Beginning in 1962, the H-34 served as the primary Marine Corps assault helicopter of the Vietnam War until its replacement by the turbine-powered CH-46. It began in 1952 as a Navy anti-submarine warfare helicopter evolved from the Sikorsky S-55 series. Initially designated as the HSS-1, it would also go on to see significant service in the combat assault and utility roles with the Army and Marine Corps. Great Britain and France also deployed versions in some of the first helicopter combat assault operations.
A large payload capacity and generous center-of-gravity range made the H-34 series an effective transport helicopter for the1950s. Its weaknesses were a reciprocating engine that struggled in the heat and humidity of Southeast Asia and maintenance intensive mechanical components. This Marine Corps UH-34D never served overseas, but wears the markings of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 163 that did see extensive combat in Vietnam.