The Jolly Green Giant

One of the 1st Jolly Green's

4488th Test Squadron(Eglin AFB, FL) CH-3C 63-09690 at West Plains, MO, November 1964, during Operation Goldfire I. This was one of the first 'Jolly Green Giants'

Origins of the name "Jolly Green Giants"


Jerry Jennings (Former CH-21B Pilot-1371st M & C Squadron)

Former 1370th PMW members highlighted

Where and when was the name "Jolly Green" first used?

Well, it all began in July 1964 at Eglin AFB, Florida. When the 4488th Test Squadron of the 4485th Test Wing began preparing for Indian River, an exercise with the Army, it was determined that the CH-3s should be painted a camouflage color(flat OD Green). In short order the CH-3s were flown to Pensacola Naval Air Station for painting. When the first painted CH-3 returned to Eglin, a group of us were on the ramp to welcome it home. As the chopper approached our position, one of the FMs (I think it was either TSgt Marchant or SSgt Crumpler) said, "Look, it's the Jolly Green Giant".

Nothing more was said about the Jolly Green Giant until July 1965 when two CH-3s, two flight crews and maintenance support personnel, from the 4488th were sent TDY to NKP to begin rescue operations in North Vietnam and Laos. The pilots on those two crews were Captains Fred Liebert, George Martin, James P. (Phil) Stambaugh and David King. When asked what call sign the CH-3 rescue choppers would use, all agreed that "Jolly Green" and the last two digits of the tail number would be their call sign each and every day. At that time the fighters used different call signs for each day and sortie. The group figured that because the enemy knew a rescue chopper would try to rescue each pilot/crew shot down there was no reason to change the call sign. They would know it was a rescue chopper anyway when they saw it on radar.

On October 4, 1965, the 38th ARRS arrived at Udorn. When the 38th Commander, Major Baylor Haynes, was told about the Jolly Green call sign he agreed that the call sign should remain the same. I was in the 38th ARRS, having arrived from Eglin AFB with most of the other squadron members.

On October the 13th, I was the AC on the first pickup accomplished by the 38th ARRS. The other crew members were Captain James (Digger) O'Dell (CP), MSgt William G. Daniels (PJ) and SSgt Harold R. Schrader (FM). We picked up Major James Edward Prestle Randall III (an F-105 jock) 25 miles NE of Dien Bien Phu. When we returned to Lima Site 36 (L-36) with Major Randall there was a reunion of sorts. Major Charles Hamrick (the Commander of the soon to be formed 37th ARRS) had gone with us to L-36 that day and he and Major Randall knew each other from their Artillery Spotting days (flying AT-6s) during the Korean war. It's funny how those things happen. The Jolly Green name is very famous. Every time I mention to some one that I flew Jolly Greens in Vietnam, they know exactly what the Jolly Greens did and still do all over the world today.

Jolly Green Association