22 August 1967 – As told by Hank Canterbury – The first time I went to Vietnam was 1967. I flew 286 missions in the first year I was over there. There was one incident during my time there where I had to jettison the airplane, sometimes known as “ejection”.
My engine just decided it had had enough, so it just quit. I’m heavily loaded with bombs and what have you, and low to the ground. I said, “this isn’t going to work!”. I turned about 90 degrees and jettisoned all the bombs and the fuel tanks from underneath the wing. The aircraft was sinking so I tried some procedures to get the aircraft running again, none of which worked. I did another turn to get back out over the water (if I could).
I looked up and saw how low I was and thought, it’s time to jettison this airplane! I reached down and blew the canopy and jettisoned the aircraft. I came out did a back somersault, the parachute opened and I hit the water.
I was fortunate that at least I was in the water which gave me a little protection from somebody coming at me, which they did. But, I had some support overhead which scared them off and I had my trusty .38 pistol which I showed to them. I don’t know if that had any effect on them.
I was picked up, finally, after about an hour in the water, and I made it out. It was kind of an exciting time.
(Excerpted from an interview with Lightspeed Executive Vice President and instrument-rated private pilot, Teresa De Mers, titled “A Lifetime of Flying and Serving with Hank Canterbury”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Dr4GXcdy68&feature=youtu.be)
For more about Hank Canterbury, see his bio at https://supersabresociety.com/biography/canterbury-henry-d/