Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
James “Jim” David PhelanSeptember 11, 1921 – May 16, 2006
Jim Phelan, who was involved in the first helicopter combat rescue, died at his home on 16 May 2006. He was also the husband of the late Jean Ross Howard Phelan, founder of the Whirly-Girls.
Phelan, a crew chief, performed the first helicopter combat rescue, along with pilot Carter Harman, on 25-26 April 1944. This crew flew their Sikorsky YR-4 behind Japanese lines in the China-Burma jungle and rescued American pilot Ed ‘Murphy’ Hladovcak and three British soldiers after their plane had crashed.