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 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.
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.)
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.