Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Apolinar Garcia, left, and Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 1st Class Keith Heatherly direct CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters.
SOUTH CHINA SEA (Apr. 14, 2009) Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Apolinar Garcia, left, and Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 1st Class Keith Heatherly direct CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters taking off with Armed Forces of the Philippines Marines from the amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2). The marines are aboard Essex for training exercises during Balikatan 2009. Essex is participating in Balikatan 2009, an annual combined, joint-bilateral exercise involving U.S. Military and Armed Forces of the Philippines personnel as well as subject matter experts from Philippine Civil Defense Agencies. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Greg Johnson) File# 090414-N-9950J-155
Known as the "Phrog", the Sea Knight was used in all U.S. Marine operational environments between its introduction during the Vietnam War. The type's longevity and reputation for reliability led to mantras such as "phrogs phorever" and "never trust a helicopter under 30". During the 1940s and 1950s, American rotorcraft manufacturer Piasecki Helicopter emerged as a pioneering developer of tandem-rotor helicopters; perhaps the most famous of these being the piston-powered H-21 "Flying Banana", an early utility and transport helicopter. During 1955, Piasecki was officially renamed as Vertol Corporation (standing for vertical take-off and landing); it was around this time that work commenced on the development of a new generation of tandem rotor helicopter. During 1956, the new design received the internal company designation of Vertol Model 107, or simply V-107; this rotorcraft differed from its predecessors by harnessing the newly developed turboshaft engine instead of piston-based counterparts. In 1960, American Boeing acquired Vertol and in 1961, it was announced that Boeing Vertol had been selected to manufacture its model 107M for the U.S. Marine Corps. Following the Sea Knight's first flight in August 1962, the military designation was changed to CH-46A.