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Sikorsky H-53 Helicopter inducted into United States Air Force national museum

Aug. 5, 2008, Stratford, Conn. - A battle-proven and time-tested Sikorsky Aircraft H-53 helicopter that accomplished Combat Search and Rescue and other demanding missions during the past several decades has been inducted into the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.


August 5, 2008
By Administrator

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Aug. 5, 2008, Stratford, Conn. – A
battle-proven and time-tested Sikorsky Aircraft H-53 helicopter that
accomplished Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) and other demanding
missions during the past several decades has been inducted into the
National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. 
Sikorsky Aircraft is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.

“Sikorsky Aircraft has the longest and most successful record of any
helicopter company in history when it comes to combat search and
rescue, starting in 1944 with the R-4 aircraft and continuing with the
H-53 family,” said Mike Farage, Director of Air Force Programs for
Sikorsky Aircraft. “We are proud that the Air Force has recognized this
legacy with the induction of this aircraft.”    

The CH-53 and its variants, the HH-53 Jolly Green Giant and the MH-53
PAVE LOW, came into service in 1967 and since then have served in some
of the toughest missions. In addition to combat search and rescue,
these missions include armed assault, heavy-lift and troop transport.
Sikorsky is currently developing the next generation heavy-lift, the
CH-53K, for the U.S. Marine Corps, and also has introduced the H-92™
helicopter, which is currently competing for the U.S. Air Force's
Combat Search and Rescue platform.  “The H-92 helicopter is the
culmination of all we’ve learned about combat search and rescue
technology since World War II, which comprises an immense amount of
knowledge and experience,” said John Pacelli, Vice President and
Business Acquisition Manager for CSAR-X. 
During the July 7 induction ceremony, Lt. Gen. Donny Wurster, Commander
of the Air Force Special Operations Command and former MH-53 pilot,
said, “The H-53 fleet has logged countless combat hours, flown in every
contingency in the last 40 years and met the needs of national
objectives time and time again.”

He added, “The machines have seen a couple of generations of these
people come and go, and always they remain … the enduring posture to
respond to the nation's call when needed.”

The H-53 fleet has flown on 13 missions that earned the Air Force
Cross, the second-highest military decoration awarded to a member of
the Air Force, and on missions that resulted in the presentation of 140
Silver Star awards, the third-highest military decoration awarded to a
member of any branch of the U.S. armed forces.

“The distinguished record of the fleet is a testament to the people
behind the aircraft – the designers and engineers who developed the
proven and reliable technology, the people who worked the line
constructing the fleet, and the crews who have maintained it,” Farage
said.

The H-53 and its variants were used extensively during the last four
decades to perform special operations and rescue of combat personnel. 
From the recovery of prisoners of war and downed airmen during the
Vietnam War to the daring missions performed during Operation Desert
Storm, including the first successful combat rescue of a downed pilot,
the aircraft have repeatedly proven their capability.

The representative aircraft inducted into the U.S. Air Force Museum was
known for its ability to sustain damage and keep flying.  It served as
the command and control helicopter in the rescue attempt of American
prisoners from the Son Tay prison camp in North Vietnam in 1970. For
the mission, the crew received an Air Force Cross and four Silver Star
decorations.

The aircraft, tail number 68-10357, operated for 38 years, often
surmounting great odds to bring its crews home safely. It completed its
final mission on March 28, 2008, in Iraq. The remaining MH-53s will
retire by Sept. 30.

“Even with the retirement of aircraft 68-10357 and the remaining Air
Force contingent of CH-53 helicopters, more than 360 H-53 variants will
remain flying, still proudly serving the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, as
well as the armed forces of Germany, Japan, and Israel,” said Mark
Cherry, Vice President, Marine Corps Programs for Sikorsky.  “And we
are proud of the fact that we are writing the next chapter in the
legacy of the CH-53 platform, the CH-53K helicopter.”

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader
in helicopter design, manufacture, and service. The company's long
commitment to safety and innovation is reflected in its mission
statement: "We pioneer flight solutions that bring people home
everywhere… every time™." United Technologies Corp., based in
Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high-technology products and
support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.
 


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