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Historical Air Force Helicopter Firsts and Helicopter Records
FIRST USAF ALL-FEMALE HELICOPTER CREW
The first USAF all-female helicopter crew took to the air September 17, 1985 at Ellsworth AFB, SD.
FIRST COMBAT SAR HELICOPTERS TO SEA
On 17 June 1964, 2 HH-43Bs (62-4565 & 62-5978) from the 33rd ARS at Naha AB Okinawa arrived at Udorn RTAFB by airlift. The aircraft were assembled and ready on 19 June. They were flown to NKP on 20 June. They were TDY from the 33rd ARS and consisted of people from Okinawa, Korea and the Philippines. In August 1964 a third aircraft (62-4564) arrived. On 1 September 1964 the unit formed PARC, Det. Provisional 3. The aircraft stood alert during the day.
The first USAF SAR took place on 18 November 1964 with two HH-43Bs (Pansy 88 and 89) into Laos.
The First Helicopter Airlift--In A C-54
On January 17, 1945, a priority radio was received stating that a helicopter was urgently needed to rescue a group of American fliers who had been forced down in Burma. The problem was the helicopter was located at Wright Field in Dayton OH. This is an interesting story of airlifting the YR-4 in a C-54 and of a rescue mission that took place after arrival.
(Thanks to Tom Garcia it is important to note that the first helicopter air lift took place early in 1944. Sikorsky YR-4Bs were airlifted to India aboard Curtiss C-46 Commandos for combat evaluation. Lt. Carter Harmon made the first AAF helicopter rescue in one of these aircraft).
The First Successful Rescue of a Hun Pilot In SEA
From “The Intake”, Journal of the Super Sabre Society, December 2006, Issue Number Two
SUPER SABER SOCIETY HAS GRANTED PERMISSION TO POST THIS DOCUMENT
SPECIAL THANKS FROM USAF ROTORHEADS
R. Medley Gatewood
Editor, The Intake
HH-43B/Alban 21(Low Bird)
Det Prov 2 PARC/NKP
(RCP) Capt Jay Strayer
(RCCP) Capt James Rodenberg
(CC/HM) A1C Cecil Boothby
(PJ) SSGt Ensom “EJ” Farmer
(PJ) SSGT Herbert Romish
F-100D/ PANTHER 02
615 TFS/401 TFW
DaNang AB, RVN
Capt Ronald A Bigoness
31 March 1965
HH-43B Alban 41(High Bird)
Det Prov 2 PARC/NKP
(RCP) Capt Israel Freedman
(RCCP) Capt Warren Davis
(CC/HM) A3C Frank Hanutke
(PJ) SSGT Harold Stroud
(PJ) A2C Eric Anderson
The below picture is believed to be the first picture of a Jolly Green rescue crew and the downed pilot. It was made on 24 August 1965 by a CH-3C, #63-9676, assigned to NKP and the pickup was made in NVN. More can be read on the "1st CH-3 to SEA" page in this section. This particular "save" was the second combat save by the Jolly Greens in SEA.
The above picture is courtesy of Jim Howerton. Dean Pogreba presented this picture to Jim’s father.
Jim’s father served with Dean on several assignments and considered Dean as one of his closest friends. This picture was given to Jim's Dad by Dean Pogreba
The CH-3C flight crew was Phil Stambaugh (P) in the door, Left to Right George Martin (CP), George Thayer (PJ), James Armenia (HM), Dean Pogreba (F-105 Pilot), and Francis Hill (HM)
CH-3C 63-9676 (later became the infamous "Black Maria")
NOTE: The shoot down happened on the 22nd of August 1965, with Maj Dean Andrew Pogreba of the 36TFS, 6441 TFW flying F-105D serial 62-4235 from USAF Takhli. During an armed reconnaissance mission the F-105 was shot down while attacking a target about 25 miles west of Thanh Hoa. Sadly, Maj. Dean Andrew Pogreba was shot down an killed during a raid northeast of Hanoi on 5 October 1965. This information is from a book called "Vietnam Air Losses" and was provided by Sid Nanson.
This picture is courtesy of Jim Howerton. Dean Pogreba is kneeling on the left
and Jim's Father is standing third from the left.
On 5 Oct 65, Dean Pogreba was lost and was later declared KIA/Body not recovered.
CH-3C 63-09685 was shot down on 6 November 1965. See the POW page. This was the first Jolly Green lost in SEA.
CH-3C 63-09685 made the first combat rescue pickup with the CH-3's. Using the call sign of "Jolly Green 1", F-105 pilot Capt. Frank Tullo was picked up by the crew (George Martin-pilot, Orville Keese-co-pilot, Curtis Pert-FE, and George Thayer, P.J.) on 27 Jul 65. This is the first time the call sign of "Jolly Green" was used in a combat rescue.