|HC-130P Refueling An HH-53B of the|
40th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron
over North Vietnam circa 1969
In last week's Friday Flyby, our very own Juvat made the comment:
There is only one time this aircraft is good looking. When it's orbiting over your position while you're waiting for the Jolly's to come pick your sorry butt up. But then that also applies to the Jolly's themselves. God bless all who flew both.The first aircraft he's referring to is, of course, the A-1 Skyraider, the subject of last week's Flyby. The other, the Jolly, is the helicopter taking on fuel in our opening photo, the HH-53 Jolly Green Giant.
This week's post is dedicated to the men and women of Combat Search and Rescue. I echo Juvat's "God bless all..." remark.
|HH-53, Jolly Green Giant|
Duane D. Hackney (June 5, 1947 – September 3, 1993), of Flint, Michigan, a United States Air Force Pararescueman, was the most decorated airman in USAF history and the recipient of 28 decorations for valor in combat and more than 70 awards and decorations in all. He served in the Air Force from 1965 to 1991, retiring as a Chief Master Sergeant. A recipient of the Air Force Cross, he was the first living enlisted man to receive the medal, and at the time of its award he was its youngest recipient.
Airman Hackney's Air Force Cross Citation
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to Airman Second Class Duane D. Hackney (AFSN: 16827003), United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force while serving with the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, 3d Air Rescue and Recovery Group, DaNang Air Base, Vietnam, as a Paramedic (Pararescueman) on an unarmed HH-3E Rescue Helicopter near Mu Gia Pass, North Vietnam, on 6 February 1967. On that date, Airman Hackney flew two sorties in a heavily defended hostile area. On the first sortie, despite the presence of armed forces known to be hostile, entrenched in the vicinity, Airman Hackney volunteered to be lowered into the jungle to search for the survivor. He searched until the controlling Search and Rescue agency ordered an evacuation of the rescue crew. On the second sortie, Airman Hackney located the downed pilot, who was hoisted into the helicopter. As the rescue crew departed the area, intense and accurate 37-mm. flak tore into the helicopter amidships, causing extensive damage and a raging fire aboard the craft. With complete disregard for his own safety, Airman Hackney fitted his parachute to the rescued man. In this moment of impending disaster, Airman Hackney chose to place his responsibility to the survivor above his own life. The courageous Pararescueman located another parachute for himself and had just slipped his arms through the harness when a second 37-mm. round struck the crippled aircraft, sending it out of control. The force of the explosion blew Airman Hackney through the open cargo door and, though stunned, he managed to deploy the unbuckled parachute and make a successful landing. He was later recovered by a companion helicopter. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, Airman Hackney reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
In June, 2006, the training facility at Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio was renamed the Hackney Training Complex. The facility has space to train up to 1,200 people, and a staff of 50. His widow, Carole Hackney Bergstrom, said about the dedication: "I just wish he could see this. I think he'd really be proud of what he did. He would tell you, 'All this stuff wasn't necessary. I was just doing my job.'"
Job well done Chief.
Job well done.