Gala to celebrate copters, M*A*S*H

The theme of this year’s Annual Gala fundraiser at the American Helicopter Museum and Education Center (AHMEC) on Saturday, April 30, honors the men and women who served in the U.S. Army’s Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) units that lasted from 1945 until 2006.

The gala will also pay tribute to the long-standing television program, “M*A*S*H” (1972-1983), that depicted life in the 4077th MASH unit during the Korean War and starred Alan Alda, Mike Farrell and Loretta Swit, among others.

“For the past three years AHMEC has selected themes for the annual gala tied to our collection and our mission,” Marc Sheffler, chairman of AHMEC’s Board of Directors, said in an AHMEC press release. “Nothing in the public's mind epitomizes the use of helicopters to save lives like MASH. The theme also recognizes one of the greatest television series in history and allows us to have fun with the decorations, menu and guest impersonators.”

The formal evening begins at 6 p.m. with an open bar featuring cocktails and the martini from Hawkeye Pierce’s still. It continues at 7:30 with fine dining followed by music and dancing, Hawkeye Pierce and ‘Hot Lips’ Houlihan impersonators, silent and live auctions, and presentation of the AHMEC Achievement Award to Sikorsky’s Autonomous Blackhawk.

“The gala promises an evening of fun and excitement from the signature drink greeting guests as they check in to the elaborate buffet courtesy of the Desmond Hotel,” Sheffler continued in the release. “There will be a special exhibit on medical memorabilia from a local collector, and the live and silent auctions feature some incredible items, including behind-the-scenes tours of the Air and Space Museum and the Barnes Museum, and a meet-and-greet with Frankie Avalon.”

Tickets cost $125 per person and $1,000 per table of 10, and can be purchased by calling the museum at 610-436-9600 or via PayPal on the website at

The American Helicopter Museum and Education Center, located at 1220 American Boulevard, West Chester, is the nation’s premier aviation museum devoted exclusively to helicopters. Established in 1996, the nonprofit organization collects, restores and displays rotary-wing aircraft, including over 35 civilian and military helicopters, autogiros and convertiplanes.

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