Hometown Heroes - Sidney Hulett

Vietnam helicopter pilot
Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 3:57 AM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Retired helicopter pilot Sidney Hulett of Sulphur spent his military career in Vietnam.

“I was a member of a hunter killer team, which consisted of a Cobra gun ship, and a Scout ship,” recalled Hulett. “We operated just like the scouts in the old Cavalry. A scout would go out, find the enemy. Then the cobras, or the Cavalry on the horses, would go to a battle with them.”

Hulett flew helicopter missions in Vietnam in the early 1970s. His chopper was shot down by the enemy.

“So we did crash in the Elephant grass, but before we landed my door gunner was standing on the skid. He told me that we were on fire. I could feel the heat on the back of my neck. He jumped off before we landed. We I did land, my engine had quit. It was a crash landing. I got out and found him and pulled him in the front of the aircraft.”

Years after the war, Hulett was diagnosed with PTSD.

“I didn’t know I had it. I just thought it was me. I finally went to the VA. They asked me what kind of problems I had. They found out I had problems with temper, I had problems with trust. All of this is related to PTSD.”

Later Hulett became an Air Med pilot for Acadian Ambulance, and was one of the first to arrive in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

“Mainly we saw the rooftops. We would land there and pick up different people. One place was at the dome. We evacuated some people from the dome. We went to the hospitals. I don’t remember the names of them now, but we picked up the newborns.”

Hulett is now retired, but looks back on his career with pride. During his time in the military, he was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Medal of Valor.