PDA

View Full Version : SF and SKYHOOK, a historical perspective


rick-socom
07-29-2017, 10:45
I read COL Moroney (RIP) posts from 2006 about Flintlock where he discussed Mark LaRochelle and Fulton SKYHOOK and thought a few details from our current SKYHOOK historical research effort might be of interest.
The live pickups were conducted in CONUS 1958-1966, Southeast Asia (SEA) 1967-1971, and EUCOM 1979-1982. Of the 155 names identified thus far as having been picked up, 49 are SF with another 9 possible SF. As we find more names from SEA and EUCOM that SF number will climb. Two SF were GOs when picked up: BG Yarborough and BG Stilwell at Ft Bragg in 1964. MG Singlaub was picked up as a COL in Vietnam in 1967 when he was CDR of MACVSOG. The pickups at Ft Bragg (1962-66) were conducted by Army Caribou and two of the Caribou pilots were also picked up by SKYHOOK.
We’ve confirmed details on two casualties. Most are aware of the 1982 tragedy with Cliff Strickland. There was another equipment failure in 1964 when the lift-line parted on Navy aircraft and a UDT frogman was killed (NSW had a video from a chase plane of this accident). Robert Fulton had claimed that a man was killed when he accidently stepped back off the aircraft after a successful pickup...we’re still researching this.
We're planning a few articles in the future in SOF magazines to lay out a historical summary and hopefully paint a more detailed picture of this past capability, its limitations and what it accomplished.
Thanks again for all the help.
v/r rick
Richard.green1@socom.mil

Pete
07-29-2017, 12:05
...... Robert Fulton had claimed that a man was killed when he accidently stepped back off the aircraft after a successful pickup...we’re still researching this......

Heard that same story back in what must have been mid to late 70's - fourth or fifth person at least.

Astronomy
07-29-2017, 14:10
Likewise. I heard that tale from my Team Daddy back in the early 80's.

Extractee was brought over the ramp successfully, unhooked, and then let go of by recovery personnel. What they failed to realize was that the rider had been spinning in the slipstream the whole time he was being reeled in and had lost all ability to maintain balance while standing. Inner ear function shot, just like a little kid spinning around until falling over on a playground. When the load masters/recovery crew took their hands "off", he careened/stumbled off of the ramp edge.

That story relayed to our 1-10 ODA by Team Sergeant (MSG Don Williams) the night before Strickland's fatality. We were in the FLINTLOCK JSOA immediately south of Strickland's team and had originally been tasked with that extraction mission.

IIRC, Don had been part of the SOF exercise where the guy went over the ramp. Think it was a 7th Group event in Caribbean, early 1970s. Possibly 1st Group in PACOM. He had prior time in both Groups. He was not a fan of the system and filled us in on several anecdotal problems with it.

We got cancelled for that particular mission via flash radio traffic and it was instead assigned to Strickland's team. Supposedly due to better geographical access for VIP viewing of the event. We junior NCOs (drawing straws in our MSS for the honor) were pissed, until we got word of the fatality. Don hadn't been exaggerating.

Team Sergeant
07-29-2017, 18:05
Robert Fulton had claimed that a man was killed when he accidently stepped back off the aircraft after a successful pickup...we’re still researching this.
[/email]

I heard the same exact story in the early 80's. That should not be too hard to track down.

Let us know if we can assist.

Joker
07-29-2017, 22:34
^^^ As did I in 7th, early '80s too.

rick-socom
07-30-2017, 08:35
I heard the same exact story in the early 80's. That should not be too hard to track down.

Let us know if we can assist.

thanks Team Sergeant. One version of this story in the book "Praetorian Starship" about MC-130s, was that the guy fell out of a Navy aircraft (which used a bomb-bay or "Joe Hole") in April 1963 but have found no documents, obituary, navy accident report, or anything else to back that one up. Several SF I talked with about their pickups in SEA in 69-70 also recalled hearing it was off an aircraft with a ramp.

(I sent you a private message on this, thanks)

v/r rick

Team Sergeant
07-30-2017, 12:13
thanks Team Sergeant. One version of this story in the book "Praetorian Starship" about MC-130s, was that the guy fell out of a Navy aircraft (which used a bomb-bay or "Joe Hole") in April 1963 but have found no documents, obituary, navy accident report, or anything else to back that one up. Several SF I talked with about their pickups in SEA in 69-70 also recalled hearing it was off an aircraft with a ramp.
(I sent you a private message on this, thanks)

v/r rick

Again exactly what I also heard. The individual was picked up and reeled in, was unhooked and allowed to walk around with an open ramp and walked off the ramp.

We need to run this down.

MFF3705
07-30-2017, 13:40
Dunno - here is a description from inside the aircraft. The type of platform is not specifically referenced, but in 1962-3 the air frame the Navy was using was the S2F Tracker. It had a joy hole. I have a few pix of fulton recoveries being made into that type air frame.

rick-socom
07-30-2017, 16:59
Dunno - here is a description from inside the aircraft. The type of platform is not specifically referenced, but in 1962-3 the air frame the Navy was using was the S2F Tracker. It had a joy hole. I have a few pix of fulton recoveries being made into that type air frame.

thanks MFF3705. that list on your thumbnail was an early draft of the UDT/SEAL list that one of my frogman brethren posted. It has a few errors but you're right, all the pickups were by S2F (or S2A) except for the first one who was picked up by P2V.

The article on the right of your thumbnail was published in the frogman magazine "the BLAST" and discusses the events regarding Jim Fox's death. The one story on Jim Fox that all the old team guys recall is that when the rope broke and he was falling away, Jim reportedly flipped the aircrew the bird.