Combat SAR Operations

Combat SAR SAR Pix LBJ Support USS Evans Special M-60 Carrier Ops UnRep Misc Ops

29 December 1967

Rescue of Lt J.F. Dowd and Ltjg G. K. Flint, VA-161


Gordon Thomas' recollection: "Our original vector took us too far north to a different set of islands.  We should have been directed to the Fai Tsi Long  Archipelago just off Haiphong.  We picked up that crew in  the southwest  area, between the four islands there. 

We dropped them off on the Coral Sea during the middle of an Alpha Strike recovery under minimums, (>200' ceiling weather conditions).  We were unloading the F-4 jocks while receiving a count down as to when the next aircraft was going to hit the deck.  When we finally, seemed like forever,  pulled collective and rolled to the port side I looked back and there was an A-4 sitting were we had been!!!!    There was also a "Welcome Rachael" sign painted on the rounddown as the Bob Hope show was expected aboard or had just left."


From VA-25 Squadron History: "ROCK RIVER 203 (VF-161) was shot down among the northern islands of the Gulf of Tonkin.  LCDR BOLT and ENS RAMSEY arrived overhead for search and protection.  LCDR ROUSA and LTJG DUNN rendezvoused with BIG MOTHER 71 and escorted it to the survivors.  The air temperature was 40F, and speed was important.  The pickup was rapidly made, with no opposition, and soon two very happy CORAL SEA pilots were back aboard.  Their comments:  'When we saw the SPADs, we knew we had it made!'"