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May, 1980, rescue at Sea,

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For a book on a mid-Atlantic rescue,May, 1980, featuring the Skipper (Maj. Wm. F. Gunkel, now deceased) and crew of a C-130E, during a routine flight (Fla, to NC, for fuel, to Frankfort) that turned into a life saver. Author is looking for anyone involved in rescue, as well  as much technical data as possible---avg. air speed during Atlantic crossing. Alt? Sailor EPIRB working only on VHF,  usual to monitor that channel?  Supposedly aircraft was first to show new desert camo paint job; after Germany, plane headed to spec. op base in Egypt, where she was thereafter based. Engines? Stall speed? And more. All help appreciated. Want to get this story right.

capsize-1.jpg

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Are you Rorey Nugent?

I agree, you don't mix "Skipper" with "Major."

The crew was Major Bill Gunkel (aircraft commander), 1st Lt. Ed Gallagher (co-pilot), Capt Charles Gaetze (navigator), SSgt Carl L. Thomas (flight engineer) & SSgt Richard McClure (loadmaster).  

The airplane was the 37th TAS' first desert camouflaged C-130, but I don't remember the tail number.  The airplane was never based at a special ops base in Egypt.

Don R. 

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I'm not familiar with that particular incident, but IIRC there was a rescue at sea facilitated by a KY ANG crew in 2002-ish. A Cessna 172 had to ditch at sea between Lajes and mainland Portugal after running out of fuel. The crew dropped some survival gear and stayed on station long enough for a P-3 to take over top cover until a ship was able to pick up the pilot.

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To Don R.

 

  Thanks for the information. I am that sailor, Rory Nugent, and I want to get things right. I got to know Gunkel well before he died, but he always shied away from talking about his role in the rescue. So we talked about most anything else. For a new book, I'd like to set the scene as well as possible inside the aircraft when the first EPIRB signal was detected, then silence (the EPIRB was malfunctioning and/or low on battery juice), then picked up, lost, over and over, until the loadmaster sighted the wreck. Also, I'm looking for basic info on C-130 flights over Atlantic. Speed. Altitude. What a pilot would hear through earphones? would Lajes be a mandatory stop? What would the crew normally be doing, say, 350 miles out of Lajes? Reading? And more ?????s.

Don, were you involved in the rescue?

 

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21 hours ago, DC10FE said:

Are you Rorey Nugent?

I agree, you don't mix "Skipper" with "Major."

The crew was Major Bill Gunkel (aircraft commander), 1st Lt. Ed Gallagher (co-pilot), Capt Charles Gaetze (navigator), SSgt Carl L. Thomas (flight engineer) & SSgt Richard McClure (loadmaster).  

The airplane was the 37th TAS' first desert camouflaged C-130, but I don't remember the tail number.  The airplane was never based at a special ops base in Egypt.

Don R. 

 

I am he, I responded below in the forum..Hope to hear from you

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Rorey,

Email me @ topgun0193@aol.com.  I have an article from the Rhein Main AB newspaper you might be interested in.

No sense clogging up this forum.

Don R.

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