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Farewell CH-46 Battle "Phrog" Tribute T-Shirt and Poster


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Fruit of the Loom 100% cotton T-shirts. Athletic Heather Gray. Poster design on the back and logo on the front. Available sizes Small - 3X-Large. $20 - $22. See Customer Service for product information, care instructions, and size guide plus returns/exchanges & shipping policies.

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Farewell CH-46 Battle "Phrog" Tribute T-Shirt and Poster Design

Marine Corps Sea Knights, now "The Old Breed" soon flying into history.

The CH-46 Sea Knight "Battle Phrog" [1] will retire from U.S. Marine Corps in 2015. Not to be confused with the US Army's CH-47 Chinook [2], the Ch-46 has been in the USMC arsenal since 1964. The first west coast 46's were delivered to the newly formed HMM-164 at MCAF Santa Ana (the Blimp Hangars - later MCAS Tustin). In 1966 164 took the first CH-46's to Vietnam where they adopted the name "The Flying Death".

Many HMM squadrons followed 164 to Vietnam as the turbine powered CH-46 replaced the venerable piston powered UH-34's. The Phrog, her pilots, aircrews, maintainers and all support personnel served with incredible skill, courage and distinction. Every Marine Corps CH-46 squadron is listed around the outside as part of this design. They wrote many new chapters - and books - of Marine Corps and aviation history, and while some stories have been told, so many others are just individual memories. (See below.)

"The Old Breed" was suggested for the title as the helicopter and all those involved are part of the long and rich Marine Corps tradition of all who have served and gone before, who lived, flew, fought and died courageously under indescribable conditions where "uncommon valor was (and still is) the common virtue".

The "Phrog" continued to excel in many configurations. Over 500 Ch-46's were produced from 1962-1971. The airframes have gone through many changes and updates over the years and many of those still flying served with the Marines in Vietnam. In April 2015 HMM(T)-164 "Knightriders" will again make history as the last CH-46 squadron to transitions over to MV-22 Ospreys.

Kimberleigh and Paul Gavin were asked to produce this beautiful and historic CH-46 tribute t-shirt and poster design by the HMM(T)-164 Knightriders' CO in December 2013. With input from Vietnam era through current Phrog pilots and crew the image developed. It is simple: the Sea Knight is literally flying off into the Sunset. When the design was emailed to a very good civilian friend his response was simple yet elegant:

"Good Knight CH-46, and rest in peace. You saved a lot of men."

University of Southern California

At the HMMT-164 Birthday Ball on November 6, 2014. From left: Joe and Judi Ouellette, Kimberleigh and Paul Gavin.

Note from the Artist:

It was a special honor to do this design. I actually saw these first 46's that came to the Blimp Hangars when I was 11. In 1957 we moved to what is now called North Tustin. We lived at the edge of the Irvine Ranch along the helicopter flight path called the "Browning Corridor", named after the last long major street paralleling the ranch. I had watched H -19's, 34's, and CH-37's flying over the orange groves every day — and at about 500ft — since I was four years old. What could be more exciting and inspiring to a boy that loved and liked to draw helicopters? This fascination grew into the USMC art projects Kimberleigh and I are doing today — Paul

[1] From "Masters of the Art: A Fighting Marine's Memoir of Vietnam", by Sgt. Ronald E Winter, USMC 1966-1970, pg. 151:

"A CH-46 has ... tricycle landing gear, with one wheel in front and two in the rear. (This)...gives the '46 the appearance of a giant frog sitting on its haunches when it is on the ground. Thus '46 pilots ultimately became known as Phrog Flyers — kind of like the French spelling Phydeaux for Fido."

[2] Click for a comparison between the CH-46 and the CH-47.

Also see these items.

CH46 at MCAS Tustin

Paul Gavin, Pen & watercolor.
Started 1986. Completed 2011.

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MCAS Tustin Blimp Hangars LTA

Paul Gavin
Ink & watercolor.1988.

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Flying Death

Flying Death: The Vietnam Experience — by Samuel K. Beamon (May 25, 2007)

Masters of the Art

Masters of the Art
— by Sgt. Ronald E Winter, USMC

Bonnie Sue

BONNIE-SUE: A Marine Corps Helicopter Squadron in Vietnam — by Marion F. Sturkey (Jun 15, 1997)