100 Navy Seawolves to fly with Honor Flight San Diego

100 Navy Seawolves to fly with Honor Flight San Diego

SAN DIEGO — Honor Flight San Diego is scheduled to launch an all-Vietnam Veteran flight this fall, the nonprofit organization announced Friday.

From Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, Honor Flight San Diego will take 100 Vietnam-era veterans to Washington, D.C. for the first flight in the Honor Flight Network with 130 independent hubs to take a squadron of Navy HA(L)-3 Seawolves, according to the organization.

“The Seawolves are the most decorated Navy squadron of the Vietnam War and in all of Naval Aviation History,” Honor Flight San Diego spokesperson Holly Shaffner said about the only rapid reaction armed helicopter squadron ever commissioned in the U.S. Navy. “No squadron flew more day or night missions, or combat missions as they had over 78,000 missions, over 131,000 flight hours, flew 1,530 medical evacuations, and delivered over 37,000 passengers.”

During the Vietnam War, 2,556 Seawolves served as pilots, aircrew, and maintainers, Shaffner said. Although 44 men died and more than 200 were wounded, the Navy squadron has received numerous high-level awards such as Navy Crosses, Silver Stars, Legion of Merit, Bronze Stars, Purple Hearts, and 219 Distinguished Flying Crosses.

“When units called in ‘Scramble Seawolves’ on the radio, they were in the air within a few minutes,” Shaffner said. “HAL-3 pilots flew the heavily armed helicopters and provided rapid reaction close-air support to a host of naval craft, and often provided dedicated armed reconnaissance and fire support for Navy SEAL operations.”

It wasn’t until 38 years after the Vietnam War for the squadron to be formally recognized when Congress officially acknowledged them in House Resolution 1228 in July 2010, officials said.

With an estimated 60,000 Vietnam Veterans in San Diego County, Honor Flight San Diego is only accepting applications from Navy Seawolves for the fall flight. Seawolves are encouraged to apply at www.HonorFlightSanDiego.org.


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