The first helicopter purchased by the Air Force specifically for airborne fire-fighting and air base crash rescue. The twin intermeshing, counter-rotating rotors made the Huskie very stable in flight, and in fact, the downwash actually helped suppress fires. The Navy first bought the Huskie (designated HOK-1 for the Marines and HUK-1 for the Navy) as a general-purpose helicopter. The Air Force H-43A could carry only four passengers, as it was powered by a 600-hp engine that occupied a large part of the cabin. However, the smaller, roof-mounted turboshaft on the HH-43B freed up much interior space. Deliveries of the HH-43B began in 1959, and the type was used for base crash rescue for all flying commands. An H-43B LBR (Local Base Rescue) crew could become airborne in a minute, taking 30 seconds to get airborne and 30 seconds to pick up the fire-suppression kit (foam and water bottle, nitrogen pressure bottle, and hose), and would often beat the fire trucks to a crash scene. A number of H-43B crews set time-to-climb, altitude, and distance records.
In mid-1964, three units were transferred from the Philippines and Okinawa to Southeast Asia for combat rescue. The 33d Air Rescue Squadron assigned to Nakhon Phanom RTAB, Thailand, was the first to begin combat rescue operations, in June 1964. The HH-43F (nicknamed Pedro) featured 800 pounds of titanium armor plating, an uprated engine, and some carried a flexible-mount .30-cal. machine gun for this expanded mission. Most of the B model aircraft were later brought up to HH-43F standard. After the introduction of the Jolly Green Giants (HH-3s), the HH-43s reverted to air base crash rescue duties. HH-43s were also flown by Burma, Colombia, Morocco, Pakistan, Thailand, and Iran. The last of the USAF HH-43s were retired by the early 1970s.
USAF Helicopter Pilot Association
Pictures Page HH-43
Picture contributed by: Lou Anatrella Thanks Lou !
This is one of our Det. 7, 38th ARRS flying out of Danang on a mission to recover a wounded Marine, west of Danang in 1967. The photo was taken by one of the crew of the second H43 on the mission. Picture contributed by: Bill Cline Thanks Bill !
HH-43B’s at Cam Ranh AB, SVN and H-43B fire fighting training, Stead AFB, NV, 1964.
Pictures contributed by: Kyron (KV) Hall
HH-43B over Sandia Mountains (near Kirtland AFB) in 1969. Picture contributed by: Ed Du Chene. Thanks Ed !
HH-43F at Nha Trang AB, South Viet Nam. Pictures contributed by: Ed Du Chene
HH-43 returning from aborted LBR flight, Bien Hoa, SVN 1965. Photo submitted by Joe Connell.
PJ’s view coming up on the rescue hoist, SVN, 1964. Submitted by Joe Connell.
Det 10, 38th ARSq., Bhin Thuy AB, RVN, 1967. Practice mission with members of the Navy River Patrol. On the Mekong River at Navy Hqs. Just off the end of the runway at Bhin Thuy.
Submitted by Don Van Meter