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Military Connection: Sea Knights Retired: By Debbie Gregory

CH46-05Since 1962, the CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter has been a mainstay of the U.S. Military. The dependable helo, favored by the Navy and the Marine Corps, is being retired.

The helicopter, with its twin-turbine engine and tandem counter-rotating rotors was easily recognizable. In the mid-1960’s, some pilots began referring to CH-46 as Frogs or Phrogs. There are different versions of the story as to the origins of the nickname that have circulated through the Navy and the Marine Corps. One version says it’s due to the way the Sea Knight’s rear sits lower that the front while on deck. Others claim it’s because the helicopter looks like a frog about to hop. Many CH-46 pilots have proudly called themselves “Phrog Flyers.”

The Navy used the CH-46 for a variety of operations, including patrolling, providing ship-to-ship transportation, vertical replenishment, observation, and search and rescue. The Navy used Sea Knights as their standard medium-lift utility helicopter for forty years, until switching to the MH-60 Seahawk in the 1990’s

The Marine Corps has continued to utilize the CH-46 through 2014. The vision of an inbound CH-46 was a welcome sight to a Marine in need of supplies, ammunition or reinforcements. Sea Knight squadrons took part in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The Marine Corps intends to replace the CH-46 with the tilt-rotor aircraft, V-22 Osprey. The last deployment of the Sea Knight was a mission of Medium Helicopter Squadron 364 to support the “Partnership of the Americas” in Chile.

Many Veterans, from the Vietnam era through Marines serving today will remember the CH-46 Sea Knight, and its contribution to their efforts.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Sea Knights Retired: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: ‘Miracle at Sea’: By Joe Silva

Mircle at seaOn September 1, 2014, the flight deck of the USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19) was the setting for a small miracle at sea. A CH-53E Super Stallion was attempting to land on the Mesa Verde, when the helicopter crashed into the water.

The Marine CH-53 went down in the Gulf of Aden, near Djibouti , as it attempted to land on the flight deck of the Mesa Verde. The helo was returning Marines to the ship following a training exercise on the Horn of Africa. There were seventeen Marines and eight Navy sailors on board when it went down.

As a Veteran of the “Gator Navy”, this story hits home for me. I was stationed on the USS Ogden (LPD-5) from November, 2004, until just before she was decommissioned in February, 2007. While serving all over the world on the Ogden, I have steamed in the Gulf Aden, and witnessed flight operations countless times on her flight deck. In two and a half years on the Ogden and another year on the USNS Rainer (TAOE-7), there were numerous opportunities for accidents to occur.

Thankfully, all 25 service members were rescued. The Navy said that there were some unspecified minor injuries, but all injuries were treated in the sickbay on board the Mesa Verde, meaning that the injuries were not severe enough to require transfer to a more comprehensive medical facility.

The USS Mesa Verde, along with other “Gator Navy vessels,” is called an amphibious ship, or “Amphib”, because of its ability to carry United States Marines and their equipment and launch beach landings. The Mesa Verde, an Amphibious Transport Dock, has the capacity to carry up to 800 Marines, and all the gear necessary for an invasion.

The cause of the crash is being investigated, although the Navy has confirmed that it was not caused by any hostile activity.

As a sailor, I know that this successful rescue could only be accomplished through a quick response from the entire crew of the Mesa Verde. From the lookouts, to the bridge, to my comrades in CIC, to the engineers, and the retrieval teams in RHIBS and other helos, it was a team effort. Bravo-Zulu to the entire crew of the Mesa Verde. Job well done.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: ‘Miracle at Sea’: By Joe Silva