What are you willing to do to get your squadron mates home ... or at least a chance?
How far are you willing to push yourself and your equipment?
How well do you know the capabilities - written and unwritten - of your equipment?
Ponder Pardo's Push via Air and Space;
The air strike that March day in 1967 was on the ferociously well-defended Thai Nguyen steel mill, north of Hanoi, North Vietnam. One of the attacking U.S. Air Force McDonnell F-4C Phantoms was hit twice by anti-aircraft fire, and gas was streaming from the fuselage. Pilot Earl Aman and weapons systems officer Bob Houghton no longer had enough fuel to return to safe territory.
The airplane Bob Pardo and backseater Steve Wayne were flying wasn’t in much better shape: During the strike it also caught an anti-aircraft round and was leaking fuel, and the two weren’t even sure they could reach an airborne tanker to refuel for the flight back to their base in Thailand. “But I couldn’t see leaving a guy I’d just fought a battle with,” Pardo says, so he radioed Aman, “I’m gonna try to give you a push. Fly that thing as smooth as you’ve ever flown.”
Read it all for the awesome details, but here is where it ended;
Pardo’s Push, as the feat became known, had lasted for about 20 minutes and carried both jets 80 miles—far enough for a safe rescue.
Pardo, Aman, and Houghton injured their backs punching out, and all four airmen had to move to evade an approaching group of Laotian communist militia. Later, the aviators were extracted from the jungle by rescue helicopter crews. “When we got to the club, man, we couldn’t buy a drink,” Pardo recalls. “We had a pretty good party until about midnight.
“The next day, Steve and I went back to war.” The target? The same steel mill north of Hanoi.