By Joe Kittinger
Many years after his liberate from a North Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp in 1973 Colonel Joseph Kittinger retired from the Air strength. stressed and unchallenged, he grew to become to ballooning, a life-long ardour in addition to a continuing diversion for his mind's eye in the course of his imprisonment. His basic aim used to be a solitary circumnavigation of the globe, and in its pursuit he set numerous ballooning distance documents, together with the 1st solo crossing of the Atlantic in 1984. however the aeronautical feats that first made him an American hero had happened 1 / 4 of a century previous. by the point Kittinger was once shot down in Vietnam in 1972, his Air strength profession was once already mythical. He had made a reputation for himself at Holloman Air strength base close to Alamagordo, New Mexico, as a try pilot who helped show that egress survival for pilots at excessive altitudes used to be attainable in emergency occasions. paradoxically, Kittinger and his pre-astronaut colleagues may aid propel americans into house utilizing the world's oldest flying desktop - the balloon. Kittinger's paintings on undertaking Excelsior - which concerned bold high-altitude bailout assessments - earned him the prestigious Flying pass lengthy ahead of he earned a suite of medals in Vietnam. regardless of the numerous accolades, Kittinger's proudest second continues to be his loose fall from 102,800 ft within which he completed a pace of 614 miles in line with hour. during this long-awaited autobiography, Kittinger joins writer Craig Ryan to record an awesome profession.
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Extra resources for Come Up and Get Me: An Autobiography of Colonel Joseph Kittinger
We were waiting on the flight line, listening, when several F-84s suddenly appeared on the initial approach to Neubiberg. Man, were they gorgeous machines! Directly over the approach end of the airfield, the first jet in formation broke smartly, executed a 360-degree turn, and made a perfect landing. Seventy-four more F-84s followed suit. There were three fighter squadrons in the 86th Tactical Fighter Wing, and each had its own parking ramp. Each of the F-84s taxied to its designated ramp and shut down.
I reminded her that if something were to happen to me, the Air Force would notify her immediately. If she hadn’t heard anything, I explained, that was good news. From that day forward, though, I wrote to my mother once a week—no matter how busy I was or where I happened to be. I didn’t ever want to lose my place in the flight schedule again. Of course, when word got out about my “problem,” the rest of the pilots teased me about it for weeks. I learned my lesson. With Christmas approaching, the decision was made to move the squadron back to Munich.
It took Frank a few seconds to come to, but when he opened his eyes and saw that gator wiggling on top of him, he bolted upright and jumped right into the river. The other men woke up, found my brother and me howling with laughter, and saw Frank climbing back up onto the deck. By this time, the fishing line had come loose from the gator’s jaws, and that’s the first thing Frank saw as he climbed aboard—an alligator hissing and snapping right in his face. He jumped right back into the river. Funny thing is, Frank never accompanied us on another one of those fishing trips.