Today in History – February 16, 1967 – Col Frank C. Buzze is shot down in F-100D #562907. It takes 3 attempts to rescue him as HH-3’s take ground fire..

16 February 1967 – Col Frank C. Buzze was serving with the 309TFS out of Tuy Hoa AB, Vietnam. Flying that day as Dusty 71, in F-100D #562907, he was headed on a mission to strike a Vietcong base camp when his aircraft was hit in the right wing by heavy automatic weapons (12.7mm AAA). Buzze was forced to eject near Ban Talan Nua, NVN

“An HH-3E #64-14233 (Call sign “Jolly Green 56”) from the 37th ARRS, crewed by Capt. Angelo Pullara (P), Capt. Jerrold D. Ward  (CP), William T. Lowe (FE), and William J. Flower (PJ) took off to rescue the pilot.

Capt Angelo Pullara

While hovering over Col. Buzze the helicopter received ground fire, taking over 40 hits, and the HH-3E pilot, Capt. Angelo Pullara was hit and killed. The co-pilot, Capt. Ward, also received bullet wounds but was able to take over the controls of the helicopter and fly away from the area. As they left the area the FE and PJ removed Capt. Pullara from the pilot’s seat, freeing up the seat for the FE to occupy and help Capt. Ward fly the helicopter if necessary, while the PJ treated Capt. Ward’s wounds. The helicopter returned safely to Saravane, Laos escorted by “Jolly Green 07”.

A second  HH-3E (Call sign “Jolly Green 36”) from Det. 5, 38th ARRS, crewed by Capt. Leland T. Kennedy (P), 1st Lt. James A. Colyer (CP), SSgt. Raymond Godsey (FE) and A2C Robert D. Bowers (PJ), became the second bird to attempt the rescue of Col Buzze. Their attempts were unsuccessful as they were driven off by intense AAA ground fire.

HH-3E (Call sign “Jolly Green 37”) from the 37th ARRS, crewed by Capt. Robert L. Powell (P), Maj. Powell L. Moore (CP), SSgt. John P. Rogerson (FE) and A1C David W. Slinger (PJ), [was] the third “Jolly Green” to make the attempt, and successfully rescued the pilot…from his ground fire damaged aircraft… “(1)

Angelo Pullara is buried or memorialized at Marti Cemetery, Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida.

Source: (1) Helo Timeline

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