Photo: U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 23rd Wing load an HH-60W Jolly Green II onto a C-17 Globemaster III at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, Sept. 19, 2022. This is the first deployment for the HH-60W and it offers a range of improved capabilities over its predecessor including improved range and survivability. Moody Airmen set out on the first-ever operational deployment of the HH-60W to provide rescue services in support of contingency operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Deanna Muir)
VALDOSTA – The HH-60W Jolly Green II helicopter performs the first rescue and deployment mission since first arriving to Moody AFB.
The HH-60W Jolly Green II helicopters had the first deployment and first rescue mission since the first one arrived to Moody in November of 2020. Since the arrival of the first HH-60W, our Airmen have worked diligently to secure initial operational capability for this aircraft. The HH-60W replaced its predecessor, the HH-60G Pave Hawk model, which has been flown for more than 26 years.
The 23rd Wing at Moody Air Force Base was the first wing to receive the HH-60W, pioneering the Air Force’s transition to the new model. On Oct. 4, 2022, Gen. Mark Kelly, the commander for Air Combat Command, declared the HH-60W has reached initial operational capability.
Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of Air Combat Command, declared the HH-60W Jolly Green II has reached initial operational capability on Oct. 4.
The declaration signifies that the U.S. Air Force now possesses sufficient HH-60Ws, logistics requirements and trained Airmen to support a 30-day deployment to any independent location with a package of four aircraft.
“It’s an exciting day for Combat Rescue as we bring a new platform and its upgraded capabilities into operation,” said Maj. Gen. David Lyons, Director of Operations at Air Combat Command. “This declaration is the culmination of years of hard work and vision. Current and future combat environments require us to maneuver further and faster than ever before, and the capabilities provided by the Jolly Green II supports the platform’s viability for our Air Force Personnel Recovery core function for as long as possible.”
The 23rd Wing at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, one of the first locations to receive the HH-60W, held a ceremony to mark the declaration on Sept. 9.
“The airmen of the 23rd Wing have done a tremendous job working with partners to get this aircraft combat ready on time,” said Col. Russ Cook, 23rd Wing commander. “Bottom line, the future of Air Force Rescue is secure, and our team is ready to recover anybody, anytime, anywhere, against any adversary.”
The HH-60W offers a range of improved capabilities over its predecessor, the HH-60G Pave Hawk, to include improved range and survivability, a new fuel system, advanced avionics and more. As a digitally focused platform, it also allows faster movement of data and better integration with other platforms and combatant command capabilities.
These upgrades will continue to enable safer search and rescue operations and provide the joint force with the capabilities needed to accomplish the complex and critical mission of personnel recovery.