The CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter commonly known as the “Phrog,” is set to retire and to be flown one last time by Reserve Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 774 on Aug. 1. The CH-46 Sea Knight is a medium-lift tandem rotor cargo helicopter that provides all-weather, day-or-night assault transport of combat troops, supplies and equipment. Assault Support is its primary function, and the movement of supplies and equipment is secondary. Additional tasks include combat support, search and rescue, support for forward refueling and rearming points, casualty evacuation and Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP).(Courtesy Photo of Boeing)
It’s the last hop for the CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter commonly known as the “Phrog.” The helicopter is set to retire and to be flown one last time by Reserve Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 774 on Aug. 1. The retirement ceremony will be held noon to 3 p.m. at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly, Virginia.
The program transitioned to Specialized and Proven Aircraft Program Office (PMA-226) at Marine Corps Station Cherry Point in the early 90’s. Since that time, they have developed, tested and installed critical modifications to sustain the aircraft to retirement, explained Andy Wilkinson, the deputy program manager for PMA-226. These updates extended the aircraft’s lifecycle by 15 years, allowing it to be fundamental in the Marines Corps’ role in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Wilkinson began his career in 1985 as a NAVAIR engineer when the CH-46 was in the sustainment phase of its lifecycle.
“The CH-46 has been on the front line in most every Marine Corps military action in the last 50 years putting troops on the enemy front lines, delivering critical supplies, rescuing wounded service members on the battle field and performing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in response to tragedies around the world,” he said with regard to PMA-226’s role with the H-46 community.
This veteran aircraft has honorably served the Navy and Marine Corps medium lift assault community for 50 years. Originally, it made its debut in 1964 as a commercial aircraft. However, its mission was converted to assault support, cargo and search and rescue roles to replace the H-34 helicopter in Vietnam.
Now the CH-46 Sea Knight will be replaced by the MV-22 Osprey, which will serve the Marine Corps in a similar capacity.