THE BOOT

 

After reading the Warrior 22 story on the WEB page, I recalled another incident regarding F-100's.I don't know the date only that it was in 1965, nor can I remember the location other than it being in the Mekong Delta.We got a call that an F-100 went down for some reason (I canít remember whether it was a mechanical failure or hostile fire), the location given was only general, so we got radar vectors To the location from Paddy Control, the aircraft's last known position.After searching for sometime, we located what appeared to be the impact site, and descended to confirm it.After our descent, we did indeed confirm that it was the crash site, further inspection revealed only a crater which was rapidly filling with water, remember This was the Delta, in the monsoon season; all water and rice paddies!We hovered around the crater looking for any sign of life or debris that we could identify as an F-100.We found two things, the canopy which was located some distance from the crater, and nearer the crater, a boot, yes a boot!It was standing near the crater in an upright position as if someone had just sat it there.I instructed either the Gunner or the Crew Chief to recover the canopy, which was done, I then hovered back to the crater in order to recover the boot.

Again, I instructed the Crew to get the boot, both answered no Sir, I'm not getting the boot, I asked why not, they both said that there is probably a foot in there and they just did not want to see if there was, both men were spooked by that lone boot just sitting there!You're probably wondering why one of the Pilots didn't get out and recover the boot, well we did not want to discover a foot in there either, additionally we had to hold the aircraft at a low hover because the rice plants and water prevented us from landing in the paddy, a good excuse anyway!It took several minutes to convince one of them, the Gunner I believe, to jump out and recover the boot.We proceeded to hover over to the boot; the Gunner jumped out, and approached the boot with great intrepidation.He finally got there, picked up the boot and brought it back into the aircraft.As it turned out there was nothing in the boot, it was a jungle boot still fully laced up, there was no ID (dog tag) or anything on it, just the boot!I have no idea how that boot got there, the only Thing that I could come up with is that some how that boot came off that pilot at impact, since we found the canopy and no parachute, seat or anything else, I have to assume That the pilot rode that machine in!His only marker was that canopy and that boot!

To this day I have no idea who he was or if his remains were ever recovered, just a Pilot flying an F-100 that went in during a combat mission.We did take the canopy and the boot to Can Tho and turned them over to the Air Force.It's strange the things you remember at odd times, sometimes I wonder if wasn't all just a bad dream. Anyway that's my latest memory.

 

Jerry Turner (BCr)

Warrior 25

 

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