Marines Will Use Helos To Train
The last operational UH-3H Sea
King helicopter was retired from the U.S. Navy. last
month, during a ceremony ending 50 years of service by the Sea
Capt. Andrew Macyko, Patuxent River Commanding Officer and
former Sea King pilot and squadron commander, presided over the
"This ceremony is for all the maintainers, the support people
and crews who flew the mighty Sea King over the decades," said
Macyko. "The Sea King was a pleasure to fly and was the longest
serving operational helicopter model in Navy history."
This Sea King will continue to serve the nation as it is turned
over to Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) for use as a
training and test asset for the Presidential VH-3D fleet,
The first Sea King prototype flew on Mar. 11, 1959. The last
operational Sea King, tail number 154121, was manufactured in 1986
and flew 10,166.2 hours over the course of its lifetime. Its final
operational missions were flying Search and Rescue and other
utility missions in support of flight test programs here at Pax
Rear Adm. Ron Christenson (U.S. Navy ret.), a former Sea King
pilot, Sea King squadron commander and was the first helicopter
pilot to command a U.S. nuclear aircraft carrier, USS Theodore
Roosevelt (CVN 71), was the guest speaker.
"The trusty Sea King was an amazing machine," said Christenson.
"It's truly one of the greatest aircraft ever designed. The Sea
King was a multi-mission helicopter before they invented the term.
But as great as the Sea King was, it's the people who maintained
it, supported it and flew in it that really made it what it
It's estimated that Sea King helicopters flew more than 5.2
million flight hours in military service and three to four million
flight hours in civilian service added Christenson.
"As we turn over the keys to the Marines of HMX-1, we know you
will take good care of her because you know it will take good care
of you," said Christenson.
After Christenson's speech, Macyko turned over the log books to
Col. Jerry Glavy, HMX-1 Commanding Officer, transferring Sea King
154121 to HMX-1 and officially ending Sea King service to the U.S.
The H-3 Sea King or one of its variants has been flown by all
the Services in the Department of Defense, the U.S. Coast Guard, by
23 different countries and it remains a front line military
helicopter in many of those countries today. The U.S. Marine Corps
remains the last U.S. military service to operate the Sea King