A pioneer helicopter squadron, Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 1 (HC-1), the Fleet Angels, pushed the threshold of naval helicopter operations during its long history. Its 21 detachments performed search and rescue and a wide range of utility services throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
The Pacific Fleet's first helicopter squadron was established as Helicopter Utility Squadron 1 (HU-1) at NAS Lakehurst, New Jersey, on 1 April 1948, moving to NAAS Ream Field, Imperial Beach, California, where it was based until 1976.
Deploying detachments of HO3S-1 helicopters on carriers operating off Korea, HU-1 flew sorties into enemy territory to rescue downed aircrews. HU-1 steadily grew—along with the utility of the helicopter—after Korea. In January 1963 the squadron acquired its first turbine-powered helicopter, the UH-2A/B Seasprite, which replaced the UH-25 aboard carriers. Until the mid-1960s, the squadron operated the RH-3A, CH-19E, UH-34DIE, UH-46A, and SH-34G as well.