Gunfighter 82A/B

18 Dec 1971
(tape courtesy of Robert "Black Bart" Bartunek, Sandy pilot)

Gunfighter 82 was an F-4E crew assigned to the 366th TFW at DaNang AB, RVN. On the night of 17 December 1971, Gunfighter 82 was downed by a SAM near Mu Gia Pass about 65 nm east of Nakhon Phanom RTAFB, Thailand. Mu Gia Pass was a notoriously bad place situated along the Ho Chi Mihn trail. One week earlier, the crew of Ashcan 02, an F-105 Wild Weasel was downed and rescued in the same general vicinity.

Both 7th Air Force News and Pacific Stars and Stripes ran stories of the rescue.

Gunfighter 82A was Lt Col Arthur Blissett
Gunfighter 82B was Lt Michael Murray

There were two HH-53 Super Jolly Green Giant rescue helicopters from the 40th ARRS out of NKP Thailand, with Jolly Green 30 performing the actual pickup:

Jolly Green 30 was crewed by Maj. Clyde E. Bennett, aircraft commander; Maj Donald L. Roston, pilot; A1C William T. Lyles, flight engineer; and pararescuemen MSgt Daniel L. Schmidt, SSgt William E. Brown and Sgt Dennis E. Williamson.

Four Sandy's were involved in the pickup of Gunfighter 82. Sandy 01 and 02 were working the survivor and Sandy 03 and 04 initially remained with the HH-53s west of the survivors location.

Sandy 01 was Capt Roger Youngblood
Sandy 02 was Capt Ron Smith
Sandy 03 was
Sandy 04 was

Nail 07 was on scene and assisted in putting in air strikes to suppress enemy activity.

Nail 07 was ??

Participant's Accounts


The tape is presented here in its entirety. It runs 24 minutes and 25 seconds and is in RealAudio format. You will need RealAudio on your computer system in order to access the tape.

The tape begins with Sandy 01 about to commit the SAR force to the pick-up of Gunfighter 82A. Up until this time, there was only one objective, the pilot (A) of Gunfighter 82. Gunfighter 82B (the WSO), was not in contact with the SAR pickup force up until this point in time. As Sandy 01 briefed the rescue forces on the forthcoming pick-up attempt, Gunfighter 82B suddenly came up on his survival radio. This forced a short "fall back and regroup" delay while Sandy 01 located the back seater (Bravo).

Soon all is sorted out and both survivors were ready for pick-up. The tape ends as Jolly 30 with both survivors on board exited the area to the northwest.

(Audio file is in mp3 format)


Play Gunfighter 82 SAR tape