10 March 1967

Lieutenant Colonel John Robert Pardo, United States Air Force
Lieutenant Colonel John Robert Pardo, United States Air Force

SILVER STAR

MAJOR JOHN R. PARDO, UNITED STATES AIR FORCE

Major John R. Pardo distinguished himself by gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force over North Vietnam on 10 March 1967. On that date, Major Pardo was flying as the pilot of the lead element on the return from a 1,000 mile flight in which heavy flak damage was encountered. He noticed that his wingman’s aircraft was in trouble and was advised that the aircraft was extremely low on fuel. Realizing that the wingman’s aircraft would not make it out of North Vietnam, Major Pardo implemented maneuvers to literally push the aircraft across the border. The attempt was successful and consequently allowed the crew to avoid becoming prisoners of war. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Major Pardo has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Colonel Stephen A. Wayne, United States Air Force
Colonel Stephen A. Wayne, United States Air Force

SILVER STAR

FIRST LIEUTENANT STEPHEN A. WAYNE, UNITED STATES AIR FORCE

First Lieutenant Stephen A. Wayne distinguished himself by gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force over North Vietnam on 10 March 1967. On that date, Lieutenant Wayne was flying as the copilot of the lead element on the return from a 1,000 mile flight in which heavy flak damage was encountered. He noticed that the wingman’s aircraft was in trouble and was advised that the aircraft was extremely low on fuel. Realizing that the wingman’s aircraft would not make it out of North Vietnam, Lieutenant Wayne assisted in implementing maneuvers to literally push the aircraft across the border. The attempt was successful and consequently allowed the crew to avoid becoming prisoners of war. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Lieutenant Wayne has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Pardo's Push, by S.W. Ferguson. Damaged during the attack on Thai Nguyen Steel Plant, one damaged F-4 Phantom II pushes another, so that all four airman can bail out over the South China Sea, rather than North Vietnam. This is one of the most famous events in aviation history.
“Pardo’s Push,” by S.W. Ferguson. With both aircraft damaged during an attack on Thai Nguyen Steel Plant and unable to reach their base, one F-4 Phantom II pushed the other so that all four airman could bail out over the Laos where they could be rescued, rather than risk capture in North Vietnam. This is one of the most famous events in aviation history.
Captain John R. Pardo and 1st Lieutenant Stephen A. Wayne, after Wayne's 100th combat mission. (U.S. Air Force)
Captain John R. Pardo and 1st Lieutenant Stephen A. Wayne, after Wayne’s 100th combat mission. (U.S. Air Force)

© 2016, Bryan R. Swopes

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6 thoughts on “10 March 1967

  1. We didn’t steal anything from anyone. The JAG episode that depicted the “Push” didn’t appear until after I retired in 1974 and was interviewed by Ollie North. Necessity is the Mother of invention.

    1. Colonel Pardo, my apologies. That was intended as satire between my son and myself. We were (are) both fully aware that the “JAG” episode was based on your very heroic flight. Again, I’m sorry.

      Bryan R. Swopes

  2. Dear Mr. Bryan R. Swopes,

    I read Your site with pleasure. I appreciate Your work and enjoy the interesting informations and photos.

    At this day I have read Colonel Pardo’s great achievement with full of my enthusiasm. Previously I have watched a similar story with similar amazement on TV, at that time with F-86 Sabres. (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0908312/)
    I have found the documentary here: https://youtu.be/knSe5sNyRhE?t=1410 .
    Mr. Robinson Risner’s career is accessible at Wikipedia, and that site is also write abut the event at September 15, 1952. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Robinson_Risner)

    Another source about Brigadier General Robinson Risner – but without mentioning the “push manoeuvre”: https://www.af.mil/About-Us/Biographies/Display/Article/105823/brigadier-general-robinson-risner/ .

    It seems to me that Mr. Risner and Mr. Pardo have found the same solution for the same problem. Ingenious idea, executed with outstanding flying skill.

    Best regards from Budapest, Hungary,
    Ferenc Boros

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