Saturday, August 13, 2005

Helo Det: HC-2 DET 1 Ghost Riders and a helicopter named "Phyllis"

HC-2 DET 1 Ghost Riders
HC-2’s Detachment ONE (the “Ghostriders”) assumed the SIXTH Fleet executive transport mission from HS-1 in 1987 and continues to operate from Capodichino Airfield in Naples.

The detachment flies the venerable UH-3H Sea King. This particular H-3 was produced by Sikorsky in 1962 and has been stationed in Naples since 1995, continuously supporting SIXTH Fleet operations. Affectionately nicknamed “Phyllis” by her detachment, the helicopter is maintained by 20 flight crew and enlisted personnel.
Venerable UH-3H? First flown in 1959!

photo source

Update: The H-3's are being phased out, as reported here. I am led to believe that Ghostrider 741 is the above-mentioned "Phyllis."
One of the Naples-based workhorse choppers, “Ghost Rider 741,” already has been stripped to its mostly aluminum shell, and in the coming weeks, Seabees from Naval Support Activity Naples will cut it up and local contractors will take it away as scrap metal.

“Ghost Rider 743” will meet the same fate this fall.

The Naples-based detachment, of which the helicopters are permanently based, but the sailors are not, got its name because it rode with 6th Fleet’s former flagship, the USS La Salle, which used to be painted white and was called the “great ghost” as it sailed.

The Norfolk, Va.-based HC-2 has 12 of the aircraft in its inventory; six in Norfolk, two in Naples and four that make up the “Desert Ducks” Detachment 2 stationed in Bahrain. Five of the 12 already have been decommissioned.

Like so much of what is in the U.S. military’s inventory, the helicopters come in a variety of versions. There’s the VH-3D, used for presidential and executive transport, the SH-3H that is carrier-based for anti-submarine warfare, and UH-3H, used for torpedo recovery, logistics and search and rescue.

Over the coming years, the Navy is replacing its aging fleet of the roughly $6.4 million Sea King twin engine helicopters with MH-60S Knighthawks.

Caption: Petty Officer 3rd Class Brad Coleman, on ladder, and Airman Eric Reed spend Tuesday morning polishing the Naples, Italy-based Detachment 1 HC-2 UH-3H Sea King helicopter, which by November will be sold for scrap metal.
Ghost Rider Airline
(Stars and Stripes photos by Sandra Jontz)


  1. Anonymous12:06 AM

    I served with HC2 from 93 to 97. I deployed out to both detachments during my time with the squadron. When I first reported to HC2 we were the HS1 Sea Horses. We had 2 H53's as well before they were fazed out and given to the Marines. We then changed to the Fleet Angles. I miss my days of service and would have retired by now. AD3 WILLARD proud member of the U.S. Navy.

    1. This UH-3H belonged to HC-11, Det-15. Name is Sideflare 700 and was stationed at NAS North Island. I know this because that is my name which I painted under the pilots lower window AM3 Rice. I also painted the COMTHRDFLT, with the 700 on it. Bueno # 148971

  2. This UH-3H is HC-11, Det 15's I know this because that is my name under pilot window. Sideflare 700 was her name bueno # 148971 was stationed at NAS North Island.

    1. Yes, thanks for the info. The H-3 photo was not of "Phyllis" but was to show readers what an H-3 looked like. My older son flew with HC-2 Det 1 as well as with the "Desert Ducks" before converting the H-60S

  3. Sorry I thought that is what was being said

    1. Well, I certainly could have phrased it better, Tim! Thanks for dropping by - and for identifying "Sideflare 700" and it's proper unit for us. I usually try to link photos and posts but was a little free and easy in this one.

  4. I was in HC-1 Det-2, Aboard USS Midway CVA 41,1974 - 1976 out of yokuska, Japan