Primary Helicopter Patch

The U.S. Army Primary Helicopter Center and School

Fort Wolters, Texas
July 1956 - November 1973

Welcome to the Fort Wolters History Page featuring a Then and Now Tour,
compliments of chapter members Ira Will McComic and Jerry Barnes.

Camp Wolters was transferred back to the Army on July 1, 1956.  A contract was awarded to the Southern Airways Company in August to conduct the flight training program at the U.S. Army Primary Helicopter School. The first class reported for training on November 26, 1956, and consisted of 34 Warrant Officer Candidates and one Chief Warrant Officer. The class graduated on April 27, 1957.  All training was done at the Main Heliport and four stage fields. These facilities grew to three heliports -- Main, Downing and Dempsey -- and 25 stage fields.  The first seven stage fields were given "western" names while the rest were named after towns in Vietnam to get the students used to the names. The fields were laid out, directionally, the same as the actual towns were located in Vietnam.  Stage field Bronco still exists, being used as a private residence. Other stage fields were Pinto, Ramrod, Mustang and Sundance. Vietnam names included An Khe, Vung Tau, Tuy Hoa, Cam Ranh, Hue, Chu Lai, Soc Trang, My Tho, Bien Hoa and Vinh Long.

The School started with 125 Hiller OH-23 Raven helicopters.The number of helicopters peaked in 1969 at more than 1300, including the OH-13 and TH-55 types. Over 41,000 students, representing over 30 countries, graduated from the primary helicopter school during the 17 years it functioned in this capacity. Peak output occurred in 1967 with 600 students graduating each month.

Put in "mothballs" in November, 1973, what was once known as Fort Wolters is now Wolters Industrial Park, housing a number of businesses, and in part of the old WOC area a prison.

In April, 2002, the Flower Mound, Texas fire department burned some of the old married officer housing for training. Here are some pictures.