Sikorsky (S-62A) HH-52A (HU2S-1G) Seaguard (USCG) Manual Collection

In 1958, Sikorsky Aircraft anticipated the Coast Guard's long-standing desire for air-sea rescue capability by developing the S-62, an amphibious turbine-powered helicopter that recycled many dynamic components from the S-55, designed in the late 1940s. Ironically, the Coast Guard initially passed in favor of another design, and Sikorsky was forced to market the S-62 for airline service, for which it was not well suited. The Coast Guard eventually came around to the type and ordered 99 of them, which began entering service in 1962 as the HH-52A Seaguard. The Seaguard remained in service until 1989. The aircraft was small enough to deploy aboard cutters, and its amphibious characteristics gave it a degree of safety in over-water operations that was missing in other helicopters. Natural disasters, the emerging war on drugs, and maritime accidents ensured that HH-52 fleet had ample opportunity to demonstrate remarkable feats of heroism.