History: Arlington Boy Aids in Airman's Rescue

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Published Sunday, July 1, 2018

Arlington Boy Aids in Airman's Rescue

From the July 5, 1968, issue of the Kiowa County Press.

The following story appeared in a Service newspaper, and is of interest to local readers as it pertains to the role played by an Arlington service man in the rescue of an airman in Vietnam.

CAMP EVANS - An unknown Marine A-4 pilot, now back in his cockpit after a near fatal mid-air collision, probably feels that 1st Air Cavalry Division helicopter pilots have an uncanny sixth sense - they rescued him almost before his parachute hit the ground.

In May, two Marine A-4's collided while on a bombing run southeast of the A Loui airfield in the A Shau Valley. One of the jet fighters immediately went out of control and the pilot ejected. The other pilot managed to keep his airplane under control and elected to try and make it to Da Nang AFB. As he broke from the valley he sent out a May Day call for the downed pilot.

Warrant Officer David Gold, a helicopter pilot from Company A, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, received the call for help while picking up a load of Skytroopers at a landing zone. He quickly ordered the troops off the helicopter and lifted off, heading southeast in search of the downed fighter pilot.

As his ship climbed to altitude, WO Gold, of Queens, New York City, immediately spotted the pilot who was still in his parachute, floating to the ground in enemy territory. Gold then started a slow descent, following the parachute to the ground.

When the pilot touched down, Gold maneuvered his helicopter down gently beside him, taking care not to let his rotor-wash billow out the parachute.

His crew chief, Specialist Five Jack Fuller, son of Mr. and Mrs. George Fuller of Arlington, Colorado, leaped from the helicopter to help the downed pilot extract him self from the parachute and reach the rescue ship.

The fighter pilot was so astonished and happy at the sight of the helicopter that his face split into a wide grin in spite of several broken teeth and cut lips suffered in the landing. Gold then flew the pilot back to the medical evacuation pad at the closest Landing Zone, dropped him off and resumed his original mission - just another sortie in Alpha Company history, but one that may long be remembered by a grateful Marine pilot.