This aircraft is thought to be the only known Seawolf Gunship still in existence. There are UH-1s painted to look like aircraft from this unit at places like the Pensacola Naval Air Museum, The Seal-UDT Museum and at Patriots Point in South Carolina, however these are not ACTUAL veterans of HA(L)-3, but commemorative representations of what they looked like.
When received from the Army in 1971 the Navy was more concerned with mechanical function than appearance. The Army markings were sprayed over and Navy markings were stenciled in their place. 4567 appears much today as it did during the summer of 1971. The magnesium fuselage does not hold paint as well as steel, and with all the hard use it needed to be constantly "touched up". This was done in the field with spray guns and even spray cans. Bullet holes were simply hammered flat and small patch panels were riveted in place. There are at least 6 patched bullet holes, which still remain. At one time there were many more but the 1972 rebuild replaced sections of the floor and fuselage skin.
One important piece of information has yet to be discovered, that is the "modex" number assigned to the aircraft while it was with the Navy. This 3-digit code would have been on both sides of the upper tail surface and in small numbers above the Seawolf nose art. While we can document the participation of this particular helicopter with the Seawolves through official Army equipment records as well as Pilot and Gunner log books, the modex numbers would only be recorded by the squadron, and these records are still sealed due to the covert nature of many of the missions which HAL-3 was involved. Since these numbers were recycled as aircraft were lost or transferred out of the unit, more than one aircraft could have shared a modex number. We hopefully will discover this number in time.
The armament long removed, will be replaced as it is found. This will be a difficult task as most obsolete weapons systems are scrapped instead of sold and are rare to find. The restoration process will eventually include new paint, as the paint from the 1970s will continue to chip and deteriorate.
View the pictures