McGuire Rig Rescue
John W. Korsbeck
Rat Pack 17, 69-70
I had to use the McGuire rig on several occasions. One of the more memorable one was at Mai Loc Oct/Nov 69. Duke Payne & I were both about to get our AC orders and did a lot of PICing with each other.
One of Delta's teams became compromised on their 2nd or 3rd day out and was on THE RUN. The weather was NOT FOR SHIT ! And everyone and anyone was on call to make an attempt to pull one of them out when the possibility arose. Over the next 2 or 3 days I think individual 'grabs' were made all over the area until there were 1 US and 2 RR's left on the ground and they were scattered and not in contact w/each other. Late one afternoon and getting dark & foggy and drizzling, Duke & I were sent out to attempt a pick up of the SF team lead. With 2 WP in tow we headed SE of Mai Loc into some pretty rough country. The guns finally made radio contact with the SGT and he was in a box canyon - complete with waterfall and all and the ceiling was almost nil. When we got over the pick up point we were about 60 - 70 feet off the ground with the main rotor in the clouds. The box canyon was so small, only one C-model could come in at a time and they had to fly along one side of us - they would go IFR if they flew over the top of us. We hovered around for what seemed like days - but probably about 15 - 20 minutes trying to find a spot where the Sgt could get a hook up clearing. Occasionally a green or orange "firefly" would traverse the area - but I'm sure it was shooting at sounds. When the Sgt finally got hooked on - we had a slight problem on our hands. In order to get him above the tree tops - we were going to be IFR. I took my best shot at a compass heading that SHOULD take us through a saddle in the ridge line with extra care we started a vertical T/O, turned to my SWAGed heading and once we figured we had climbed approx. 200 - 300 ft, started a slow forward flight. Once thru translational lift we whopped along totally IFR at about 25 Kts. Hoping we weren't dragging our SF troop through the trees. After 6 - 8 clicks and an eternity of time - we spied a hole in the soup. With the guns keeping a wary eye out; we landed and put our "very happy" team Sgt in the back coiled up our rope and went back to the barn. SF was overheard to say later " Damn it sure is strange to look up the rope and see nothing but clouds." And TINS !!!
John K RP 17