| ||163787 was the fifth HH-60H model off the line. She spent a bit of time with VX in Pax River, and the rest of her life between HCS-4, HCS-5, and HSC-84. She served as side number "206" with HCS-4, "302" with HCS-5, and "202" with HSC-84.|
HCS-4/5 and HSC-84/85 trace our lineage back to the SEAWOLVES of HA(L)-3, a Navy special operations UH-1 squadron established in Vietnam to provide Close Air Support over the Mekong Delta. HA(L)-3 established on 1 April 1967 and disestablished 27 March 1972, never having been stationed in the continental US. In 1975, the Navy decided to re-establish the SOF capability in the Reserves, and commissioned HA(L)-4 (Norfolk) and HA(L)-5 (Point Mugu, CA). The units became HCS-4/5 in 1989, and HSC-84/85 in 2006.
The aircraft survived three major mishaps over her 26 active years, including a tail rotor disconnect failure in a 60-foot hover in 1996 (HCS-4, Norfolk) and loss of rotor authority while flying a high-altitude mission in northern Iraq in 2003. The aircraft did two complete 360-degree rotations, and came to rest on the edge of a 500 foot cliff. Impact crunched a number of panels under the tail boom, all repaired by US Army Depot facilities in Baghdad. Artisans stenciled "GO ARMY, BEAT NAVY" on the inside of each panel.
She deployed to Iraq four times in eight years, including the very first deployment in 2003. She posed for our first OIF squadron photo shortly after the fall of Baghdad. The airframe accumulated just over 1800 combat hours in 8 years.
Upon returning from her fourth trip to Iraq in 2010, 163787 was earmarked to receive a special paint scheme in honor of the Centennial of Naval Aviation. Was decided that the scheme would honor the SEAWOLVES and the second-hand UH-1 Hueys they operated in Vietnam. FRC Norfolk applied the Olive Drab paint, and the rest is history. Because of the special scheme, 787 was unable to deploy overseas until repainted grey. Fortunately, this never happened. Prior to painting the aircraft.
The auxiliary tank carries the names of all 44 SEAWOLVES killed in Vietnam, and the nose carries the HA(L)-3 insignia.