On November 18, 1965, U.S. Navy pilot Willie Sharp ejected from his F-8 fighter after being hit while positioned over a target in North Vietnam. With a cloud layer beneath him, he did not know if he was over land-where he would most certainly be captured or killed by the North Vietnamese or over the Gulf of Tonkin. As he ejected, both navy and air force aircraft were already heading toward him to help.
Thanks to Dennis DeFreitas and his Youtube video of Willie’s shootdown available here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Md9oNlLYEr8
Co-host James Chilcott speaks with former military flight test engineer Eileen A. Bjorkman, who has written “Unforgotten in the Gulf of Tonkin A Story of the U.S. Military’s Commitment to Leave No One Behind” The book includes nail-biting descriptions of air combat, flight, and rescue as Bjorkman places Willie Sharp’s story in the larger context of the U.S. military’s bedrock credo-No Man Left Behind-and calls attention to the more than eighty thousand Americans still missing from conflicts since World War I. She also explores the devastating aftershocks of the Vietnam War as Willie Sharp struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder.
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I am delighted to welcome Eileen Bjorkman to our Cold War conversation…
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