The pilots were invited to participate in the tribe's annual sun dance, a traditional religious and cultural ceremony that honors warriors and elders of the Lakota Sioux tribe that lent its name to the UH-72 Light Utility Helicopter.
"Even now, when they join one of the armed forces, in their society they are considered warriors," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Allen Galbreath, who also flew to the ceremony.
"The Lakota were known as peaceful people, and 'one with the earth,' so that's how this helicopter came to be known as the Lakota. They were disappointed that it didn't have guns on it, though."
"The Lakota are famous for wiping out the 7th Cavalry during the Indian Wars of the 19th century though," said Dunn, noting the irony.
"They are peaceful up to a point!" said Galbreath.
And the Lakota...peaceful? That's not the first word that comes to mind when I think of them.
So these Lakota are proud of their warriors. And they requested a military helicopter to be named for them. But they sought this name to emphasize how they're peaceful, not warlike? Uh-huh, sure they did.
For more on the subject, see Indian Nicknames for Military Craft.