USMC Retires the Boeing CH-46 Sea Knight
At the start of August, the United States Marine Corps’ CH-46 Sea Knight medium-lift assault helicopter has officially been retired from service after completing its last flight, conducted by Reserve Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 774. Manufactured by Boeing and commonly known as the Phrog, the CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter served the US Navy and USMC medium-lift assault community.
The Specialized and Proven Aircraft Program Office (PMA-226) at Marine Corps Station Cherry Point was responsible for maintaining the aircraft as well as offering important modifications to sustain the aircraft until its retirement. PMA-226 deputy program manager Andy Wilkinson released a statement about the importance of the aircraft: "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."
The US Marine Corps also released a statement: "The CH-46 Sea Knight has faithfully served the Corps for more than half a century. HMM-774's redesignation as Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 774 marks the end of the H-46's service in the Marine Corps, as well as its presence in the skies above Norfolk."
The CH-46 was first launched in 1964 as a commercial aircraft and was later converted to support cargo, assault, and search and rescue roles to replace the H-34 helicopter in Vietnam. The CH-46 will now be replaced by the Boeing and Bell Helicopter jointly developed MV-22 Osprey aircraft.
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