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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Hurlburt Field in Okaloosa County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

MH-53 Pave Low

 
 
MH-53 Pave Low Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, November 17, 2016
1. MH-53 Pave Low Marker
Inscription. In May of 1980, the Air Force's newly operational fleet of nine HH-53H Pave Low combat search and rescue helicopters was abruptly transferred to special operations forces due to a highlighted lack of dedicated, long-range, vertical lift platforms in the failed Iranian hostage rescue attempt. Throughout the 1980s, the Pave Low fleet grew to 41 helicopters and expanded beyond the 20th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field. This growth included the 21st and 31st Special Operations Squadrons in Europe and East Asia, as well as a dedicated training squadron, the 551st Special Operations Squadron at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. With the fleet expansion, the MH-53H evolved into the MH-53J and Pave Low development culminated with the fielding of the MH-53M in the late 1990s. The red-scarved men who flew the Pave Low, and the maintainers who cared for them, conducted countless missions of national importance. They executed important roles in the invasion of Panama in 1989; led the first missions into Iraq in 1991 and 2003; rescued a downed US pilot in Iraq in 1991; evacuated the American Embassy in Liberia in 1996; led the successful rescue missions for both US pilots shot down in Serbia in 1999; conducted the longest-ever helicopter rescues at sea in the North Atlantic in 1989 and 2002; flew daring raids in Afghanistan in 2001-2002; seized strategic oil pumping facilities in Iraq in 2003. Fitting the rich history of the beloved “Steel Horse,” the MH-53 flew in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom for the final seven years of her heroic service.

This tail (68-0928) flew her final mission in Iraq against sworn enemies of the United States of America.
 
Erected
MH-53 Pave Low Helicopter image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, November 17, 2016
2. MH-53 Pave Low Helicopter
2007 by the Hurlburt Field Memorial Air Park Council.
 
Location. 30° 24.837′ N, 86° 42.061′ W. Marker is in Hurlburt Field, Florida, in Okaloosa County. Marker can be reached from Cody Avenue. Touch for map. Located at the Hurlburt Field Memorial Air Park and access to the base is restricted. Marker is at or near this postal address: 315 Independence Road, Hurlburt Field FL 32544, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Operation Kingpin (a few steps from this marker); HH-3E "Jolly Green Giant" (a few steps from this marker); 1st Air Commando Group B-25 Medium Bomber (within shouting distance of this marker); A-1E Skyraider (within shouting distance of this marker); Major Bernard Francis Fisher (within shouting distance of this marker); Lieutenant Colonel William Atkinson Jones, III (within shouting distance of this marker); A-26 Counter-Invader (within shouting distance of this marker); Medal of Honor Recipients (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hurlburt Field.
 
Regarding MH-53 Pave Low. MH-53 Tail #68-10928 History: Upon manufacture in Bridgeport, Connecticut this Pave Low was delivered to the USAF on 2 Jul. 1970. Serving assignments in Thailand, Germany, the United Kingdom, Philippines and South Korea the helicopter was well traveled. 68-10928 took part in the 1975 Mayaguez rescue operation sustaining major battle damage to the engine, rotor blades and instrument panel. The final mission of 68-10928 was flown on 29 Jul. 2007 in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM and it was installed as a memorial here at Hurlburt Field on 3 Dec. 2007.
 
Also see . . .  Wikipedia article on the Sikorsky MH-53. (Submitted on November 21, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Categories. Air & SpaceWar, 1st Iraq & Desert StormWar, 2nd IraqWar, Afghanistan
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 23, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 21, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 237 times since then and 74 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 21, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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