PLEASE MAKE USE OF THIS MESSAGE BOARD BY POSTING AIR FORCE HELICOPTER RELATED QUESTIONS, POSTING APPROPRIATELY RELATED INFORMATION, LOCATING YOUR AIR FORCE FAMILY OF HELICOPTER FRIENDS YOU MAY HAVE LOST CONTACT WITH OVER THE YEARS OR OTHER USE AS DEEMED APPROPRIATE.
I have recently seen an online current article about USAF H-60s performing rescue in Afghanistan using the call sign “Pedro”. The article mentions the call sign came from the H-43 days in Viet Nam.
I am reading a book recently published called MASH ANGELS written by Richard Kirkland. He was a WWII fighter pilot turned helicopter pilot during the Korean War. He flew H-5 & H-19s. He was with the 3rd Rescue Squadron and later the 2157 Rescue Squadron of the 3rd Rescue Group. He mentions the call sign they used as “Pedro”.
Does the association have any background on where the call sign “Pedro” originated?
Also in the book MASH ANGELS, the pilot mentions he flew with medical technicians on board. Does anyone know if these guys were PJs or med techs? Thanks
Not sure of the origin of the Pedro call sign and it is a good question. I'll send it out to all the members and see if anyone knows.
As far as the medics, I flew often with medics as crewmember (not P.J.'s) up to about 1966. I know there were P.J.'s around at the time, but in the units I was in, we either didn't have them or they flew with the fixed wing assets (HC-54 & HU-16).
This Walt Disney Productions drawing of "Pedro" was commissioned by Detachment 7, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron (ARRS), Da Nang Air Base, South Vietnam in 1966. The insignia design was inspired by the unit's radio call sign of "Pedro". Planned as the unit insignia for all H-43 helicopter units in Southeast Asia, the pace of the war prevented it from being implemented. This drawing, however, meant a great deal to those who flew PEDROs at Da Nang, and elsewhere.
This party suit belonged to Col. Don Jensen, who was the 38th ARRS commander from Feb 1970-Feb 1971. Illustrating how the design became part of the unit culture, the embroidered design shows "Papa Pedro," a variation on the PEDRO theme utilized by the 38th ARRS.
(Note: party suit apparently is at USAF Museum. Was unable to find web image of ARRS Pedro. As I recall it was a mustached figure in cowboy outfit with pistols drawn. There was a previous Disney story character called "Pedro" who was a child airplane so I don't believe there was a connection. Fortunately never had to fly it, rode in it once and that was enough!!!}
2. Operational history
This aircraft saw use in the Vietnam War with several detachments of the Pacific Air Rescue Center, the 33d, 36th, 37th, and 38th Air Rescue Squadrons, and the 40th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, where the aircraft was known by its call sign moniker "Pedro." The HH-43 was eventually replaced by newer aircraft in the early 1970s.
A site with a lot of info on who operated the HH-43 and where it was based is:
My guess is the term “Huskie” was the official airframe type name and “Pedro” was a Vietnam era mission name which through usage became synonymous with the airframe. The recent use of “Pedro” appears to reflect the mission, not the airframe.