First USAF H-43/CH-3C Combat Rescue Unit in SEA
When the two CH-3Cs, that were transferred from TAC, arrived at NKP in July 1965, Det 1 38th ARRS became what was probably a first. It was the only Combat Rescue Unit with both the H-43 and the CH-3.
With the original -1 engines, the CH-3C wasn’t able to pick up much and the H-43 could outrun it at 10,000 feet, as the H-3 would encounter blade stall at about 65kts.
George Martin, Phil Stambaough and Fred Liebert (now deceased) were the original "Jolly Greens" who flew missions along with the H-43s. During the period of May through October 65, 8 pilots were picked up out of NVN. The H-43s recovered five and the H-3s recovered three.
Most of the time the CH-3Cs worked alone (one bird) out of Lima Site 36 for the deep north missions. The CH-3s made their first pickup of Frank Tullo on the 27th of July.
When George made their first pickup, the hoist went down and only came part way back up. They had to carry Tullo on the end to a rice paddy and have Curtis Pert, HM, and George Thayer, PJ pull him in. Check this link for the story of this rescue mission-- http://user.icx.net/~arlisk/rescue2.html
The engines were not only small, they power deteriorated badly, and George had to over boost and over temp getting out of there. They had to change one engine when they got back to Site 36. They didn’t have any remote area stands to change it, so the guys threw a rope over the rotor blades, dropped out the bad one, and put on a good one that Air America flew in.
George, Orvil Keese, Pert and Thayer made the pickup of Tullo, 27 Jul 65 with 685. Phil Stambaugh, George M, Francis Hill, James Armenia and George Thayer picked up Dean Pogreba, 24 Aug 65 in 676, (I believe that one of our 43s flew as high bird on that one). The last pickup was made on 21 Sep 65 in 685 when George M, George Warren, Diggs, Tart and Scherzer picked up Greenwood. (The day after Tom (Curtis) & crew was shot down on HH-43B/62-4510.). The one in the AF Museum at Wright Pat, 776, is the one that George had. You can still find the bullet holes in it. (As I remember, Joe Ballinger)