- Vietnam War Jolly Green Giant S-61R. Notice different fuselage for rear loading ramp
The Sikorsky S-61R, a developed version of the naval SH-3 Sea King, served in the US Air Force in two main roles: The cargo helicopter CH-3C/E and the combat search and rescue (CSAR) variant known as the HH-3E Jolly Green Giant. Eventually both missions would turn over to the much bigger Sikorsky S-65 but these useful machines continued to serve until the 1990s.
SH-3A -> CH-3A
CH-3B based on S-61R from here
BuNos 62-12571 / 12573 - 3 CH-3A - ex Navy SH-3A (149009,149011,149012)
BuNos 62-12574 / 12576 - 3 CH-3B
BuNos 62-12577 / 12582 - 6 CH-3C
BuNos 63-9676 / 9691 - 16 CH-3C
BuNos 64-14221 / 14237 - 17 CH-3C
BuNos 65-5690 / 5700 - 11 CH-3C
BuNos 65-12777 / 12800 - 24 CH-3C
BuNos 66-13278 / 13290 - 12 HH-3E
BuNos 66-13291/13296 - 6 CH-3E
BuNos 67-14702 / 14725 - 24 CH-3E
BuNo 68-8282 - 1 HH-3E
BuNos 69-5798 / 5812 - 15 CH-3E
The Air Force had a dedicated search and rescue (SAR) force during the Vietnam war consisting initially of HH-43 Huskie helicopters (call sign Pedro). These were replaced by specially equipped HH-3 Jolly Green Giant ( and later by the HH-53 ) which were escorted by propeller-driven A-1 Skyraiders (call sign Sandy) specifically chosen because of its ruggedness, long endurance, heavy payload and ability to stay with the slower helicopters.
CH-3E Helicopters were also fitted as MARS birds for Mid Air Retrieval System. From 1964 drone operations in Vietnam for Reconnaissance/ELINT gathering operations were conducted in cooperation with DC-130 Hercules aircraft.
On December 1965 a USAF CH-3 made the first-ever helicopter inflight refueling connection. After the technique was refined, all later HH-3Es were produced with refueling probes for aerial-refueling.
New York Guards Remembered Jolly 85 Crash, 14-Jun-18 : New York Air National Guard remembered the 7 airmen killed on June 13, 1978 HH-3E “Jolly 85” accident. The “Jolly Green Giant” rescue helicopter crashed into Trembleau Mountain outside of Keeseville, NY
USAF Combat, Search and Rescue Evolution, 17-May-18 : #CSAR From the YR-4 rescue in Burma during WWII, through the HH-43 Huskie and HH-3E Jolly Green Giant in Vietnam, to nowadays Pave Hawks, the combat search and rescue will continue to evolve and grow