31 years does dull the memory a bit, but I do have
very vivid images still imprinted on what's left of my mind.
It was my first mission with Col Brady who had transitioned from jets. When we initiated our approach into the zone I was expecting him to dump some power and roll into the traditional spiral--but NO--he pulled in power and pushed the nose straight over. Somehow we made it into the zone. Lifting out, I remember the distinctive sound of the turns fading away and calling out that we still had one (engine) left. With the turns still dropping we began to settle and the rear landing gear bounced off the edge of a rice paddy, but we remained upright. When we came to a stop I decided not to hit the rotor brake for fear of starting a fire with all the fuel around (don't believe I was ever briefed on this situation). We hunkered down in the paddy and I used the survival radio (one and only time) to establish contact with whoever was out there identifying us as "Swiftmedevacontheground" (was never briefed on that either!) There was a section of what I believe were F-4s that came to help out and remember directing them toward the only target I could see which was a hundred meters or so away wearing his black pajamas. When we were finally extracted I sat on my bullet bouncer til we hit about 2000 feet and then raced to the cockpit to plant a big kiss on Major Baker. I have to mention that throughout all this, Gomez was great and I've always considered him to be the best crewchief I ever flew with. As a postscript, I hope this little incident wasn't the reason Col Brady traded me to HMM-262 for two future draft choices and a pilot to be named later!! Click here for the full story.
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