PHOTO: Fleet Readiness Center East delivers final H-46 Sea Knight

(U.S. Navy photo)

(U.S. Navy photo)

Nov 26, 2012

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MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. – Fleet Readiness Center East Industrial Plant Manager Luis Rodriguez unveils a shadow box commemorating completion and delivery of the last H-46 Sea Knight, as FRC East Commanding Officer Col. Mitchell A. Bauman reads the citation during a ceremony, Nov. 5.

FRC East inducted its first H-46 in 1966. In the ensuing four and a half decades, the "Phrog" would play an important role in virtually every operation in which the Marines saw action, from Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan.

During the same period, the artisans at FRC East maintained and upgraded the medium-lift, assault aircraft. They converted early models to the more powerful CH-46E in the mid seventies, and performed a full-scale airframe change and Dynamic Component Upgrade designed to keep the venerable H-46 mission-capable well into the 21st century during the nineties. They also equipped the H-46 with a helicopter emergency floatation system, and installed and validated a kit which nearly doubled the Sea Knight's fuel capacity, giving birth to the "Bull Phrog."

In March 2007, FRC East's H-46 Production Line converted its first CH-46E to a HH-46E search and rescue aircraft. The last reworked Sea Knight was also converted to a search and rescue model and delivered to Cherry Point's Marine Transportation Squadron One.

The Marine Corps is replacing its CH-46E fleet with the more capable tilt-rotor V-22. The last CH-46E is scheduled to leave active service in 2015.

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