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    106th Rescue Wing Receives First New HH-60W Jolly Green II Search and Rescue Helicopter

    106th Rescue Wing Receives First HH-60W Jolly Green II Search and Rescue Helicopter

    Photo By Senior Airman Sarah McKernan | Airmen from the 106th Rescue Wing look at the 106th ’s first HH-60W Jolly Green II...... read more read more



    Story by Senior Airman Sarah McKernan 

    106th Rescue Wing

    Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base, Westhampton Beach, N.Y. – The 106th Rescue Wing’s first HH-60W Jolly Green II search and rescue helicopter touched down at Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base, on Thursday, June 20.

    The arrival of the new helicopter, marks the beginning of a new era as the 106th begins its transition from the HH-60G Pave Hawk to the latest rescue helicopter, said Colonel Shawn Fitzgerald, the 106th Rescue Wing Commander.

    According to Lt. Col. Matthew Forbes, the 101st Rescue Squadron Commander, the current “Golf” models have served the wing since 1990.

    “We are very excited all around and I am so happy to be a part of it and see it happen,” Fitzgerald said.

    The crew that ferried the aircraft from Moody Air Force Base in Georgia to Gabreski included two HH-60W instructor pilots, a special missions aviator, and two HH-60 crew chiefs from the 106th Rescue Wing.

    The 106th crew chiefs met with their maintenance counterparts at Moody to ensure documentation was in order and performed a thorough check of the aircraft before heading to Gabreski, explained Master Sgt. Jordan Butler, an HH-60 crew chief.

    “It’s awesome being a part of the team to bring our first ‘Whiskey’ home, knowing that it’s the first of a new era for the wing is exciting,” said Butler.

    “It’s difficult to go from something that you’ve worked on for 12 years, but a lot of the aircraft is similar, so learning the subtleties and nuances is going to be challenging but I’m excited to begin the transition,” Butler added.

    According to Forbes, maintainers from the 106th have already begun their qualifications training and the first two aircrew members are currently at training receiving their qualifications.

    “I’m excited to have the opportunity to work on the new airframe,” said Senior Airman Ryan Brandon, an HH-60 crew chief. “I’m looking forward to the upcoming challenges as we learn to work and maintain these aircraft.”

    Forbes explained that the HH-60W features improved turn performance, increased hover-at-altitude capabilities, larger cabin space, and an internal fuel system.

    “From a pilot’s perspective, the biggest difference is the avionics package,” said Forbes.

    “You’re going from a federated cockpit to a fully integrated cockpit. There are a lot of upgrades that make us more survivable in major combat operations,” he added.

    According to the Lockheed Martin website, the upgraded avionics suite on the HH-60W includes an integrated mission system which includes a fully integrated cockpit and cabin displays, which reduces aircrew workload and improves effectiveness during missions. Modifications also include externally mounted weapons for increased cabin space as well as improved cabin and cockpit armor.

    The aircraft is also equipped with over-the-horizon tactical data receivers that enable the helicopter to receive near real-time mission and threat update information, enhancing mission effectiveness, Forbes explained.

    “It’s an exciting time to be at the unit and get to see and work with the newest available combat search and rescue helicopter,” Forbes said.

    The 106th will be fully transitioned to the new model by June 2025, when the base receives its sixth HH-60W.

    The 106th Rescue Wing, based at Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton Beach, New York, operates and maintains the HC-130J Combat King II search and rescue aircraft, and the HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopter. The 106th Rescue Wing is home to a special warfare squadron with pararescuemen and combat rescue officers, specializing in rescue and recovery, and deploys for domestic and overseas operations.


    Date Taken: 06.21.2024
    Date Posted: 06.22.2024 22:58
    Story ID: 474561

    Web Views: 427
    Downloads: 1