The USAF named its newest combat rescue helicopter, the HH-60W, the “Jolly Green II,” following the legendary tradition of the Vietnam-era HH-3E Jolly Green and HH-53 Super Jolly Green crews who pioneered the combat search and rescue mission.
The US Air Force (USAF) named its newest combat rescue helicopter, the HH-60W, the “Jolly Green II,” following the legendary tradition of the Vietnam-era HH-3E Jolly Green and HH-53 Super Jolly Green crews who pioneered the combat search and rescue mission.
The name was revealed by USAF Secretary Barbara Barrett at the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 27, 2020.
A model of the HH-60W unveiled on stage showed the famous green feet symbol.
During the ceremony, Barrett recognized retired Col. Barry Kamhoot and retired Chief Master Sgt. Wayne Fisk, honoring them for their distinguished service and contributions to the combat rescue mission. Kamhoot, who flew rescue missions into Vietnam, including a harrowing recovery of two Navy crewmen while under fire, was one of the original Jolly Green pilots that flew HH-3E and HH-53 aircraft.
Fisk manned an HH-3E Jolly Green Giant during the 1970 Son Tay Prisoner Of War Camp Raid and received the Silver Star for his actions. According to the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs news release, he is also credited with being the first to notice the famed “green feet” impressions the HH-3E Jolly Green would leave after landing. The footprints came to symbolize the combat search and rescue mission and are incorporated in the new Jolly Green II logo.
Also honored were Airmen of the 41st and 48th Rescue Squadrons who recently supported Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa and U.S. Special Operations Command East Africa. The crews, designated Jolly 41 and Jolly 42, provided casualty evacuation and emergency close air support to friendly forces while deployed. Notably, the team rescued four critically injured U.S. special operators and two critically injured partner nation members.
Building on the state-of-the-art UH-60M Black Hawk, the HH-60W “Whiskey” adds capability advancements to better support the full range of combat rescue and other special missions. Designed to meet long-range and high threat requirements for the USAF, the Whiskey will expand upon the legendary Black Hawk’s versatility by doubling the internal fuel capacity without the use of space hungry auxiliary fuel tanks, provides a robust weapons suite, and integrates defensive systems and sensors to provide an unprecedented combination of range and survivability. Additionally, by retaining 100% commonality with all UH-60M engine and dynamic systems, the aircraft provides the most sophisticated rotorcraft in the world at an extremely affordable price and total ownership cost over the entire life cycle.
The USAF program of record calls for 113 helicopters to replace the Air Force’s aging HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters, which perform critical combat search and rescue and personnel recovery operations for all US military services and allies.
The following video by Lockheed Martin introduces the HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter that building on the legacy of the Jolly Green Giant, brings new capabilities to the combat rescue mission.
Photo credit: U.S. Air Force