Here is a memory of my Dad’s service to our country: On Sept. 17, 1972 when I, Bart was only 1 year old, my Dad (Dave Swan) performed a risky rescue attempt of two downed F105G pilots in the seas just south of Haiphong harbor. His story is detailed in Leave No Man Behind: The Saga of Combat Search and Rescue by Galdorisi and Phillips, 2008. The following paragraph is an excerpt from the book and reflections by my Dad.
The Air Force were hitting targets in the hills north of the Haiphong area when Lt. Swan in Big Mother 70 (another name for the H3 helicopter) and Lt Lockett in Big Mother 61 received word of an F-105G Wild Weasel in trouble and making for the water. Lt. Swan reached the downed pilot within 45 seconds of impact and released the rescue swimmer who fought unsuccessfully to free the motionless pilot face down in a seated position 15 feet under the water. Big Mother 61 reached the other motionless pilot and Lt. Lockett released his rescue swimmer who was picked up once Lt. Lockett decided the place was to hot. Shore batteries had opened fire, with surprising and immediate accuracy. Lt. Swan followed Lt. Lockett and released his swimmer for a rescue attempt of the same downed pilot. The swimmer attempted the 50 yard swim in rough seas to the downed motionless pilot without success. The swimmer was picked up but had to be released due to the hoist jamming. Lt. Swan considered landing in the water [the H3 had this capability] but the high seas rendered the option very poor indeed. Lt. Swan held his position as the shrapnel rapped into the helicopter. Lt. Lockett flew into the bursting shells to complete the rescue of the swimmer but the swimmer’s position was lost. The aircraft set up a racetrack pattern in and out of the impact area searching for the swimmer. Several passes were made through the forest of splashes and finally after 15-30 minutes the swimmer was located. Lt. Swan lowered Big Mother 70 to within a foot of the wave tops, and with the tail wheel submerged in the sea, the swimmer slipped in to the horse collar and was taken out of the area and brought on board.
For our country’s selfless heroes, and especially my Dad, I am very proud. Thank you!