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Boeing CH-46D Sea Knight Serial 153389

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Medal of Honor Winner

Blood Sweat & Tears

The CH-46D Sea Knight helicopter is used by the Navy for shipboard delivery of cargo and personnel. The CH-46E is used by the Marine Corps to provide all-weather, day-or-night assault transport of combat troops, supplies and equipment. Troop assault is the primary function and the movement of supplies and equipment is secondary. Additional tasks may be assigned, such as combat support, search and rescue, support for forward refueling and rearming points, aeromedic evacuation of casualties from the field and recovery of aircraft and personnel.

The CH-46 first was procured in 1964, and has been the primary combat assault helicopter for the Marines since then. The CH-46E is a versatile workhorse, with the capability to transport Marines ashore during an amphibious invasion, move equipment, weapons, and supplies, and serve as a search-and-rescue aircraft. A typical performance occurred 9-31 December 1992 in and about Mogadishu, Somalia, when the aircraft of the 15th MEU averaged about eight hours of flying per airframe per day, with 10 of 12 aircraft assigned being in the air. The Corps is doing all possible to keep the CH-46s flying until the medium-lift replacement for it, the V-22, finally is fielded and toward that end has initiated a Dynamic Component Upgrade Program intended to increase its reliability. stared in early 1996, included improved flight controls, rotor heads, and drive train aimed at restoring the CH-46 to 24,300-pound maximum gross weight. However, this was a safety modification which did not improve capability.

The United States Marine Corps has been flying the CH-46 Sea knight helicopter, commonly known as the "Phrog," since 1962. The Phrog is a descendant of Boeing's first turbine-powered helicopter--the Boeing 107 -- which first appeared in 1958, and which is still flying various missions throughout the world. In 1961, the USMC picked the CH-46 as its new medium-lift troop transport, replacing the ageing UK-34. Over 600 Phrogs were delivered to the USMC between 1962 and 1971. By the early 1990s fewer than 250 airframes were still flying in the Corps.

Readily identified among current Navy and Marine Corps helicopters are the H-46 series Sea Knights, with their tandem rotor configuration setting them apart from the single rotor design of other Navy/Marine helos. Tandem rotors have been a feature of all production helos built by Boeing/Vertol, and its original predecessor company, Piasecki.

The H-46 “Sea Knight” helicopter is one of the largest helicopters in the US Navy inventory. The “Sea Knight” is a twin-turbine powered, dual-piloted, tandem rotor helicopter designed by the Boeing Company Vertol Division. The aircraft is 16 feet 8 inches tall. There are six rotor blades on the aircraft, each measuring 25 feet 6 inches. With blades spread, the aircraft is 84 feet 4 inches long. The average weight of the H-46 is 18,000 pounds, with a maximum lift capability of 6,000 pounds. It can carry 25 combat-loaded troops, or can be outfitted to carry medical evacuation litters in case of disaster. It has the fuel endurance to stay airborne for approximately two hours, or up to three hours with an extra internal tank.

The helicopter has the ability to land and taxi in the water in case of emergency, and is able to stay afloat for up to two hours in two-foot seas. Because of its tandem rotor design, the “Sea Knight” is an extremely versatile aircraft. It is able to excel in various flight maneuvers, such as rearward and sideward flight, while other helicopters are extremely limited. This makes the helicopter ideal for its primary Navy mission of vertical replenishment.

The Navy Sea Knight fleet is scheduled to be replaced with the MH-60S Knighthawk.

Click Here to read about the USMC Combat Helicopter Association (Pop A Smoke)

The Museum's CH-46

The Museum's CH-46 is extreamly historic. On January, 1970, US Marine Corps Pfc. Mike Clausen, Jr. earned The Medal of Honor, this country’s highest honor,  for his conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in Vietnam at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.  Pfc. Clausen was a crew chief of a CH-46 helicopter named “Blood, Sweat and Tears.” While  participating in a helicopter rescue mission of a Marine platoon that had inadvertently entered a mine field while attacking enemy positions. Pfc Clausen skillfully guided the helicopter pilot to a landing area cleared by one of several mine explosions. On the ground, 20 Marines were surrounded – 11 of them already wounded.

Clausen repeatedly left the safety of the chopper to get them home alive. Despite the ever-present threat of further mine explosions, he continued his valiant efforts, leaving the comparatively safe area of the helicopter on 6 separate occasions to carry out his rescue efforts. Clausen was the only enlisted member of Marine Corps Aviation to win the Medal of Honor during Vietnam.Now this historic helicopter resides at the Carolinas Aviation Museum. This helicopter not only saw combat in Vietnam but in Iraq also. It received combat damage in Iraq and was considered uneconomical to repair. Because of the historic significance of this particular aircraft, the U.S. Marine Corps would not abandon it in Iraq. With the assistance of a US Air Force C-5A crew, it was taken apart and flown back to Cherry Point Marine Corps Base, North Carolina.

It is in the process now of being completely repaired, restored, and will be put on permanent display in honor of the U. S. Marine Corps and Pfc. Clausen.  There are very few helicopters and aircraft that have been saved with as much history as this CH-46, Sea Knight.

On loan from the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Quantico, VA.


Photo: CH-46D in Vietnam. Photo provided by "POP A SMOKE" USMC/Combat Helicopter Association ".





Click HERE to read the Press Release regarding this aircraft.

Some of the History of the Museum's Helicopter - Please contact Shawn Dorsch if you have any information to add.

Delivered to the United States Marines as a CH-46D
Assigned to HMM-365, New River
Assigned to HMM-264 aboard Guadacanal
Assigned to HAMRON 56 COSA, Santa Ana
Assigned to HMM-263, Phu Bai/Marble Mountain/Quantico
Mike Clausen and the Helicopter crew rescue 20 Marines from a minefield in Vietnam. Clausen awarded the Medal of Honor for this action.
Assigned to H&MS16 COSA, Santa Ana
Assigned to HMM-263, Quantico
Assigned to HMM-262, Kaneohe
Assigned to MCAS Kaneohe
Assigned to SO&MS Kaneohe
Assigned to FAWPRA Atsugi for overhaul
Assigned to NAS Cubi Point
Assigned to HC-3 Det 106, aboard White Plains/Midway
SA/11     HC-3 Det-106  USS White Plains
Converted to a CH-46E
Assigned to HMM-165
Assigned to HMM-161
Assigned to HMM-163
Assigned to HMM-164
Assigned to HMM-268
Assigned to HMM-161
Assigned to HMM-265
Assigned to HMM-165
Assigned to HMM-364
Assigned to HMM-268 and wore tail code YQ and modex 11
Assigned to HMM-166
SR+M Upgraded
Assigned to HMM-163
Assigned to HMM-268
Assigned to HMM-161 with tail code YR and modex 11
Assigned to HMM-165
Assigned to HMM-161
Assigned to HMM-161 with tail code YR and modex 00

Suffered a hard landing in Iraq

Al Asad, Iraq - Prepared by NADEP JAX for shipment to Cherry Point NADEP
Returned to the Cherry Point MCAS NADEP
Aircraft Stricken
Arrived at the Museum
Restoration begun by Museum Staff
Note: The final flight was in support of a VIP flight in Iraq. Crew on the final mission were:
Pilot:    Capt Mathew "Crunch" Kucharski
C/P:     Capt Scott "Goober" Horton
C/C:     Sgt George Meyer
Obs:    Sgt Austin Spicer

Manufacturer: Boeing Vertol Company

Delivered to US Military 3/30/1967


Engine Type : Two General Electric GE-T58-16 engines at 1770 SHP


Main Rotor span: 50 feet

Length: 84 feet 4 inches (Rotors unfolded)

Height: 16 feet 8 inchs

Takeoff wt. empty/max. 11,585 lbs. / 24,300 lbs.


Maximum speed : 145 mph

Combat range : 132 nautical miles for assault mission

Service ceiling : 10,000+ feet


Two .30 cal machine guns or .50 cal machine guns on flexible mounts in the doors


Crew: Normal: 4 - pilot, copilot, crew chief, and 1st mechanic,Combat: 5 - pilot, copilot, crew chief, and 2 aerial gunners

Combat: max. of 22 troops and two aerial gunners
Medical evacuation: 15 litters, two attendants
Cargo: 5,000 pounds (2270 kg) maximum

This aircraft is on loan from the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Quantico, VA.

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