AFSOC   Right Corner Banner
Join the Air Force

News > PAVE LOW dedicated into AF Armament Museum
 
Photos
Previous ImageNext Image
MH-53 lands at AF Armament Museum
MH-53 tail No. 73-1652 lands at the Air Force Armament Museum near Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Sept. 5. The helicopter, from the 20th Special Operations Squadron, is the first addition to the museum in almost 10 years. It represents the fleet of MH-53s, which have been in service since the Vietnam War and will be retired from Air Force inventory Sept. 30. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Emily Moore)
Download HiRes
PAVE LOW dedicated into AF Armament Museum

Posted 9/10/2008   Updated 9/10/2008 Email story   Print story

    


by 1st Lt. Lauren Johnson
1st SOW Public Affairs


9/10/2008 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- An MH-53 PAVE LOW helicopter took its final flight Sept. 5, landing outside the Air Force Armament Museum near Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

The helicopter, from the 20th Special Operations Squadron, 1st Special Operations Wing, will remain right where it landed as part of the museum's collection, representing the fleet of MH-53s that will be retired from Air Force inventory Sept. 30.

"This is a wonderful aircraft that served its country proudly for over the past 35 years," said George Jones, the museum director, who officiated the dedication ceremony. 

The largest, most powerful and technologically advanced helicopters in the Air Force, the PAVE LOWs have service records dating back to the Vietnam War. They opened the air war in Operation Desert Storm, flew reconnaissance missions over Ground Zero in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, and have since been continuously deployed in support of the Global War on Terrorism.

For MH-53 tail No. 73-1652, much of that history involves Lt. Col. Sean Hoyer, who piloted the aircraft en route to the museum. In fact, it carried him through his first combat mission in Bosnia almost exactly 11 years ago.

Hoyer later flew the same aircraft in Iraq. He said bringing it to its final resting place at the museum is "bittersweet."

"All of us know it's the end of an era," he said. "I had a really good time. I was privileged to work with some of the best people I could ever know."

The flight was also the finis flight, the last flight in the airframe, for Hoyer and Master Sgt. Jason Rushing, a flight engineer.

"It's a fitting end," Rushing said, "putting it in a place where other people can appreciate its history."

The crew said 1652's final flight was uneventful, but their squadron didn't let it go without ceremony. Upon exiting the aircraft, Hoyer, Rushing and their crew were attacked from above - with a bucketful of water.

"I saw the bucket from afar, so I kind of figured it would happen," Hoyer said.
The ceremonial dousing is tradition for finis flights.

The MH-53 is the first aircraft to be dedicated to the museum in almost 10 years. It's also the only aircraft ever to be flown to its resting place.

"I think it will be a great thing to show friends and family when the time comes," Hoyer said. 

A handful of PAVE LOWs are still in use in the Middle East, and will fly their last missions in combat before being transported back to the U.S. The final local flight will take place Sept. 16.



tabComments
No comments yet.  
Add a comment

 Inside AFSOC

ima cornerSearch


Site Map      Contact Us     Questions     USA.gov     Security and Privacy notice     E-publishing  
Suicide Prevention    SAPR   IG   EEO   Accessibility/Section 508   No FEAR Act