Sikorsky HH-3 Jolly Green Giant

Jolly Green Giant

A Jolly Green Giant taking off from the Da Nang Air Base, 1968.

The HH-3 “Jolly Green Giant,” introduced in 1965, was an innovation on the SH-3 Sea King, a naval helicopter designed for surface and anti-submarine warfare. The HH-3, by contrast, was designed as an aircrew rescue craft, capable of running missions deep into enemy territory. Unlike the SH-3, the HH-3 was able to stay in the air almost indefinitely, thanks to the addition of a forward fuel boom on the craft’s nose; with this innovation, the HH-3 could be refueled aerially with the assistance of a specially-equipped HC-130 cargo plane. chieving flight distances otherwise impossible with similar craft, including the world’s first transatlantic flight by helicopter. Unlike its naval variant, the HH-3 sported an army green paint job, prompting the nickname “Jolly Green Giant” among the rank and file. While the Jolly Green Giant was designed as a rescue craft, it could also be used in a utility capacity, with room for 25 combat-ready soldiers or 5,000 pounds of cargo inside its rear bay. In 1967, Sikorsky introduced an up-scaled cargo variant, the CH-53 Super Stallion, which was affectionately known to the troops as the “Super Jolly Green Giant.”

[1] Olive-Drab. “CH-3 Jolly Green Giant Helicopter,” accessed December 2, 2018.