Aerospace Rescue and Recovery




Operations of the 37th ARRS at Da Nang provide a good example of the utilization of USAF helicopters in the rescue program. The 37th ARRS became an active squadron on 18 July 1966.- Its mission was to operate and maintain a Search and Rescue (SAR) capability for downed crewmen.

Operations were directed by the 3rd ARRGp at Tan Son Nhut and OL-1 (Operating Location No. 1) located at Monkey Mountain, north of Da Nang AB.  Gulf of Tonkin rescue operations were provided by the 37th ARRS with the HH-3E helicopters beginning in August 1967 when the HU-16B amphibian was phased out of the active inventory. Adequate coverage around the DMZ was provided by two HH-3Es with a dawn to dusk strip alert at Quang Tri and one backup HH-3E at Da Nang. Operations over the Gulf were escorted by USN A-1 aircraft and when the Gulf orbit mission was assigned to the HH-3E (August 1967), the helicopters were refueled by the HC-130P Crown aircraft.

During 1967, the 37th ARRS made 34 percent of all combat rescues made by ARRS he1icopters in SEA. Throughout 1967, there was a tota1 of 411 combat saves in SEA--HH-43 Pedros were credited with 215, Det 1, 37ARRS -NKP was credited with 56, and the 37ARRS at Da Nang credited with 140. 

The list of awards and decorations earned by the members of the 37th ARRS was impressive. Sgt. Duane Hackney, a former Pararescueman with the 37th ARRS became the first living enlisted man in Air Force history to earn the Air Force Cross. The significance of the USAF helicopter in the air rescue missions was viewed through the job of the PJs (Pararescuemen). Their difficult job depended upon the flexibility and performance capabilities of the USAF helicopter in rescue operations.

Above information from: "The USAF Helicopter in SEA 4 Dec 1968  - Approved for public release, distribution unlimited www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a586313.pdf

Lineage.   Constituted as 37 Air Rescue Squadron on 17 Oct 1952.  Activated on 14 Nov 1952.  Inactivated on 8 May 1955.  Redesignated as 37 Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, and activated, on 14 Dec 1965.  Organized on 8 Jan 1966.  Inactivated on 29 Dec 1972. 

Assignments.  3 Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Group, 8 Jan 1966;  41 Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Wing (operational control by 3 Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Group), 20 Aug-29 Dec 1972. 

Stations.  Da Nang AB, South Vietnam, 8 Jan 1966-29 Dec 1972

Commanders.   Maj Rodney F. Redmond, 8 Jan 1966;  Col Alan R. Vette, 1 Jul 1966;  Lt Col Harold W. Wallace Jr., 20 May 1967;  Lt Col William R. Peterson, 23 Jun 1967;  Lt Col Kenneth D. Caughron, 17 Jul 1967;  Lt Col Charles R. Klinkert, 1 Jul 1968;  Lt Col John J. Devlin Jr., 3 Sep 1968;  Lt Col Homer H. Howell, 18 Aug 1969;  Lt Col Sidney A. Sosnow, 10 Dec 1969;  Lt Col Frank S. Catlin, 19 Jan 1970;  Col Albert L. Holcomb, 6 Mar 1970;  Lt Col Royal A. Brown Jr., 12 Feb 1971;  Lt Col William E. Moore, 28 Jun 1971;  Lt Col William M. Harris IV, 12 Sep 1971;  Lt Col Stephen L. Sutton, 2 Jun 1972-unkn. 

Aircraft/Missiles.   HC-130, 1966; HU-16, 1966-1967; HH-3, 1967-1970; HH-53, 1970-1972; HH-43, 1971-1972. 

Operations.   Performed search, rescue, and recovery missions in Southeast Asia, 1966-1972. 

Service Streamers.   None.

Campaign Streamers.   Vietnam:  Vietnam Defensive;  Vietnam Air;  Vietnam Air Offensive;  Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase II;  Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase III;  Vietnam Air/Ground;  Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase IV;  Tet 69/Counteroffensive;  Vietnam Summer/Fall 1969;  Vietnam Winter/Spring 1970;  Sanctuary Counteroffensive;  Southwest Monsoon;  Commando Hunt V;  Commando Hunt VI;  Commando Hunt VII;  Vietnam Ceasefire.

Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamers.  None.

Decorations.  Presidential Unit Citations (Southeast Asia):  8 Jan-30 Jun 1966; 1 Jul 1967-31 Jan 1969; 1 Feb 1969-30 Apr 1970; 1 May 1970-31 Mar 1972; 1 Apr-29 Dec 1972. Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V" Device:  1 Jul-30 Jun 1966.  Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm:  8 Jan 1966-[29 Dec 1972].


The majority of the Information on this page is from the USAF Historical Research Agency: http://www.maxwell.af.mil/au/afhra/

History from the units time in SEA is given.



Looking for information on this and other units that served or supported the Air War in SEA. 

If you have a story, scans of aircraft, bases, ships, unit personnel, insignia or operations that you would like to see posted on these pages please contact the webmaster at the mailbox below.

Thanks for serving. 

Looking forward to your input.




  AVIATION TOP 100 - www.avitop.com     Vote for this Site  

Questions or Comments?


© Copyright 2015 by Air War Vietnam.Com. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise noted, all text and pictures are the property of Air War Vietnam. Com or the original contributor and cannot be used without written permission.