usa Helicopter Combat Support Squadron THREE

US Navy

HC-3 Pack Rats
United States Naval Aviation

1967 to 2005    


Tail Codes
SA 1967/05
Helicopter Combat Support Squadron THREE
Pack Rats, tail code SA, HC-3 was established on September 1st 1967 at Naval Air Station (NAS) Imperial Beach. At that time, HC-3 was the only West Coast VERTREP squadron. Operating from Combat Logistics Force (CLF) ships, HC-3 detachments transferred critical supplies to forward deployed ships via helicopter, affording maximum mobility to the Battle Group. In July 1973, HC-3 moved to its present location aboard NAS North Island.

The squadron celebrated 50,000 Class A Mishap-free hours in 1981.

Redesignated Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron THREE ( HSC-3 ), Merlins, on April 2005.

I am a Plankowner of HC-3. I was the last pilot assigned or should say hijacked By The first CO form HC-1 as I was checking in for my assigned duty., At that time Cdr. Hank Cassani.. We were assigned the 5 quansett huts at Imperial Beach as our base of operations and had a total of seven H46 A , 2 on det rest 5 for base. it took the crew of HC-3 4 month's to have all 5 plus 2 det 46's in up and ready flight status. This Squadron from the CO to the E-1 were a family and I suspect all that followed carried on this tradition. Then we had few of the gadgets that were incorporated in the later versions of the aircraft . But the helo's we used on Det 103 aboard the USS Camden (AOE-3) which was the first Det assigned after the formation of the SQUADRON flew SA-10-& SA-11. on assignment to Support the naval operations in Vietnam. we experienced no safety issues and on frequent trips inland to Vietnam supported our aircraft with need parts and maintenance supplies. We set a record lift of over 8600#'s on that cruise. hope to make a special day in 2017, Sept.1, of course for the 50th Anniversary of formation of HC-3 Pack Rats. See if you can figure out why we called ourselves Pack Rats ?
I was also a Plank Owner in HC-3. I was an ADJ and Aircrew. I arrived at HC-1 in June 66, went to several AD schools in El Toro almost immediately, then Hand to Hand Combat, Survival School at Warner Springs, and lots and lots of training. Brown Field, San Clemente Island. Lots of folks remembered but, I have only seen one since I left Reem Field. Jim Gibson.
I was also a plank owner and deployed DET 102 on board USS Sacramento (AOE-1). Hoping to make contact with other squadron members and especially DET 102 crew. We may all be suffering from AO Exposure and need each support.
This unit as HC3 flew supplies with the H-46 from AFS ships into various bases in Vietnam
Call sign during Vietnam was LANSLIDE
1968-1969, I was a member of HC-3 and remember working out of the quansett huts at NAS Imperial Beach and later was part of Det 103 aboard the USS Camden (AOE-2). I was part of the crew when set the record lift record (8600 lbs) by delivering a jet engine (J79 ?) from the Camden to a carrier (can't remember the name). I also watched the helo crash into the ocean on the last day of our cruise just offf Imperial Beach where I lost some friends. ,I don't remember the dates of that cruise. if you know please let me know
I was on the Camden. And then the San jose I know Drew and Turk. And Manley I was an adj . I'm being treated for SO. Ptsd.
1968-1968, My husband was with HC-3 Det.103 aboard USS Camden (AOE-2) retrieving airplane parts,etc into Da Nang, Vietnam
Aug69, I was an ADJ-3 with HC-3 in Imperial beach. I was there the day the Camden detachment returned, and we (HC-3) lost the helo. I lost a friend myself that day. I left on detachment myself later in Jan-Feb 1970. Served on a total of 4 detachments 1970-1972 as ADJ-2 and as aircrew.
1971-1976, I was an AE-1 made WestPac DETs on USS Sacramento (AOE-1), USS Camden (AOE-2) and USS San Jose (AFS-7) I was A/C vertrep. one of our 46's had the rotor positioning pin slam home while in flight during mine sweeping ops. only casualty we had.
1971-1973, I was with HC-3 when I was commissioned and send to NAS P-Cola. Made deployments on USS Camden and USS Sacramento. Had a great time and loved having four NEC’s. 27 years later retired and spent 15 years with the Space Shuttle program
1973-1976, I was in HC-3. Our tail numbers were SA, not VH
1973-1977, I was a crew chief with the squadron. I was on several deployments and we too picked up the J-79 jet engines spoken of earlier. We had helo instrument problems when leaving the Camden after detachment and had to crash land in Mexico. I was the crew chief on a salvage operation at the base of El Capitan Mt in Yosemite national park, helped find a downed airplane in the Mohave desert, Cross detached during my last year with the squadron. We were sent to Viet Nam with the Camden for only three days to participate in an operation but no records have been produced that it ever happened. I was also on a medivac with a oil rig divers with the bends and had to break into the Navy Seal Base. Never heard whether the guy died or not, he didn't look real good. My stories are many and would like to talk to other HC-3 members at the same time.
1976, I was with Det.102 on the USS Camden. Let me know more about AO exposure. I have health problems
1980, I was with Det.104 on the USS Mars (AFS-1) then cross deck to the USS Flint (AE-32) with CH-46D /04 and /10

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1973/05NAS North IslandKNZY
1967/73NAS Imperial Beach / Ream FieldKNRS


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2002/05S-70 H-60
1967/06107M H-46 Sea Knight

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