On a Steel Horse I Ride
A History of the MH-53 Pave Low Helicopters in War and Peace
The "Steel Horses." Born of necessity in the long war in Southeast Asia to fly search and rescue and special operations missions, the US Air Force fleet of 52 HH-53s and 20 CH-53s were subsequently modified with state-of-the-art precision navigation capability under a program called Pave Low and redesignated as MH-53J/Ms. Assigned as part of our special operations forces, they then flew in every major US military action until their inactivation in Iraq in September 2008. But the story is not just about the helicopters. It is also about the great Airmen who conceptualized, created, operated, maintained, loved, and, yes, sometimes cursed their Steel Horses. They and their great aircraft were the reality of the motto Any Time, Any Place. This is their story, the men and machines, from first to last, presented with deepest appreciation and respect for them and their service to our nation.
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