Peanuts 4 rescue
1965 – 1966
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
. 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
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 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 VD’s 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.