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USAF - 3rd ARRG

The following description of the HH43 was provided by Robert LaPointe, SMSGt, USAF(ret) and author of "PJs in Vietnam".

The Kaman Helicopter Corporation manufactured the HH-43 helicopter. This helicopter was never intended to be used in combat. It was designed to be a local base rescue and fire fighting helicopter. This helicopter was known officially by the USAF as the "Husky." But to the air rescuemen who flew it, and to the men it rescued, it was better known as "Pedro." There was normally only one Jolly Green Giant base in Thailand and another in Vietnam. The Pedro's were assigned to several bases inside Vietnam and Thailand. They were assigned as detachments to the 38 ARRS and at one time during the war, there were 14 Pedro detachments. Pedros were designated as local base rescue (LBR) and/or aircrew recovery (ACR). LBR units did not have PJs assigned to them. For most of the war, PJs were assigned to HH-43s designated to accomplish ACR missions. Helicopter mechanics were also assigned as aircrew members at ACR units. Most Pedro units were classified as LBR and they used base hospital medics instead of PJs. All Pedro units also had fire fighters assigned. The normal LBR Pedro crew was a pilot, copilot, medic and two fire fighters. The normal ACR crew consisted of pilot, copilot, PJ and flight mechanic.

This nickname "Pedro" came from the call sign used to identify it in flight. Few Americans are aware that the HH-43 was the first USAF SAR helicopter in the war, the last USAF SAR helicopter to leave Vietnam, and that it was credited with more combat saves than either the HH-3 or the HH-53 Jolly Green Giants. This is remarkable considering that it was unarmed, very small, had a relatively short range and its rotor blades were made of wood. But, the men who flew on it were made out of steel.

Surprisingly, the record for the fastest save of the war is held by a HH43F assigned to the 37ARRS, 41 ARRW DaNang AB. "Pedro 61" flown by Lieutenants Bill Latham and his co-pilot James Moulton. On 23 November 1972, while on a local flight, they monitored a "Mayday" from an OV-10 FAC. To their surprise, the aircraft impacted several hundred yards in front of them and the pilot in his chute floated down toward a paddy. "Pedro 61" followed the chute down and SGt McCoy jumped out and dragged the pilot back to the helicopter. Total elapsed time from ejection to rescue was one minute and thirty seconds.

First introduced to SEA in 1964, Provisional Rescue Detachments were first assigned to:

TDY Unit Date Assigned Location/Designation
33ARS Naha AB, OKI 20Jun64 DET Prov.3 PARC Nakon
Phanom RTAFB 01/09/64
DET4 WARC Paine Fld,WA 08Aug64 DET Prov.1 PARC
Bien Hoa AB,RVN 01/09/64
DET5 WARC McChord AFB,WA 10Aug64
DET1 CARC Glasgow AFB,MT 01Sep64
DET2 CARC Minot AFB,ND 10Aug64 DET Prov.2 PARC
DaNang AB,RVN 01/09/64

The 37th ARRS was the HH3 & HH53(Jolly Green) unit assigned to DaNang AB and the 40th ARRS was the HH3 & HH53 unit at Ubon RTAFB(Royal Thai Air Force Base) and Nakon Phanom(aka:naked fanny) RTAFB.

38th ARS/ARRS activated 01/07/65

UNIT LOCATION
DET1 Phang Rang AB, RVN
DET2 Takhli RTAFB
DET3 Ubon RTAFB
DET4 Korat RTAFB
DET5 Udorn RTAFB
DET6 Bien Hoa AB, RVN
DET7 DaNang AB, RVN
DET8 Cam Rahn Bay, RVN
DET9 Pleiku AB, RVN
DET10 Binh Thuy AB, RVN
DET11 Tuy Hoa AB, RVN
DET12 NaTrang AB, RVN
DET13 PhuCat AB, RVN
DET14 TanSonNhut AB, RVN

Information courtesy of Stephen P. Mock, MSGt, USAF(ret), former HH43 Airborne Rescueman/Firefighter

Click here to visit "PEDRO'S POSSE" Web Page.

Click here to visit the USAF Museum's Web page on A1C William Pitsenbarger's CMH

Click here to visit the Pedro Air Rescue Helicopter Association

Click here to visit the Pedro News


Pedro's House patch
Image courtesy of Peter Marcotte, MSGt, USAF(ret)

Air Rescue Patch
Image courtesy of Stephen P. Mock, MSGt, USAF(ret)


Image courtesy of Stephen P. Mock, MSGt, USAF(ret)

HQ 3rd Air Rescue Group 38th Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron Tan Son Nhut AB,RVN
Image courtesy of Stephen P. Mock, MSGt, USAF(ret)

DET10 38th ARRS Binh Thuy AB,RVN Feb 1969
Image courtesy of TSGt David A. Filut USAF(ret)

Flying I Corps
Image courtesy of Stephen P. Mock, MSGt, USAF(ret)

DET 7 38th ARRS DaNang AB,RVN Hoist Operation
Image courtesy of Stephen P. Mock, MSGt, USAF(ret)

Riverine Medivac
Image courtesy of Stephen P. Mock, MSGt, USAF(ret)

Paddy Landing
Image courtesy of John Holt, USAF(ret)

Crash A-1E DaNang AB,RVN 1966
Image courtesy of Stephen P. Mock, MSGt, USAF(ret)

DET1 38th ARRS Phan Rang AB,RVN
Image courtesy of Stephen P. Mock, MSGt, USAF(ret)

Battle Damage
Image courtesy of TSGt David A. Filut USAF(ret)

Right in the 6
Image courtesy of TSGt David A. Filut USAF(ret)

HH43B DET12, 38 ARRS NaTrang AB,RVN 1968
Image courtesy of Stephen P. Mock, MSGt, USAF(ret)

HH43B DET 6,38 ARRS Bien Hoa,AB,RVN
Image courtesy of Stephen P. Mock, MSGt, USAF(ret)

"Blades of Wood - Men of Steel"

The H-43's blades were made of laminated spruce, hollow and covered with neoprene rubber.
Image courtesy of John Holt, USAF(ret)


HH-43 picture taken near Nakhon Phanom, Thailand. We were on an EOD mission. A fighter had jettisoned a load and it included CBUs. We took an EOD disposal crew out to the site. They searched the area and picked up the bomblets putting them in a cardboard box. They asked us to fly them to a central location near the 'dump' site to dispose them. We did. None of us on the flight crew knew what was in the boxes though.
Image courtesy of Neil McCutchan, Maj. USAFR (Ret), Assigned NKP Jan. thru Jun. '65

DET 2, 38 ARRS Takhli RT AFB 1968
Image courtesy of Stephen P. Mock, MSGt, USAF(ret)

DET 3, 41 ARRW Ubon RT AFB 1972
Image courtesy of John Holt, USAF(ret)

DET 5, 38 ARRS Udorn RT AFB Jan 1968
Image courtesy of Steve Mock, MSGt(ret)

DET 11 38 ARRS Tuy Hoa
Image courtesy of Donald F. Larsen, USAF(ret)

DET 8 Cam Rahn Bay AB
Image courtesy of Steve Mock, MSGt(ret)

DET9 Pleiku AB
Image courtesy of Steve Mock, MSGt(ret)

DET 13 Phu Cat AB Teenie Weenie Airline.jpg
Image courtesy of Charlie Hoell,USAF(ret)

DET 14 TanSonNhut AB 38 ARRS Sep 68
Image courtesy of Steve Mock, MSGt(ret)

Provisional DET 3 Nakon Phanom RTAFB Jun 64
Image courtesy of Steve Mock, MSGt(ret)

Alert at Tay Ninh 1964
Image courtesy of Mark Schibler

Operation Abilene
Image courtesy of Mark Schibler

Air Rescue Codes
Image courtesy of Steve Mock, MSGt(ret)

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