Peanuts 4 rescue

Vietnam 1965 1966

USS Reeves

 In the summer of 1966, we were settling down to Yankee Station operations.  The pace was pretty hot and heavy, and a lot of SAM sites had been emplaced south of Hainan .  We were running the SAR at sea, and listening in on the Air Force operations with the Jolly Green Giants, the big Sikorsky helos that pulled people out of the jungle when they had been shot down.  The SAR aircraft began hearing one persistent survival radio call from a station called Peanuts 4.  Every time we had a SAR operation in the Valley, Peanuts 4 would pipe up and try to get someone to come and get him.  We were out of it, of course, but the Air Force people said this was a spoofer, that it was a NV unit trying to trap one of our rescue units.  They had looked for the downed pilot, and never had been able to make contact.

 One day, we were in contact with a Jolly Green that was making a rescue run on a pilot who had been shot down, and they spotted an American waving at them from an opening in the jungle.  They called in RESCAP, then went in and got the individual.  He told an amazing story he had been shot down nine months earlier, and had tried to make his way south, walking mostly at night and hiding during the day.  He had been picked up by a North Vietnamese woman who took him in, hid him and took care of him until our rescuers came to get him.  He was one happy camper that he had finally been rescued.  The Navy had a Public Relations field day, arranged for his wife to come to Hawaii to meet him.  Then suddenly the publicity all stopped.  Next time we heard anything about it, the scuttlebutt was that when they gave him his physical, he had contracted one of the incurable VDs that had been talked about over there.  These were mutated forms of syphilis or gonorrhea that were partially treated, then the patient would quit taking the antibiotic before the disease was cured, so the mutation was resistant to the drugs that had been used.  They bred some pretty nasty diseases over there.

 We never heard anything further from Peanuts 4.