While performing airborne alert in the vicinity of DaNang AB. RVN on 1 April 1969 Jolly Green 04 (low) and Jolly Green (JG) 27 (high) over heard a "May-Day from Misty 51 at 0808Z. Misty 51 reported that after completing a "marking pass", he observed a complete loss of engine oil pressure and "an overheat" light. Misty 51 at that time was approximately 250/58/Ch 77 and stated that he intended to try for "feet wet". Shortly after transmission of the original distress message Misty 51 was forced to eject. Jolly Green 04 was approximately 12 miles east of DaNang at the time of intercepting the first distress signal. Immediately, a climb to 3000' MSL was commenced and contact was established with Jolly Green 27. JG's 04 and 27 held at 3000' adjacent to DaNang AB pending the "go" message, which was received at 0813Z concurrently with Spads launch instructions. PANAMA vectored JG 04 and 27 westerly during the climb to 8000 MSL for join-up at 0830Z with Spad's 11 and 12 (alert Spads at DaNang AB). JGs 04 and 27 were placed on orbit at 0850Z at 075/35/72. Spads 11 and 12 proceeded to the survivors area, where they were joined by Spads 01 and 02 who had been launched from Pleiku. Crown 6 had provided navigation and orbit position assistance, and remained with Jolly Greens 04 and 27. The four Spads with Misty 61 assisting evaluated the area and reported figures of 4200' to 6800' pressure altitude (PA). Communications interceptions caused these "lowest to highest" terrain figures to be interpreted as survivor elevations. Computations of capability revealed that it would not be possible to enter the area, however perform a pickup and depart to an aerial refueling point, with the required minimum fuel (computed at 5500 feet, the first elevation thought to be that of the survivors. Closer evaluation by Spads 11 and 12 revealed and confirmed that the altitude of the survivors was 4600 feet (PA). Recomputation by JG 04 and confirmation by JG 27 revealed that a rescue attempt could be made, although undesirable conditions would prevail. JG 04 decided an attempt would be made provided aerial refueling could be performed immediately after the pickup. The helicopters were cleared from the orbit point to the survivor area 070/42.5/72 at 0948Z and arrived there at 0955Z. The survivor position was marked by Spad 11 during JG 04's decent. JG 04 briefed and made a pass over the immediate area, dumped fuel to 900 lbs and performed a 180 degree turn onto the final approach and hovered at 4800 feet (PA). The smoke signal failed to penetrate the vegetation during the approach and the hover was established beyond the first survivor. An immediate 360 degree pattern was performed with the survivor providing inbound corrections. Although the survivor was not immediately observed the penetrator was lowered and as the survivor moved to the penetrator his movement was observed. Pickup was accomplished at 1002Z. Power required during the hoisting was within 2% of power available and proved to be reasonable compatible with computed capabilities and requirements. Had the survivor been located on the windward rather than the leeward, side of the ridge, a more favorable margin of safety would have existed. An immediate, slow, close in left pattern was accomplished with the second survivor providing GCA approach by sound alone. Although he was not able to physically observe the helicopter due to dense foliage, he placed the aircraft almost directly over his position by sound and observing the vegetation disturbance caused by the rotor wash. The penetrator was lowered and grounded approximately 12 feet from the survivor. The Flight Engineer observed the survivor only when at the penetrator. Pickup was made at 1012Z through dense underbrush, trees and bamboo. JG 04 commenced an immediate climb to refuel, completed such at 1020Z and landed at DaNang AB at 1045Z. Both survivors were in exceptional condition, with only minor abrasions to number 2, caused by forcing up through the jungle. At some time during the pickup, JG 04 took one round of small arms fire in a blade tip of the tail rotor.
Survivors were: Major Ronald G. Standerfer, 37 TFWg, Phu Cat, Misty 51A. 1st Lt. Charles L. Veach, 309 TFWg, Tuy Hoa. (TDY to 37 TFWg as Misty pilot).
PANAMA, Crown 6 and Spad navigation assistance was exceptional.
Coordination and support by JG 27 in computing and confirming JG 04 computations was outstanding. Computations were less than 1% difference.
Evaluation and pre-approach preparation by the Spads was outstanding as well as the close in protection provided from start of 1st down to well clear of the area.
The GCA type of approach used by the Spads for initial approach and as used by the survivors for final approach proved exceptionally effective. The rapidly drifting and dissipating smoke signals served only to provide a general location.
The inbound overhead coverage and refueling by Crown 6 was absolutely superb. As JG 04 departed and while climbing to refueling altitude, Crown 6 maintained an optimum position for immediate off-load.