The 106th Rescue Wing: Pararescueman from ‘The Perfect Storm’ will speak in Westhampton October 22

In one of the dramatic scenes in the movie The Perfect Storm, a rescue helicopter appears, hovering in the wind and rain over the 80-foot seas—possibly the largest seas ever off the Northeastern shore—so its occupants can attempt a daring rescue of two women and a man aboard a 30-foot sailboat that has foundered down below. There are five men aboard this helicopter—Lt. Colonel Graham Buschor, it’s co-pilot, Lt. Colonel David Ruvola, the other co-Pilot, Jim Mioli, the flight engineer, and two pararescuemen, John Spillane and Rick Smith. Over the foundering ship, Spillane and Smith fearlessly leap out of the chopper carrying 110- pound packs on their backs, splash into the water and proceed to put the three victims into baskets that have been lowered by cable. Then, above the rolling, violent seas, the victims are choppered over a nearby Coast Guard ship and lowered down to safety. Of course, this story is not over. The chopper returns and with the same rescue method, cables up the pararescuemen. But now the chopper is running low on fuel. An attempt is made to conduct a mid-air refueling with a propeller driven Hercules four-engine refueling plane that comes over. But the wind is so high, the effort fails. They try again and again to link up, but in the end, the helicopter goes down into the ocean. And though four of the five men onboard are rescued from these enormous seas by the Coast Guard cutter, the fifth man is lost, never to be seen again. Of course, there are other dramatic activities going on in this monster storm—indeed, the main plot of The Perfect Storm is of the men aboard the Andrea Gail fishing boat, out of Gloucester, Massachusetts, who are also never seen again. Read the story here 18:15

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