The first super Jolly Green Giant, 66-14428, now upgraded to an MH-53J Pave Low IIIE, assigned to the 551st Special operations Squadron, 58th Special operations Wing, in flight near Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, 24 March 2000. (U.S. Air Force)

A 58th Special Operations Wing, 551st Special Operations Squadron, MH-53J Pave Low IIIE flies a training mission near Kirtland Air Force Base, NM. The MH-53J’s mission is to perform low-level, long-range, undetected penetration into denied areas, day or night, in adverse weather, for infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of special operations forces. The MH-53J Pave Low III heavy-lift helicopter is the largest and most powerful helicopter in the Air Force inventory, and the most technologically advanced helicopter in the world. Its terrain-following, terrain-avoidance radar and forward-looking infrared sensor, along with a projected map display, enable the crew to follow terrain contours and avoid obstacles, making low-level penetration possible. The 58th SOW offers more than 90 courses for special operations and combat search and rescue troops at Kirtland. Courses include transition and instruments, aerial refueling, airdrops, helicopter hoist and combat tactics training. The wing trains some 1,600 students each year in HH-60 Pave Hawk, UH-1N Huey, TH-53A and MH-53J Pave Low IIIE helicopters, and MC-130 Combat Talon and MC-130P Combat Shadow aircraft.

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