The opening film at MOPA in Balboa Park in San Diego this week at the GI Film Festival from directors Alicia Brauns, Christine Steele, PBS SoCal and Light Horse Legacy is the documentary TAKE ME HOME HUEY.

In 1969, a medivac helicopter known as Huey #174 was shot down in Binh Long province of Vietnam killing two crew members. In 2013, Dave Barron rescued the helicopter and artist Steve Maloney decides to make it a healing work of art. Beginning with restoring the weakened metal, people began coming in to be a part of the restoration. That led to the task of finding out about the crew that flew Huey #174 and what happened to them since the crash.

Artist Steve Maloney literally came on board taking Huey #174 from damaged piece of metal to a way for those who survived the crash and the families of the two crew who died to help heal. Each of the crew came to see Huey #174 but it didn’t happen easily. They had to consider what they went through as young men and what they are still going through to this very day. Each man admitting that they were struggling with PTSD.

PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is defined as ‘a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident or sexual assault’. Veterans from every war has brought home soldiers that had a difficult time fitting back into the lives they left behind. Not speaking about their experiences brought about drug use, alcoholism, inability to handle family life and so much more.

As each of the men came to see their helicopter, the sense of panic slowly faded away watching their craft come to life in a unique way. Maloney covered the craft with imagery that the men clearly understood, and paid homage to the two crew that did not come home. Inside the helicopter in the installation of art Maloney created from the original parts from wires to instruments. Also inside is a time capsule installed that offered an opportunity for each to put in something in that brought their experience with their reimagined helicopter back in a way that brought them something indescribable.

Karl Renz, Paul Battaglia, Jerry McNelly and Steve Maloney were on hand when the lights came on in the theater to a round of applause. Each person in the room was clearly moved by the story and thrilled to have the opportunity to hear directly from these men who have made a greater impact for veterans. To learn more about the film please visit

The GI Film Festival San Diego opened with TAKE ME HOME HUEY laying the course for the rest of the films that will be showing until Sunday. Until Friday, the films will be at MOPA (Museum of Photographic Arts) in Balboa Park and for Saturday and Sunday the films will be at UltraStar Cinemas at Hazard Center.

For the schedule please visit



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About the Author

Jeri Jacquin

Jeri Jacquin covers film, television, DVD/Bluray releases, celebrity interviews, festivals and all things entertainment.