US ARMY RESERVE FLYING: THE HOOKERS
We returned to civilian life and university studies in February of 1970. I learned of an Army Reserve aviation unit flying out of the old Sand Point Naval Air Station on Lake Washington. In March of 1970, I continued my flying career by joining the 617th Aviation Company. They had a single OH-23C helicopter on floats. 250 enlisted personnel, a handful of pilots, and two crusty old civilian mechanics who maintained the Hiller. It was a flying club. Pilots often took the helicopter home for days at a time.
I attended Seattle University then and adjusted my classes so I could fly in the afternoons. We soon increased our aviator strength and picked up more aircraft, including OH-13 and UH-1 helicopters. The unit stood down and reorganized as the 92nd Aviation Company. And with the new organization, we became a Chinook outfit. Captain, Errol Van Eaton brought in our first Chinook, an A model, tail number 66-00118, in November 1972. I went to Ft. Rucker in the summer of 1973 to transition into the Chinook. Later that year, the unit was forced to move to Paine Field near Everett because of noise complaints. I spent the next 24 years flying at Paine Field. The Army reluctantly accepted our new unit name as the Hook-ers.