Pacific Stars and Stripes information

For date 680114


Primary service involved, US Air Force
South Vietnam
Location, Saigon
Description: The following is an edited version of an article titled "Downed by Enemy Fire Hangs All Night in Chute." Saigon (OI) - "Wonderful!" was the way CPT Herbert Altman, 29, Nattapan, Mass., felt after being scooped into a rescue helicopter following a sleepless, eventful night deep in enemy-held jungle terrain. An 8th Tactical Fighter Wing navigator, Altman was downed over the enemy position by intense antiaircraft artillery fire during a combat mission. "We were making a pass on the enemy gun and had just fired our rockets," recalled the Wolf Pack captain. "We started to pull off the target and ran right into an antiaircraft shell. Neither the pilot nor I felt the actual hit, but we lost all our hydraulics. "Get out!" he shouted, and I was gone, he was right after me," said Altman. Ejection came so low that Altman's parachute swung but once before jerking him to a stop 100 yards from his aircraft commander, who landed in a jungle undergrowth. Altman's chute wedged into a formation of dagger-sharp mountain peaks composed of volcanic ash, trapping his feet and forcing him to hang all night in the confining harness. As the captain described the scene, his burned forearms revealed that he had nearly parachuted into the impacting aircraft's explosion. "Immediately, our number one man initiated a Search and Rescue (SAR)," he said. "The cover aircraft tooled around in the sky for awhile and got out approximate location. They couldn't get us then because of the ground fire but promised to pick us up at daybreak. "As the sun came up we got the word over emergency radio that an SAR was being initiated. About an hour later the cover aircraft was there. Sixty minutes after that those beautiful helicopters, the Jolly Green Giants, just came in and picked us up. It was a classic; both of us escaped practically unscathed."

The source for this information was 6801pss.avn supplied by Les Hines


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Date posted on this site: 05/16/2021