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ROTORCRAFT PIONEERS


NAVAL ROTORCRAFT PIONEERS BY BRAD MCNALLY


As you read this article it is almost a certainty that somewhere on the high seas there is a helicopter belonging to one of the U.S. naval services conducting naval operations. For the past 60 years these operations have been commonplace. That was not the case in the early 1940s when helicopters were in their infancy. No one tried to apply the helicopter’s unique capabilities to the naval environ- ment until mid World War II.


This all


changed thanks to a group of dedicated individuals who saw the significant con- tributions that helicopters could add to the Coast Guard, Navy and Marine Corps. This article showcases three true Naval Rotorcraft Pioneers.


Commander Stewart R. Graham, USCG


During World War II the German submarine threat was of great concern to the U.S. military. This was especially true in the Navy. Increasingly, people began looking to the helicopter to neutralize this threat. In the mid 1940s, the poten- tial for helicopters to counter enemy sub- marines on the high seas was a major sell- ing point used by the Coast Guard to gar- ner Navy support for its new helicopter program. Ultimately, the helicopter’s unique capability to operate off of the back of any flight deck equipped ships and drop listening devices into the water to


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