Today in History – May 23, 1969 – Super Sabres from RAF Lakenheath chase stolen Lockheed C-130E Hercules

23 May 1969 “A drunken U.S. Air Force assistant crew chief, Sgt. Paul Adams Meyer, 23, of Poquoson, Virginia, suffering anxiety over marital problems, starts up a Lockheed C-130E Hercules, 63-7789, c/n 3856, of the 36th Tactical Airlift Squadron, 316th Tactical Airlift Wing, on hardstand 21 at RAF Mildenhall and takes off in it at 0655 hrs (CET) headed for Langley AFB, Virginia.

At least two North American F-100 Super Sabres from RAF Lakenheath, a C-130 from Mildenhall, and two RAF English Electric Lightnings are sent aloft to try to make contact with the stolen aircraft.

The Hercules crashes into the English Channel off Alderney (5000N, 0205W) 90 minutes later. In the last transmission from Meyer, to his wife, in a link-up over the side-band radio, he stated “Leave me alone for about five minutes, I’ve got trouble.”

There is speculation as to whether the Hercules was shot down. Some wreckage was recovered but the pilot’s body was never found. Meyer had been arrested for being drunk and disorderly earlier in the morning in the village of Freckenham and had been remanded to quarters, but sneaked out to steal the Hercules.”

Source: Wikipedia

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