HC-7 RESCUE 16 (1) 28-DEC-1967 (Thursday)

UH-2A Kaman Seasprite helo Buno 149765 HC-7 NAS Atsugi Routine Day (2)
38 miles off Japan main coast
Water: – Air: 80⁰ Wind: 45-58 knots Sea State: 8, wave 12’

Pilot – LTJG James P. Quinn Jr.
Co-pilot – LTJG C. H. “Skip” Yates III
1st crew – AN Finely R. Williams
2nd crew – AN Steven R. Hill

Alert received – 1022 : UHF transmission FM Atsugi tower
Vehicle departed – 1025 : Approximate 90 km
Arrived on scene – 1150 : Yes
Located survivor – 1155: Smoke dropped by US Air Force C-130
Begin retrieval – 1155: Yellow life raft
Ended retrieval – 1156: RTB – low fuel state
Survivor disembarked – 1310: NAS at Atsugi

F-4C Phantom 63-7682 35th Tactical Fighter Squadron, USAF – Yokota
1st LT John D. Wadsworth

Two Phantoms on a routine patrol along the Japanese coast line, losing power one transmits a distress call. Pilot 1st LT John D. Wadsworth and co-pilot 1st LT Richard R. Geiger lost control of their Phantom approx. 40 miles south of Oshima Island and punched out. A C-130 “Hercules” scrambles from Tachikawa, 36th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron (ARRS).

This day Ltjg Yates was the Duty SAR / Test Pilot and Ltjg Quinn was newly designated in the H-2 helicopter, at NAS Atsugi – Helicopter Combat Support Squadron SEVEN. Yates asks Quinn if he would like to sign for an aircraft to track the blades. 10:22 returning to NAS Atsugi, they hear the need for SAR, landed to take on extra fuel and launched at 10:25 for an approx. 95 mile flight south.(5) Gale force winds with gusts up to 58 mph slowed their maximum speed by 25%. (3) The “Hercules” locates Wadsworth. Geiger was rescued earlier by Japanese fishing boat and taken to Miyake Jima Island, to be picked up later by an USAF HH-43.(7) Mean while in 12-15 foot waves Wadsworth hung on to his yellow one-man raft for an hour. The C-130 dropped a white smoke which proved to be very difficult to see within the foaming whitecaps.(3)

With additional assistance provided by two USAF HH-43 helicopters and P-3A, communications were difficult due to the large number of aircraft.(11)

At 11:55 the helo crew locates Wadsworth and with great difficulty lowers him the rescue sling. Having a low fuel state, they depart the area at 11:56 to return to NAS Atsugi. Battling the storm they arrive at NAS Atsugi 13:10, the base flight surgeon met Wadsworth with hot coffee and dry clothes.(3)(6)

That’s about it. Gave Jim Quinn a chance to log some HAC time and he gets a good rescue. I talked him through it as I don’t think he had ever done a hoist pick-up. “Skip” Yates

1) Numbering as per HC-7 Rescue Log (accumulative rescue number)
2) HC-7 1967 Command Report
3) HC-7 Rescue report
4) Map – Google Earth
5) Narrative provided by “Skip” Yates
6) “Skywriter” Atsugi newspaper 5-Jan-1969
7) Pacific Stars & Stripes – 30-Dec-1967
10) HC-7 History collection; Ron Milam – Historian
11) Kaman Rotor Tips – March-April 1968
SAR – Search and Rescue

(Compiled / written by: Ron Milam, HC-7 Historian – HC-7, 2-1969 to 7-1970, Det 108 & 113)