Pacific Stars and Stripes information
for 38 ARRS DET 9

For date 680225

38 ARRS DET 9 was a US Air Force unit
Primary service involved, US Air Force
Pleiku Province, II Corps, South Vietnam
Location, Pleiku
Description: The following is an edited version of an article titled "Dangled From Copter After Rescue" Photo Caption - S. SGT. John Smith. Pleiku (OI) - Pilots have won the Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross for varied heroic deeds. But a pararescue man at Pleiku AB earned his in an unusual way-riding a hoist cable hanging 20 feet below a helicopter for five miles after making a successful rescue. The award was pinned on S.Sgt. John A. Smith, 24, of Det. 9, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service. Smith also received two Air Medals during the ceremony. The rescue operation came about when an O-1 Bird Dog aircraft went down at Plei Diereng. One of the survivors was injured. Smith, with his medical gear, was lowered 150 feet through the jungle canopy on a hoist. While treating the more seriously injured man, he sent the other one up on the hoist. "I had to drag the injured man on a litter to an open spot about 15 feet away because a fire had broken out around the aircraft. I was wondering if the fuel tank would blow up," Smith recalled. He hooked the litter to the hoist and signaled the helicopter crew to take him up. The operation went smoothly until Smith himself was being hoisted off the jungle floor with his gear. "I strapped myself in and got to within 20 feet of the helicopter when the hoist cable knotted," Smith said. "I was on the penetrator for about five miles, riding it into the air with two Huey gunships side-by-side for protection," he said.
Comments: SSG Smith, John A.;

The source for this information was 6802pss.avn supplied by Les Hines

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Date posted on this site: 05/13/2023