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Operation Ivory Soap and the Largest Helicopter Rescue of WWII

Paul Fardink, US Army (Retired)


Until recently, Operation Ivory Soap, a secret World War II collaboration between the United States Army, Navy, and Merchant Marines, to reconfigure six Liberty Ships into floating maintenance shops for repairing damaged aircraft in the Pacific, remained in obscurity. Sikorsky R-4B and R-6A helicopters were based on these ships to ferry mechanics and parts wherever needed. This secret project proceeded as planned until an emergency request for medical evacuation of wounded soldiers came in June 1945. Until then, the newly-developed helicopter had rarely been used for aeromedical rescue and never in hostile action. Nonetheless, the incredibly brave and resourceful Ivory Soap pilots, flying without radios, medical training, or specialized transport equipment, saved as many as ninety-four seriously-injured troops in the Philippines - and forever revolutionized the value of the helicopter in combat. Sadly, the pilots' stories of valor lay buried in forgotten piles of once-classified documents for decades. But no longer....

Operation Ivory Soap and the Largest Helicopter Rescue of WWII

  • Presented at Forum 79 - Best Paper for this session
  • 27 pages
  • SKU # : F-0079-2023-18085
  • History
    Winner of the VFS International Bernard Lindenbaum Award for Historical Paper at Forum 79 (2023)

  • Your Price : $30.00
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Operation Ivory Soap and the Largest Helicopter Rescue of WWII

Authors / Details:
Paul Fardink, US Army (Retired)