Throwback Thursday – Colonel Mac Reynolds and the Sea King

Throwback Thursday this week is a salute to a Bowling Green aviator and his aircraft. Colonel Arthur McCreary, or “Mac”, Reynolds was a southern Kentucky native with a storied legacy. The Sikorsky Sea King helicopter on display at Aviation Heritage Park is a dedication to his military career.

Reynolds was born in Bowling Green in 1951, attended college at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, and enrolled in Officer’s Flight School in 1974. Growing in rank to Lieutenant by then, Reynolds traveled the world on various deployments from the 1970s to the 1990s, venturing to the Middle East, Mediterranean, North Atlantic, Caribbean, and Eastern Europe. 

He held orders from the White House Liaison Office, held command in Operations Departments, and led efforts at the NATO Defense College in Rome. Reynolds was promoted to Colonel in 1997, and became a Presidential Helicopter Pilot in 1999. The colonel served three presidents: Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and Bill Clinton. 

Colonel Reynolds retired in 2001 and was decorated with many merits along the way: Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Air Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, and the Presidential Service Badge. The colonel passed away in 2018.

The Sikorsky SH-3H Sea King at Aviation Heritage Park is an example of the type of helicopter the colonel piloted, specifically a presidential helicopter. With the familiar call sign “Marine One,” this particular aircraft was active in the 1980s, retired in 1996, and is on loan to the park from the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fla.