Bob Pardo, the Fearless Pilot Who Conducted Daring Rescue Missions During the Vietnam War, Passes Away at 89

Bob Pardo, a renowned fighter pilot known for his heroic act during the Vietnam War, passed away on December 5th at the age of 89. Pardo, who was battling lung cancer, made headlines in 1967 when he kept a damaged plane airborne, saving the lives of its crew members.

On a mission over North Vietnam, Captain Pardo’s F-4 Phantom was hit by enemy fire, causing significant damage. Meanwhile, another fighter in the strike force had its fuel tank severely ripped by the same attack. Both planes attempted to return home, but the second aircraft had lost too much fuel to make it back safely. Realizing that the crew would face capture or worse if they ejected over enemy territory, Captain Pardo took decisive action.

Flying beneath the compromised plane, Captain Pardo instructed its pilot, Capt. Earl Aman, to lower the tailhook—a metal pole used for landing. With both planes traveling at 300 miles per hour, Captain Pardo carefully nudged his plane’s windshield against the tailhook, effectively pushing the damaged aircraft for almost 90 miles. Despite the continuous fuel loss, the planes managed to cross the border with Laos. Both crews safely ejected and were later rescued.

Captain Pardo faced criticism upon their return to Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand for his unorthodox maneuver, which resulted in the loss of his own aircraft. However, his selfless act, later known as the “Pardo Push,” was eventually recognized by the military. In 1989, he was awarded a Silver Star for his gallantry.

Born on March 10, 1934, in Lacy Lakeview, Texas, Pardo enlisted in the Air Force in 1954 after briefly working with his father. He served at various bases before his deployment to Vietnam in 1966-67. After retiring as a lieutenant colonel in 1974, Pardo pursued a career in corporate aviation.

Pardo is survived by his wife, Kathryn Pardo, as well as a sister, son, daughter, stepsons, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. His courageous act and unwavering dedication to his fellow pilot will forever be remembered as a testament to his character and bravery.,

Bob Pardo, a pilot known for his daring rescue mission during the Vietnam War, has passed away at the age of 89. Pardo gained recognition for his exceptional skills and courage when he successfully saved a fellow pilot who was shot down behind enemy lines. He piloted his damaged aircraft under heavy fire, defying all odds, to ensure the safe return of his comrade. Pardo’s heroic act serves as a testament to the bravery exhibited by military personnel during times of immense danger. His legacy will forever be remembered as a symbol of selflessness and valor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *