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HH-3 Jolly Green Giant

The HH-3E helicopter is a modified version of the CH-3 transport helicopter. Fifty CH-3Es were converted to HH-3Es. These 50 CH-3Es were modified for combat rescue missions with armor, defensive armament, self-sealing fuel tanks, a rescue hoist, and in-flight refueling capability. It was developed for aircrew rescue missions deep into North Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Many downed aircrews were rescued by Jolly Green Giants and their crews. At least nine USAF surplus CH-3Es and HH-3Es were purchased by the US Coast Guard to supplement their 40 HH-3Fs.

The HH-3E, which arrived in Vietnam in 1967, gave the Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service (ARRS). a significant capability. Operating out of Udorn, Thailand, and Da Nang, South Vietnam, this helicopter could reach any point in North Vietnam and return to its home base. Capt. Gerald O. Young, ARRS pilot and recipient of the Medal of Honor. His HH-3E crashed during a rescue mission on November 8, 1967. Rather than allow the enemy to use as "bait" for an ambush, he led them away from the crash site. He was rescued the following day. The HH-3E was also specifically modified for rescue operations, to include communications equipment that was compatible with all other Allied aircraft operating in Southeast Asia. Today, the HH-3E continues its proud heritage with ARRS, and is an integral part of the Military Airlift Command's search and rescue mission.

The first non-stop trans-Atlantic flight by a helicopter was made by two Jolly Green Giants between May 30 and June 1, 1967, when they flew from New York City to the Paris Air Show. During that 4,270-mile flight, which took 30 hours and 46 minutes, each aircraft was aerially refueled nine times. The Jolly Green Giant flew 251 combat missions during Operation Desert Storm.

The HH-3E, the Jolly Green Giant, is a twin-engine, heavy-lift helicopter. It is used for search and recovery of personnel and aerospace hardware in support of global air and space operations. It is also used for combat and special operations. With the ability to operate from land or water, the Jolly Green Giant boasts combat rescue-related equipment including titanium armor plating, jettisonable external fuel tanks, internal self-sealing bladder-type fuel tanks under the cabin floor, a retractable in-flight refueling probe, two 7.62mm machine guns, a forest penetrator and a high speed rescue hoist with 240 feet of cable. The long-range helicopter has a hydraulically operated rear ramp for straight-in loading and a jettisonable sliding door on the starboard side at the front of the cabin. It has a gas turbine auxiliary power supply for independent field operations and built-in equipment for the removal and replacement of all major components in remote areas. The Jolly Green Giant has an automatic flight-control system, instrumentation for all-weather operation, and Doppler navigation equipment. Twin turboshaft engines are mounted side-by-side on top of the cabin, immediately forward of the main transmission. The aircraft also has a retractable tricycle-type landing gear.

The Defense Department's range support for Shuttle flights in the 1980s was extensive, and it applied to civilian as well as military missions. Military rescue forces were stationed at Transoceanic Abort Landing (TAL) sites in Africa and Spain. Shuttle contingency forces at Patrick AFB placed three military HH-3E helicopters (complete with aircrews, medical personnel and pararescue specialists) on alert at the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) at KSC for every Shuttle mission. Forces from the Air Force Reserve, the National Guard, U.S. European Command, US Air Forces Europe, the Coast Guard and the Navy were positioned to support an astronaut bailout during the launch phase of each Shuttle mission.



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