Paul Raudenbush – Caterpillar Club

F-100 Ejection

Paul RaudenbushIt has been almost 51 years since I punched out of F-100D 55-2850. I took off from RAF Lakenheath on a single ship MSQ mission to the continent. Shortly thereafter, when the emergency occurred, I was very concerned with getting back over land. The John in the transcript was John Lisella. I thought John could help locate me, but as I was floating down I had second thoughts on that. Fortunately John did not enter the clouds I was floating through.

The Ejection.

The following is a transcript of the entire radio conversation between Wall 19 (me), an F100D who departed Lakenheath on 10 January 1961, and Anglia Control. This conversation was extracted from the recorder tape at the Lakenheath Jet Sector, Anglia Control.

Time: 1536Z

Pilot: Anglia Control, Wall One Nine, departure on Lakenheath.

Anglia: One Nine, continue climbing, report reaching one thousand on top, expect approach clearance at one seven three zero.

Pilot: Roger, one seven three zero, I’m presently VMC between layers, expect to go IMC in about twenty thousand feet or so.

Anglia: Roger, report on top of all clouds.

Pilot: Roger.

(One minute, twenty seconds elapsed between the above transmission and the next one.)

Pilot: Anglia Control, this is One Nine, I’m declaring an emergency, I just had flight control system failure, looks like they both may be going out.

Anglia: Roger One Nine, are you squawking three?

Pilot: Roger, I think I’m going to have to eject, I’ve lost control, get me back over the land.

Anglia: Roger, Wall One Nine, squawk emergency.

Pilot: Roger, I got the rat on and this thing is almost out of control -Am I over land?

Anglia: Wall One Nine, that is affirmative.

Pilot: OK, how far am I inland?

Anglia: Roger, you are one nine miles southwest of the Hopton Beacon at this time.

Pilot: Roger, understand, I’m over Hopton – Is that affirm?

Anglia: I have you one nine miles southwest.

Pilot: OK, I’m going to get as far inland as I can.

Anglia: Roger.

Pilot: How far inland am I?

Anglia: I have you one seven miles inland at this time – One seven miles, over .

Wall 22: Anglia, Two Two here, give me a steer in his direction.

Pilot: (To Wall 22 ) – OK, John, see if you can trace me down – This thing is really out of control.

Wall 22: Roger, Anglia this is Two Two, give me a steer.

Pilot: Roger, I’m going to have to eject.

Anglia: Two Two, understand, you are squawking two.

Wall 22: Roger, Two Two squawking two.

Pilot: OK, this is completely out of control, I’m leaving this bird.

(Above transmission made at 1539Z.)

I certify that the above is a verbatim extract of the radio conversation from the Anglia Control monitor recorder of the Lakenheath Sector on 19 January 1961.

Donald E. Cutshall

Captain, USAF
Chief Controller, Anglia Control
1261st AACS Squadron

The Descent

The ejection went well. I was above the automatic opening altitude and while waiting for the chute, I got impatient and pulled the “D” ring. Feeling the chute come out was very comforting and the deployment was very reassuring. I ejected at about 250 kn0ts and there was very little shock when the chute deployed. Although I thought I was over land, I prepared myself for landing in the English Chanel by deploying the survival kit and pulling the raft up close to me. All the way down I kept rehearing, “spill the chute, close the clip, climb into the raft”. When I broke out at about 1,200 feet and saw land, I dropped the raft, cheered and prepared for my PLF. The landing in a muddy field was very smooth. The residents of the nearby farm house came out and casually said “My word, that is the first landing in our field since the war”. They were preparing for a party and invited me in for a Scotch. I called the squadron and talked with Roy Blakely who had a strong Arkansas accent. I put the resident, a Scotsman, on the phone. They absolutely could not under stand each other and I had to interpret. My Squadron Commander, Skinny Innis came and picked me up.

Meanwhile the aircraft was inverted when it went over two workmen who were loading manure and missed them by a reported 50 yards.


Two days later, Strawberry Reynolds also had double flight control system failure and I watched from Victor alert as he entered the trees and his chute popped at the very last second. His story is also in the SSS Caterpillar Club.

The Air Force published how I skillfully guided the aircraft into a safe area. I accepted that, but when tried to put me in for a medal, I had to throw down the “Bull Shit” flag. In 1990, I was contacted by a museum near the crash site and they were excavating the aircraft remains that were still buried. They invited me to help and I politely declined. — Paul Raudenbush