Intrepid adds Coast Guard rescue copter

August 20, 2008 12:19:34 PM PDT
When the USS Intrepid returns to its Hudson River pier later this year it will have a 1952-vintage Coast Guard rescue helicopter in its aircraft museum collection. A derrick on Wednesday lifted the Korean War-era relic onto the ship's deck at Staten Island, where the WWII aircraft carrier is undergoing an 18-month overhaul.

Intrepid official Eric Boehm says the Sikorsky S-55 operated for years at Brooklyn's Floyd Bennett Field as a Coast Guard rescue helicopter. "There's no way to know how many lives it saved," he says.

Later a crop-duster in Texas, it was recently acquired by the Intrepid from a defunct aircraft museum and refurbished. It is painted in original yellow Coast Guard colors.

The S-55 was a civilian version of the H-19 Chickasaw, used by the U.S. military to carry troops in Korea and later in Vietnam.

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