DD-710 rescues downed airman off of GTMO in February 1965.

Essex helo is first on scene
During air operations off of
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in February
1965, an aircraft received what
was believed to be an accidental
"cold cat" launch from USS Essex,
CVS-9. USS Gearing had the plane
guard assignment and was right
there when the aircraft landed in
the water.

The flight crew scrambled into a life
raft as the plane sank. An Essex
helicopter quickly moved in and,
shown here, begins to lift the
pilots to safety, one at a time.

Essex helo picks up one airman
The next to last air crew
member is lifted to safety in
this photo, but with the raft
now much lighter, the downwash
kept blowing the raft out of
reach of the rescue collar.

(This photo was on page one of
the Providence Journal a couple
of days later.)

Gearing motor whaleboat arrives
DD-710's motor whaleboat
rescue team moves in and
picks up the last pilot.

He was an honored guest of the
Gearing crew for several days
and was highlined back to Essex
only after they paid a "ransom"
of multiple gallons of ice cream.

Left to right in boat below:
Sailor standing in the bow is unidentified;
Terry Jackson, BMSN has elbow on the rail; W. D. Perry, GMSN;
fourth man is unidentified; standing in center is Jake Kettner (SM1 62-66);
Ltjg Paul Althouse, DCA, and the Essex airman are holding the raft;
boat engineman is Dale Schulz, EN2; John Thibadeau, BM3 is coxswain at tiller.
Email if you can help with the names.
Whaleboat crew retreives 2nd pilot

These photos were taken by Don Provost (Ltjg 64-67)
from Gearing's bridge wing using the ship's "intelligence" camera.