Hero Found: The Greatest POW Escape of the Vietnam War

By Bruce Henderson

From the number 1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of And the ocean Will inform comes Hero Found: the fantastic yet real tale of Dieter Dengler, the one pilot to flee captivity from a POW camp within the Laotian jungle throughout the Vietnam struggle. This awesome tale of overcome likely insurmountable odds has been filmed by way of Werner Herzog as either a documentary (Little Dieter must Fly) and a movie (Rescue Dawn, starring Christian Bale), and now gets its booklet remedy from Bruce Henderson, who served with Dengler in Vietnam.

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Good day, Herb! ” Dick yelled. one of many pilots grew to become, and stated, “Dick! Come on over! ” anyone lifted the rope for us. The Blue Angels pilot named Herb, it grew to become out, used to be a military blood brother of Dick’s. the 2 males shook arms, and Dick brought me. I regarded up, brooding about how Herb may healthy inside of a cockpit. He seemed 8 toes tall. A lieutenant’s gold double bars have been pinned on a foldable khaki cap that sat well on his head, and he wore aviator darkish glasses. “You are looking to take a seat within the cockpit? ” Herb requested me. I replied fast earlier than he may perhaps switch his brain, and he led us down the row of planes. We stopped on the person who had his identify painted lower than the open cover: “Herb Hunter LT. USN. ” at the tail was once quantity three. a brand new pilot used to be now in my lifestyles, and that i learn tales, anyplace i discovered them, in regards to the Blue Angels, continually trying to find an image of quantity 3—which after all grew to become my fortunate number—and any connection with Herb Hunter, who flew with the navy’s elite demonstration group for 3 seasons (1957–1959). * I joined the military reserve whereas nonetheless in highschool so i'll exit to Alameda Naval Air Station for per month drills and be round airplanes. After a stressed 12 months in university, I volunteered for 2 years of lively accountability. that's what introduced me in June 1965 to the plane service Ranger (CVA-61). And whereas i used to be serving aboard send as a weatherman (aerographer’s mate)—taking observations, plotting maps, and launching climate balloons—another pilot got here into my existence. issues started out badly for Ranger pilot Lieutenant ( j. g. ) Dieter Dengler, despite the fact that. He was once shot down over Laos; there has been a violent crash within the jungle; the wreckage of his aircraft used to be stumbled on deep in enemy territory yet there has been no signal of his whereabouts. For lengthy months we heard not anything of him. I good knew that aviators will be misplaced simply that approach: falling to the floor or sea, by no means to be noticeable or chanced on; no corpse; long past perpetually; simply far-off thoughts in case you knew them. Emotionally, these unfulfilled hopes of discovering my misplaced uncle had me to the fleet. And in 1966 off the steamy coast of North Vietnam, there have been many pilots who went lacking. so much, like Uncle Bob, didn't go back. The destiny of Dieter Dengler, even though, used to be to be assorted. Already a legend within the military for his break out and evasion skills—amply confirmed in the course of education within the California desert—he could begin, plan, and lead an geared up break out from a POW camp, changing into the longest-held American to flee captivity through the Vietnam battle. stuck in a determined scenario, imprisoned not just by means of the enemy yet through the jungle itself, Dengler used to be impelled not just to get himself out yet to aid loose the opposite POWs—American, Thai, and Chinese—some of whom were held for years. In a surreal scene of brotherhood and party, Dengler lower back to Ranger six months after being shot down—emaciated, ravaged with numerous tropical health problems yet a great deal alive and joyous to be so—only weeks sooner than we have been as a result of depart the Gulf of Tonkin and go back domestic.

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