A Lakota, the Lakota tribe was consulted for permission.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs advised Stephen Hart, a Light Utility Helicopter maintenance manager, that the Army “had to contact and obtain approval from a majority of the council members making up the Sioux Nation,” of which the Lakotas are a part.

Within six months, the Army had received the permission they needed. The Army wanted that name specifically, the press release said, because the Lakotas “were known as a peaceful, non-aggressive people,” and the helicopter “is a non-arms-bearing helicopter that performs medical and casualty evacuations, provides disaster relief, aids in homeland defense, and also works to counter drugs and narcotics.”

In February 2008, Rosebud Sioux tribal leaders joined the Army for a ceremony at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., to celebrate the new helicopter.

Rodney Bordeaux, the Rosebud Sioux tribal council president, said at the ceremony that it was a “great honor to have our name out there now where people can see it.”


Too many of our veterans are bitter and lost. They came home with PTSD, severe TBI, and war wounds. It is hard to reach them because they do not want to show weakness.


That leads me into my daily rant.

How are you doing? Are the paths you are walking breaking down and causing landslides for you?

Rest at ease! There are over 11, 450 fellow veterans here who have you back. You are not alone,. There is no need for you to take on this world by yourself.

However, if the path doesn’t look repairable, GET HELP!

Here is a toll free number to call, 24/7.

There are highly qualified, counselors there to help you. They will not hang up until they know you are OK.

Never take on the dark side by yourself.

1-800-273-8255 Option # 1



You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, Give up!


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Interviews with Veterans From Wars

It has been a few days since I last posted. Very busy trying to finish my book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” I just need to finish three interviews, and then I will be sending it off to my publisher. I am interviewing soldiers who have been in wars from WWII through the Afghanistan wars.

I thought I would share with you a short example of what the interviews will be like. What follows are just a snippet of what some of the interviews are about. You will have to read the book to get the rest of the story.

Interview one

One interview I am just finishing up is with a sniper during his Afghanistan tour. No punches pulled here. I asked him if he had killed anyone, and he said yes. Then I asked how he felt about it, and he said he didn’t think about it because he was protecting his buddies. He goes on and talks about the PTSD he is going through. He shares how he would do things differently if he could start over.

Interview two

Another interview was by accident. I decided to stop and get a burger at a fast food restaurant. I got my food and was heading to my table when I spotted a vietnam veteran who was a Marine. I know that because he was wearing a hat that stated that. I sat down and watched him. He was in pain. You could see him shifting to try to stop the pain in his legs. He got up to leave and I could see how bad he was hurting. He walked very slowly and each step wass hard labor for him. I asked him to sit and talk with me, and he looked like that wasn’t what he wanted to do. I told him I was a veteran and that helped, he sat with me. We exchanged the normal greetings, and then I started asking him questions. I asked him what he did, and he said he was on a ship off the coast of Vietnam. Their job was to send helicopters inland to pull wounded soldiers out, and to bring food and supplies to the civilians. The I asked what his worst moment was. Can’t tell you now, but it was horrific.

I have many more interviews with soldiers who have had some very bad experiences. Some had funny things happen, and some lost some friends who right next to them. Some interviews are from WWII, The Korean war, Vietnam war, and the Iraq and Afghanistan war. It covers all the wars in our lifetime.

Keep coming back!

So stay close and learn more in the coming days and weeks. I will be sharing more excerpts from the book, and keep you posted as to when the book is coming out.

You can follow daily by subscribing. Just click on the icon at the top that says subscribe, and then every time there is a post it will be sent right to your inbox.

For my fellow veterans:

Are you battling your demons for your service time? Do you still have nightmares about your time? You certainly are not alone. I feel your pain my friend. Stay strong and never let the dark side overcome you. If you need help, here is a hotline that will help you right away. It is:

  • Remember:
  • You are never alone.
  • You are never forsaken.
  • You are never unloved.
  • And above all…never, ever, give up!!

More Military Veteran Interviews

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Doug Bolton, the founder of the blog, Signs of Hope, which is at www.dailysignsofhope.com, has written a new book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” It will be reaching out the many military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, and the many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides every day. That is almost one every hour. Doug wants to help stop those statistics. Doug sent off his mini proposal to an agent who is very interested in his concept. We will update you when we hear more. 


On my last post below I started sharing a few of the interviews I am doing for my new book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.”

This book is reaching out to all the veterans who may be suffering after or even during their time in the military. It covers PTSD, deployment, loneliness, depression, domestic violence, spouses left behind, etc. It even has some humor of when I was in the military.

Today I am going to share a couple more interviews. In the last post I said that I would only be sharing a little part of each interview. I will continue that here. To see the entire interviews you will need to get the book. (This is called a hook in the writing community.)

One interview I had was with a Vietnam veteran. It wasn’t planned interview. I happened to be at a fast food restaurant and saw him sitting alone staring out the window. I could tell he was a veteran by his Vietnam hat he had on.

He finally got up and I saw that he had a cane. He hobbled over to the trash bin and then started to leave.

I asked him if he would sit with me for a while. He hesitated until I told him I was a veteran as well. Here is the conversation we had. It really wasn’t an interview. I didn’t want it to sound that way.

Me- “What unit were you in?” Veteran-“I was on a ship off the coast of Vietnam, and we had a helicopter unit that went in to rescue soldiers, bring in supplies, and did humanitarian help for some of the starving people.” Me- “What was the worst moment you had in the military?” Veteran- “I saw my best friend and the rest of his crew take off in a helicopter and suddenly crash into the ocean. They never recovered the bodies because it was too deep.”

There was much more talked about, but this was the most heart breaking part.

Another interview I had was with a Vietnam medic. He had some horror stories which I won’t share here but will be in the book. Here are some highlights:

Me- “Was being a medic a tough job?” Veteran- “Of course it was. To see young men with their legs gone, or near their last breath was extremely hard.”  Me- “Did you have some special moments?” Veteran- “Yes, I was caring for a soldier who couldn’t have been much over eighteen. He asked me if I was scared. I said yes. That seemed to calm him down a lot knowing that someone felt the same way as he did, but was still trying to help him anyway.”

I will have many more interviews in the book, and the book will be full of hope, and showing veterans ways to cope in the world we have to live in after we hit the private sector.

A word to all veterans…

You are a special person. You went out of your way to serve you country. God loves as you are, warts and all. You are a hero to not only me, but many other people. Never be ashamed of what you did. Never feel your time was wasted. Never allow others to degrade you for what you have done for your country.


You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!