Episode 2694 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about the KC-135 crew who broke the rules and saved two F-105s over North Vietnam. The featured story comes from The Aviation Geek Club and is titled: That time a KC-135 Stratotanker crew crossed Vietnam DMZ and went into a dive to refuel a flamed out F-105 Thunderchief. It was submitted by Dario Leone.
Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.
In this story, Leone through a story told by Richard Crandall a former USAF F-111 and F-15E Pilot in the U.S. Air Force (1980–1998) shares the hair raising story of how a KC-135 broke the rules and saved two F-105s over North Vietnam.
According to the story, two F-105 fighters were on a mission to save a downed US pilot in North Vietnam. When both aircraft were running low on fuel, the section leader, Jack Broughton, and his wingman Ken Bell, called out for help from the nearest KC-135. Broughton and Bell were in danger of running out of fuel over North Vietnam and did not want to end up in the Hanoi Hilton.
It seems at the time, SAC rules prohibited KC-135s flying north of the DMZ but the KC-135 crew decided to break the rule and go help the F-105 pilots. They succeeded after utilizing some seemingly impossible maneuvers.
Crandall concluded his story with this:
“I am sure that the entire tanker crew was hospitalized due to massive alcohol poisoning from the drinks they were given at the bar that night. Every fighter pilot who hear of this story has tremendous respect for all involved in this incident. Truly awesome aviation on everybody’s part.”
Listen to episode 2694 and discover more about the KC-135 crew who broke the rules and saved two F-105s over North Vietnam.