This gripping chronicle of an aerial rescue during the Vietnam War offers a vivid example of the heroism of US Air Force pararescue jumpers.
In June of 1972, Capt. Lynn Aikman was returning from a bombing mission over North Vietnam when his F-4 Phantom was shot down. He and his backseater Tom Hanton ejected from their aircraft, but Hanton landed near a village and was quickly captured. Badly injured during the ejection, Aikman landed some distance from the village, making it possible for an American aerial rescue team to reach him before the enemy.
Drifting in and out of consciousness, Aikman saw his guardian angel in the sky: USAF Pararescue Jumper Chuck McGrath. But as Sgt. McGrath prepared to hook the Aikman to a hoist line, hostile fire on the rescue helicopter damaged the hoist mechanism. As A-1 Skyraiders kept an enemy militia away from Aikman and McGrath, the helicopter crew scrambled to come up with a plan.
More than a chronicle of the events of June 27, 1972, Taking Fire provides an up-close look at the little-known world of the US Air Force’s elite aerial rescue force.