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1966 Cruisebook photo

bullet 12 July 1966 - Lt Bill Waechter/Lt(jg) Bob Wildman/ADJ2 Harley Olsen/AX1 Michael Brantly - penetrate 35 miles northwest of Haiphong to rescue VF-162 pilot Lt(jg) Richard F. Adams from a high altitude karst mountain area. Lt Adams was flying a F-8E Crusader (BuNo. 150902) from the USS Oriskany (CVA-34) when he was downed by small arms fire. RESCAP is provided by four A-1 Skyraiders (Callsign: Locket) from VA-152, also flying from the Oriskany. Crew draws fire during ingress and egress. This was the second time that Lt Adams had been shot down. Read about both of Lt Adams' shootdowns and subsequence rescues here - scroll to page 29.
bullet Read more about the rescue efforts as described in "Leave No Man Behind - the Saga of Combat Search and Rescue" by George Galdorisi and Tom Phillips. This excerpt used with the gracious permission of the authors. The book can be ordered from Amazon.com and many other book sellers.

Read rescue synopsis - Silver Star Medal

Read about Rick's rescue in the July 29, 1966 issue of Time magazine.

Read Bill's write-up of the rescue in the August 2008 issue of the Retired Northwest Pilot's Association "Contrails" magazine.

L to R: Jerry Adams, Bob Burnand, Bill, Andy Anderson, and Leon Houglum at Ream Field - date unknown Bill in his bunkroom - 1967-8 cruise
Cutting the cake after a successful SAR Det in 1966 - L-R: Don Nichols, Rick Grant, Jim Petrovich, Bob Wildman, Bill and XO Warren Lockwood

Bill looks like an airline pilot as he flies over the Philippine countryside while supporting President Johnson's participation in the Seven Nation Conference in Manila, Philippine Islands in October 1966

Read about Bill in this Union Tribune article about the HS-6 Fly-In after the 1966 cruise

Bill at a museum ceremony honoring Jewish war veterans in Miami
Bill and Rosie (and her grandkids) at the ceremony

Bill and Rosie in Holland during a 2008 trip to Europe
Bill and Rosie in Italy during the same trip

Jerry Smith remembers Bill this way:

"At this remove, everyone looks like a kid.  These were great and troubling times, and the tension was often relieved by the colorful characters in that unholy group of rotor heads.  As some measure of help, I note that some of the RR’s are not yet found, but I certainly remember some of them: 

Bill Waechter - The most informed Wall Street investor in the squadron – he probably owns the NYSE at this point.  Bill was the air intelligence officer for HS-6 when those of us from USNA ’63 checked aboard in 1965 – that group consisted of Vern von Sydow, Bob Wildman, Ollie Donelon, and myself.  Sober, quiet, unassuming Academy pukes all – NOT!  I worked for Bill as an assistant AIO upon joining the squadron.  Bill was a very smart guy, who loved to snigger at the protests of those of us junior officers who were the victims when his beagle, “Tar Baby,” subjected us to violent and amorous leg humping.  I am sure that that dog was shot somewhere along the way.  Bill was not one who most would consider a wild man in combat, but read the account of his and Bob Wildman’s rescue of “Bulb” Adams during the 1966 cruise.  His achievements were an indication of why and how the Israelis would whomp Arab butt in 1967." 

Updated: 04/10/10