After more than 50 years of service to the U.S. Marine Corps, the CH-46 Sea Knight , affectionately known as the “Phrog,” jumped into the history books Aug. 1, with a final flight to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, Udvar-Hazy Center. The group retired its “46s” in a ceremony befitting a platform that has served in such venues as Vietnam, Beirut, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan. Now members of HMM-774, the last USMC operational CH-46 squadron, are preparing for their future aboard the MV-22 Osprey.
Members of HMM-774 got a glimpse of this new mission when they recently visited their future MV-22 Osprey aircraft on the production line at Boeing’s Philadelphia site. The Marine Corps continues to transition to the MV-22 Osprey for its medium-lift helicopter requirement.
“As Marines, we live our Corps Values and learn our history. The ’46’ is a true testament to the designers, manufacturer and the Marines who have put their heart into maintaining the backbone of Marine aviation,” said Lt. Col. Dominic DeFazio, commanding officer of HMM-774. “Our visit to Philadelphia gave the Marines of HMM-774 a look at the future so that we can use our knowledge and expertise to make history with the MV-22.”
Squadron 774 carries with it the legacy of the “Phrog,” the nickname given to the CH-46 for its amphibian-like appearance at takeoff. Boeing has supported the aircraft and the Marines flying them for more than 51 years providing transactional supply-chain support and field-service representatives.
To meet evolving mission requirements, the MV-22 will provide the Marines with advanced capabilities for its future demands. The Osprey can operate as a helicopter or a turboprop aircraft and offers twice the speed, six times the range and three times the payload of the CH-46E Sea Knight.
Squadron 774 is scheduled to receive its MV-22s in January. Boeing’s partnership with the service will continue through a seamless transition in platform support, program officials said.
While the MV-22 certainly changes the way Marines fly, the service will still receive the same world-class support that they have come to expect from Boeing.
Check out this video as the U.S. Marine Corps bid farewell to the “Phrog.”