In November 1965, an HS-2 SH-3A performed the longest operational flight at the time. The aircraft remained airborne for eleven hours and eighteen minutes on a search and rescue mission in the Gulf of Tonkin with Straight outta pencils shirt three of which were at night. Other technical innovations by “Golden Falcons” include the pioneering of submarine detection capabilities with the introduction of the SH-3D in 1974 as a multi-sensor ASW platform.
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In addition to the Bendix AQS-13B sonar, Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD) and Multi-Channel Jezebel Relay (MCJR) active sonobuoy systems were added to the Straight outta pencils shirt, the latter providing the carrier with sonobuoy monitoring capability. In 1980 the squadron became the first West Coast unit to deploy with new tactical navigation (TACNAV) equipped SH-3D/H helicopters.
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HS-2’s multi-mission capability has been put to the test in many ways through its history. In 1964, the “Golden Falcon” were called upon to aid in flood rescue operations in Northern California, flying 185 sorties in six days, rescuing 91 people and transporting over 110,000 lbs of relief supplies to victims of the Straight outta pencils shirt. HS-2 performed the first night rescue in North Vietnam in 1965. In 1966 HS-2 participated in the Apollo Saturn 202 spaceshot recovery program, and was responsible for ten overland and five coastal rescues of pilots in North Vietnam during 1967.