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In a tribute to its Vietnam War-era predecessor, the U.S. Air Force’s new HH-60W will carry the nickname Jolly Green II after the legendary combat search-and-rescue helicopter famous for plucking downed pilots from lush Vietnam War jungles.
The name was announced Feb. 27 after an HH-60W arrived at the Air Force Association’s annual Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida. A name reveal ceremony was hosted by service Secretary Barbara Barrett.
— Sikorsky (@Sikorsky) February 27, 2020
Ditching the “Hawk” in HH-60G Pave Hawk, not to mention the base-model UH-60 Black Hawk from which it was developed, the Whiskey model will take its name from the HH-3E “Jolly Green Giant.”
First hovering over Vietnam in 1967, the Jolly Green earned its nickname from the huge green footprints it left in jungle battlefields after taking off with a cargo of wounded or a downed fighter pilot. It was the first dedicated combat search-and-rescue helicopter outfitted with enhanced armor protection from ground fire and a rescue hoist.
The HH-3 continued service through the First Gulf War and retired completely by 1995. Eventually it was displaced by the heavier HH-53 Super Jolly Green, which in turn handed the CSAR mission to the current HH-60G Pave Hawk.
Nearly two decades of intense CSAR missions in Iraq and Afghanistan have worn out the G-model Pave Hawks, which required development of the purpose-built HH-60 Whiskey Jolly Green II.
“We respect the long tradition of assigning a moniker that communicates the CSAR mission. Jolly Green II is a fitting tribute to its history and to airmen and women worldwide,” said Dana Fiatarone, Sikorsky’s vice president for Army and Air Force systems. “The name is greatly respected by our workforce — past and present — and it’s an honor to build this critical aircraft for the Air Force and bring it to the symposium today to provide our customer with the opportunity to view the Jolly Green II in person.”