Jack's Distinquished Flying Cross

Home
Distinquished Flying Cross
Tiff Hawk's Recovery Report
USS Kearsarge CVS33
Sikorsky H-3 Sea King
Aircraft Ejection History
Return to CDR John A Feldhaus Web Site

distflycrossc.jpg

The Distinguished Flying Cross is the oldest military aviation award and one of the highest honors given to aviators serving in the United States Armed Forces.  Jack's medal was awarded for the August 20 1966 rescue of a downed US Air Force pilot who went by the call sign of TORPEDO.

The rescued USAF pilot was Edwin Tiffany Hawks, known as Tiff Hawks. The aircraft, an RF-4C Phantom, took a direct hit from ground fire during a night photo run while dropping flares. The explosion from the ground fire may have incapacitated the other crew member, Richard M. Milikin III, who was in the rear seat. He was never recovered. Hawks ejected and evaded the enemy until he was picked up by a rescue helicopter.

Note
Tiff Hawks grew up in Donaldson, Tennessee, a bedroom community outside of Nashville. Jack Feldhaus grew up in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, eighty miles south of Nashville. Their paths never crossed until that day on August 20, 1966.

rf4c5.jpg
RF-4C Phantom

tiff1.jpg
Tiff Hawks

tiff_nov_2005.jpg

On 6/4/02 Tiff Hawks wrote:

"I was the downed pilot of the RF-4C, call sign, "TORPEDO", that Jack and his wingman located, identified and definitely created the rescue that saved my life. The chopper that picked me up was call sign, "Indian Gal 51", from the Kearsarge. I knew the A-1 Locket flight, was from the Oriskany. I never knew until this week that Jack Feldhaus was the one who led Locket flight. "INDIAN GAL 51" was piloted by Lt. BIll Roy, co-pilot Lt. Vann Goodloe and one of the specialists in the back that hoisted me up to safety was named Sitko,"

bar_blue.gif

vann_goodloe.jpg

On July 6, 2006 Vann Goodloe, CAPT,USN Ret wrote:

"I have fond memories of that Locket Flight in August "66 as they kept the bad guys at bay while we went about the business of providing Capt Tiff Hawks a ride to haze gray & underway. Tiff had been evading the NVN for 36 hours when we plucked him from an area near Ron, N Vietnam.

Without a doubt, one of the reasons we made it out alive was due to your brother and the Locket Flight's combat actions on that eventful day in August 1966.

A NVN contigency of regulars were hot on the heels of Tiff when we pulled him by hoist through the treetops and the Locket flight kept the bad guys pinned down with bombs, rockets and guns. The spads provided unbelievable air cover for our lightly armed H-3 helicopter (two M60 machine guns), plus their constant radio directions ("jinking") during the exiting flight out of North Vietnam always kept us at an altitude and direction just beyond the AAA targeting of our helicopter...and we were moving at about 135 knots.

Only during our intel debrief aboard Kearsarge after the mission did we realize just how close the AAA airbursts were coming to our changing altitudes and direction. But that was the plan...stay ahead of the airbursts!

Your brother was one hell of a Naval Aviator and most certainly one of my heroes.

I retired from the Navy in 1993 after 32 years of active duty..and would do it all over again in a heartbeat."

Tiff with stick from the jungle The crew of Indian Gal

Vann Goodloe added:

"Jack flew cover for our H-3 helicopter when we participated in the rescue of USAF Capt. Tiff Hawks on August 20, 1966 near Ron, NVN. Our crew included LT Bill Roy and aircrewmen Sitko and Sprague.

Thanks to Jack and his 2-plane Locket flight, they kept the bad guys at bay while we hovered over towering trees to extract Tiff from a large group of NVN regulars who were hot on his heels.

As I recall, Tiff had been evading capture after his crash for about 36 hours. Jack and his wingman laid down all kinds of firepower while we were sitting in the hover, and then gave us expert directions and altitude changes to avoid all the AAA coming our way...in a phrase, Locket Flight "saved our bacon" and helped us save an Air Force fighter pilot from the hands of the NVN.

Bill Roy (aircraft commander)received the Silver Star, Sitko and Sprague the Air Medal and I received a DFC for Tiff's rescue. And on the way up to the helo via our rescue hoist, Tiff brought along a 9 foot tree limb from the jungle canopy below jammed in the forest penetrator seat we lowered to him. We broke off pieces and gave to the crew as a momento of the occasion.

Only after returning to the ship and undergoing a debrief by the Intel guys did we realize just how close the AAA was to our aircraft as we headed from the inland pick-up point out to sea...puffs of flack kept popping up at our last altitude and heading the entire egress to the sea. Thanks to Jack and his wingman, we can tell this story today and honor a courageous and superb Naval Aviator who "covered our six"...CDR Jack Feldhaus."

russ-sprague.jpg

Russ Sqrague about 2007

russsprague1967.jpg

Russ Sprague 1967

Russ Sprague wrote:

Roger and I were the air crew on the rescue of Tiff Hawks, Roger was at the front door manning the machine gun and I was manning the rear gun and operating the hoist. Lt Bill Roy was the pilot in the left seat and Lt jg Vann Goodloe was in the right seat.

As I recall, it was the Lockett aircraft which gave us directions on how high to fly at the coast and where Tiff was and also they provided much needed fire support before and while we were in the hover picking up Tiff.

As we approached the area where Tiff was, he sent up a pencil flare so we could find him.. The spads were firing both canon and rockets at the approaching forces as we were making our approach to a hover. We started to go in to pick Tiff up when one of the spads ( I assume Jack if he was the lead ) told us to take it around again while they made a few more firing runs. 
We went around and came back and got into a hover and I lowered the hook for Tiff. While we were in the hover, the spads were flying up the opposite side of us with another firing run. I could hear the gun fire over the sound of the helicopter engines.

We were able to rescue Tiff because of the cover Jack and his other spad drivers provided us along with the support from a few F4's from Tiff's squadron which were trying to help too.

roger-sitgo.jpg

Roger Sitko about 2007

rogersitko1967.jpg

Roger Sitko 1966