Aerospace Rescue and Recovery




HH-53 of the 40th ARRS escorted by A-1H (52-134472/52-134609) aircraft of the 1st Special Operations Squadron

Image Courtesy of Joseph W. Brown Jr.


HH-53 at Nakhon Phanom RTAFB, Thailand - ca. 1971

Image Courtesy of Terry Moore

The 40th ARRS was located at Udorn RTAFB with 6 HH-53 Jolly Green Giant Helicopters.

Information from: www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a586313.pdf

Lineage.   Constituted as 40 Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, activated, and organized, on 21 Mar 1968. Inactivated on 31 Jan 1976. 

Assignments.  3 Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Group, 18 Mar 1968; 41 Aerospace Rescue and Recovery (later, 41 Rescue and Weather Reconnaissance) Wing, 20 Aug 1972-31 Jan 1976.

Operational Components. Detachments: 1 (Nakhon Phanom RTAFB, Thailand): 18 Mar 1968-1 Jul 1971. 3 (Ubon RTAFB, Thailand): 20 Aug 1972-20 Aug 1974. 5 (Udorn RTAFB, Thailand): 20 Aug 1972-30 Sep 1975. 7 (Da Nang AB, South Vietnam): 11 Dec 1972-10 Feb 1973. 8 (Takhli RTAFB, Thailand): c. Dec 1972-31 Jan 1973. 10 (Takhli RTAFB, Thailand): 31 Jan 1973-30 Jul 1974. 12 (U-Tapao RTAFB, Thailand): 20 Aug 1972-31 Jan 1976. 14 (Tan Son Nhut AB, South Vietnam): 15 Sep 1972-10 Feb 1973.

Stations.  Udorn Afld (later, Udorn RTAFB), Thailand, 18 Mar 1968; Nakhon Phanom RTAFB, Thailand, 28 Jul 1971; Korat RTAFB, Thailand, 15 Sep 1975-31 Jan 1976.

Commanders.   Lt Col James M. Dixon, 18 Mar 1968; Lt Col Chester R. Ratcliffe Jr., c. Aug 1968; Col Charles R. Campbell, 21 Jul 1969; Lt Col Edward S. Modica, 10 Jun 1970; Lt Col Ervin F. Rees, 8 Feb 1971; Lt Col Phillip R. Gonzales, 15 Apr 1971; Lt Col John H. I. Morse, 25 Jun 1971; Lt Col William E. Moore, 11 Sep 1971; Lt Col Phillip R. Gonzales, 21 Dec 1971; Lt Col Clifford E. Brandon, 7 Mar 1972; Lt Col Hubert M. Berthold, c. Dec 1972; Lt Col Ned G. Duffield, 9 Apr 1973; Lt Col Hubert M. Berthold, 7 May 1973; Lt Col Herbert R. Zehnder, 7 Sep 1973; Maj Ralph K. Gee, 4 Oct 1973; Lt Col Herbert R. Zehnder, 16 Oct 1973; Lt Col Norman B. Kamhoot, 10 Nov 1973; Maj Laurence W. Burnett, 26 Feb 1974; Lt Col Norman B. Kamhoot, 9 Mar 1974; Lt Col Joseph P. McMonigle, 18 Oct 1974; Maj Gordon L. Hall, 8 Dec 1974; Lt Col Joseph P. McMonigle, 2 Jan 1975; Lt Col Eldon D. Woodward, 9 Jul 1975; Lt Col Walter L. Lindsey, 1 Oct 1975-31 Jan 1976.

Aircraft/Missiles.   HH-3, 1968-1970; HH-53, 1968-1976; HH-43, 1971-1975; HC-130, 1975-1976 

Operations.   Search and rescue operations during the war in Vietnam. Participated in the evacuation of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and Saigon, South Vietnam, when those cities fell to communist forces in 1975. After hostile forces seized the American merchant ship Mayaguez that same year, took part in an assault on Koh Tang Island, Cambodia.

Service Streamers.   None.

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

Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamers.  None.

Decorations.  Presidential Unit Citations (Southeast Asia): [18 Mar 1968]-31 Jan 1969; 1 Feb 1969-30 Apr 1970; 1 May 1970-31 Mar 1972; 1 Apr 1972-27 Jan 1973. Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards: 24 Jan-2 May 1975.  Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/Palm: 18 Mar 1968-28 Jan 1973.


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.

Information also from: "The USAF Helicopter in SEA 4 Dec 1968  -  www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a586313.pdf



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