MD Helicopters, Inc.
(MDHI) proudly hosted a ceremony to celebrate the induction of Lt. Col. Alan “Ace” Cozzalio to the Army Aviation Hall of Fame at the MDHI facility in Mesa, Arizona on April 15, 2022. The event also included a display of aircraft, comprising of a Vietnam War-era OH-6 from the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation, a Vietnam War-era OH-6 from Little Bird LLC. of Santa Teresa, N.M., and the OH-6’s modern descendent, the MD530F helicopter from MD Helicopters.
The Army Aviation Hall of Fame planned to induct Cozzalio in 2020, but the ceremony was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. MD Helicopters hosted the event this month as an opportunity for his friends, family, and those he served with to come together to celebrate the induction.
“Ace truly is a legend with the stories of his leadership, charisma, and heroism forever entwined with the renowned OH-6,” said Jason Lindauer, Vice President of Military and Commercial Sales at MD Helicopters. “The legacy of the OH-6 and Ace Cozzalio, as well as that of hundreds of other pilots who flew this game-changing aircraft in Vietnam, lives on in the success this airframe continues to have in the military and civilian sectors. It was an honor to give him a true celebration.”
Cozzalio served as a pilot on the OH-6 light observation “LOACH” UH-1 Iroquois, and AH-1 Cobra helicopter. Flying for the U.S. Army Lighthorse Air Cavalry during the Vietnam War from 1967 to 1969, Cozzalio logged over 1,000 hours of combat flying in the area around Saigon. Ace was shot down by enemy gunfire six times in his two six-month tours and received 49 medals, including the Silver Star, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Soldier’s medal, and two Purple Hearts. In 2015, Rex Gooch, who presented during the ceremony, published a book telling that tail of Cozzalio’s experiences flying in Vietnam, Ace: The Story of Lt. Col. Ace Cozzalio. Ace passed away in April 1993 at the age of 46 due to complications during a medical procedure.