Pardo's Push

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Renwycke
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Joined: 11/19/2011

Recently, I was reaquainted with this Vietnam Era story about two F-4 pilots.  It's a great story for anyone not aware.

The synopsis is that one F-4, Arman's, had taken AA fire over North Vietnam and was going down. This meant capture and torture at "Hanoi Hilton," the North Vietnamese's POW camp, or worse. Another F-4 pilot on the same run, Pardo, had taken some damage as well and was losing fuel. He had enough range and control of his F-4 to refuel in air and make it back. Instead he positioned himself behind Arman's F-4 and began to physically push Arman's crippled F-4, aircraft to aircraft, towards a friendlier border. The nose of the F-4 didn't have the structural integrity to withstand the contact, so Pardo used his cockpit canopy glass to Arman's tailhook. It's an amazing story, known as "Pardo's Push." Both crews, two men per aircraft, were able to eject closer to the border and were safely recovered.

At the time, the Air Force leadership was very sensitive to combat losses, and Pardo was reprimanded for the loss of his F-4. In 1989, his case was re-examined and Bob Pardo, and his "Guy in Back" Steve Wayne, were awarded the Silver Star.

 

Full story here, Air Force Magazine, Oct 1996. And the Wikipedia entry.

 

 

Gnurft
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Last seen: 1 year 10 weeks ago
Joined: 10/17/2010

This really is an impressive story.  The sad part is, as Ren points out, the AF leadership did not have a clue so decided it was better to admonish Pardo for losing the plane.  Unfortunately that is not the only time AF leadership was out of touch with reality.  Read any of the stories about Robin Olds during the Vietnam War as well or look back at Billy Mitchell when the AF was still the Army Air Corps.

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