On the 30th April of 1975, there were uncounted tragic, weeping stories happened in South Vietnam, but among them a very few had been blessed with happy ending, The following story is written by someone from unknown source. Thank you for your story, and now we can relived the harrowing escape.
On April 30th,1975, amid helicopters escaping from Saigon which dotted the sky, appearing a small Cessna 0-1 "Bird Dog" observation plane. Piloting the "Bird Dog was a South Vietnamese Air Force major, who in a desperate attempt to escape, had flown the single-engine plane from Con Son island seaward in search of safety. With the major were his wife and five children.
The "Bird Dog" circle Midway, and the major dropped a note on the flight deck which read, "Can you move those helicopters to the other side? I can land on your runway. I can fly one more hour. We have enough time to move. Please rescue me."
Midway's Commanding Officer, Captain L.C. Chambers, assesed the situation and ordered the flight deck cleared. Crewmen worked ferverishly to clear the landing area of Vietnamese UH-1 "Huey" helicopters. It was nessesary to dump one "Huey" over the side to provide adequate room for the neophyte carrier pilot.
Once the flight deck had been cleared, crewmen quickly prepared to recover the "Bird Dog". The major piloting the aircraft was given landing instructions through a volunteer Vietnamese interpreter. The approach of the "Bird Dog" to the ship was low and slow. He touched down once, bounced, and rolled to a stop well short of the end of the angle deck. For Midwaymen, the dramatic landing was the most memorable story of Operation Frequent Wind.
The graceful landing of the "Bird Dog" on Midway's flight deck was made despite a rain-soaked deck and without benefit of a tail hook or barricade. After his extraordinaire display of airmanship, the major was met with wild applause from flight deck crewmen as he exited his aircraft. He and his family were surrounded by well wishers.
Midwaymen were so moved by the courage of the major and his family, they decided to establish a fund to help the family start their new life wherever they may choose to settle.
Color photos of the historic landing
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