Helicopters play a critical role onboard aircraft carriers. They perform as minesweepers, search and rescue aircraft, cargo carriers, and even frontline combat aircraft.

Perhaps the most important daily role of an Air Wing's helicopters are in standing by to rescue flight crews when things go wrong. During air operations, a helicopter hovers nearby on "plane guard" to pick up any airmen who are forced to eject in the case of a catapult failure or aircraft malfunction. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, seconds count.