Today in AFJ History

September 15, 2013  

1950: For helicopters, a baptism of fire

Navy corpsmen carry a wounded man from a U.S. Marine Corps HO3S-1 evacuation helicopter to a hospital in Korea on Oct. 3, 1950.

Navy corpsmen carry a wounded man from a U.S. Marine Corps HO3S-1 evacuation helicopter to a hospital in Korea on Oct. 3, 1950.

From the archive: Sept. 16, 1950

Flying ‘Eggbeaters’

Lt. Gen. Lemuel C. Shepherd Jr., Commanding General of the Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, said recently that “Marine Corps helicopters in Korea are adding a new chapter to the history of military science.”

General Shepherd, who made the remark following an inspection trip to the Far East, also said that almost every individual with whom he spoke on the subject offered some personal story to emphasize the valuable part being played by the handful of flying “eggbeaters” now in the Korean theater.

To date the Leatherneck helicopters have been used for reconnaissance, liaison, visual flank security, movement of security patrols from one key location to the next, posting security detachments, and even flying hot food to Marines stationed at advanced outposts. The helicopters have successfully evacuated wounded men from front line positions under fire and, at least once, rescued a fighter pilot from the sea after his plane had gone down.

With more helicopters available, the General pointed out, the military uses of the unusual weapon are almost unlimited. The Korean conflict marks the first time that the “eggbeaters” have been tested in actual combat, and the Marine Corps said that “their extreme value as a military weapon is established beyond dispute.”

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