In telling the unique history of the Navy SEALs, we must also include the combat support teams. Combat support teams play a vital role in providing SEALs with the means to get their job done. An important part of this story is the Seawolves, who assisted in providing support to our Vietnam SEALs.
During the Vietnam War, HA(L)3 (Helicopter Attack Squadron Light 3), nicknamed Seawolves, was an all-volunteer U.S. Navy helicopter squadron formed in support of Naval Special Warfare operations. These squadrons were experts in quick reactionary, close air-support, and known for going where others dared not tread.
Ask any Vietnam-era SEAL about Seawolves and you will get similar replies:
“ These guys, the Seawolves, flew with us and for us all the time in Vietnam. You won’t find a SEAL who was in Vietnam who wouldn’t say that these guys didn’t bail our bacon out any number of times. We went places and did things that we wouldn’t have dreamed of doing otherwise, just because we knew the Seawolves would be there if we needed them.” Captain Rick Woolard, USN, SEAL (Ret.), SEAL Team TWO
“ Not only does many a SEAL owe his life to the Seawolves, but the units often operated together as a team. Very often located at the same base of operations, we developed friendships that are still alive today. Operating well outside standard operating procedures, the Seawolves have lifted SEALs out of enemy encirclements, and I have known them to land in a hot LZ [Landing Zone] to lift out caches too large for the SEALs to pack out. They also evacuated our wounded, when medevac helicopters were not available. Most important they were always there for us, when we were down in the mud and darkness; the night illuminated with red and green tracers; the VC behind every shadow. Many times, after we were out of danger, they stayed with us until we were safely extracted, in the middle of the river, and out of range of enemy fire.” GMGC Barry W. Enoch, USN, SEAL (Ret.) SEAL Team ONE
The Museum is refurbishing a UH-1B Huey helicopter to be included in the Museum’s collections. This is an original Huey flown by Seawolves during the Vietnam War. The aircraft is unique. In 1972 when the aircraft was turned in upon disbanding of HAL-3 Seawolves, the crew scratched their names, dates, Detachment numbers, and other messages on the doorposts. It is imperative that we preserve this exceptional example of history for future generations that others may discover and never forget these brave men’s service and sacrifices to our Navy SEALs and our great nation.
By supporting our restoration efforts, you will become an intricate part of our Team’s mission to keep Navy SEALs and their Seawolf brothers’ history alive.
For more information on this historic project, please contact Ruth McSween, Curator, at Ruth@navysealmusuem.org.
Pat Rodgers, CEO of Aircraft Restoration Services, continues to keep us informed of restoration progress. Recently, he picked up the tail boom and other major components.
“Didn’t have to look very long before I was able to positively ID the aircraft serial number! She is Army serial number 63-12930. I am still researching what the 3-digit Seawolf number is. I have also gotten the aircraft logbook and records. [Here are] some of the letters and things that went with it upon deactivation of HAL-3, and when a helo was turned back into the Army. I also attached some photos of some of the graffiti scratched into the right-side door post.
Absolute proof of her Seawolf lineage! I’ll let you know when I find out what the 3-digit Seawolf number is.”