The 41st Rescue Generation Squadron began the first-ever phase inspection of an HH-60W Jolly Green II rescue helicopter January 6, 2022. The roughly 42-day inspection will serve as preventative maintenance and reveal how well the Whiskey has stood up to its first 720 flight hours. The inspection will also provide time for addressing maintenance issues that have been delayed until inspection and an opportunity to learn more about how the Whiskey has handled its first year in service. Leaders from around the base, and even other wings, have stopped by the 41st RGS to see the first inspection in action and get an idea of what to expect. Standardization is key to helping units across the Air Force be better prepared. Setting that standard is no easy job, but the Airmen of the 41st RGS have proven to be more than up to the task.
“This inspection is definitely adding value to the process,” said Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Bagley, 41st RGS phase coordinator. “Who knows what things we couldn’t see or didn’t know about? You can scrub it all day, and run practice inspections, but you never really know what’s going on until you get under the hood.”
“It’s a new aircraft so there have been a lot of conversations with Sikorsky representatives and engineers. It’s a very extensive and in-depth process than other inspections tend to be. We’re setting the benchmark for how these procedures will look for everyone going forward. We’re setting a standard, and it’s been cool to have our squadron commander, wing commander and people from other bases come down to see the process,” said Master Sgt. Nick Russell, 41st RGS phase inspection section chief, about the relationship between the aircraft manufacturer and Air Force maintenance professionals.
The delivery of the new model is significant to the personnel recovery mission as it begins the transition from the predecessor, the HH-60G Pave Hawk model, which has been flown for more than 26 years. The HH-60W comes equipped with a wide range of capabilities that will ensure its crews continue carrying out their critical combat search and rescue and personnel recovery operations for all U.S. military services and allies in contested and diverse environments. The primary mission of the HH-60W helicopter will be conducting day or night operations into hostile environments to recover isolated personnel during war. The platform will also be tasked to perform military operations other than war, including civil search and rescue, medical evacuation, disaster response, humanitarian assistance, security cooperation/aviation advisory, NASA space-flight support, and rescue command and control.
The service in February unveiled the name of its new combat rescue helicopter, which follows the tradition of the Vietnam-era HH-3E Jolly Green and the HH-53 Super Jolly Green. The original chopper earned its nickname from a mashup of its green exterior paint and a toga-clad, green-hued cartoon giant featured in a 1960s-era canned-vegetable advertising campaign. The delivery of the two helicopters marks the beginning of the service’s transition away from the HH-60G Pave Hawk model, which airmen have been flying for more than 26 years. The service will continue to use Pave Hawks until the planned acquisition of 108 Jolly Green IIs is complete. The U.S. Air Force will continue to utilize the HH-60G model until the transition is complete.