Fifty years later the events of that
night are still vivid in Jim's mind
the F-89, in which I was a crew member, slipped under the lead F-89 I
was certain we would collide and actually ducked down a bit. The nose
of lead came across the canopy area aft of the front cockpit and
directly over my head in the rear cockpit.
A very loud
noise erupted with the removal of the canopy. I was unable to see after
that but felt the aircraft pitch forward and at that time I ejected.
Following ejection, I was in a spin mode around the longitudinal axis of
my body. The horizon lazily passed in and out of view as the world spun
rapidly by. I flung both arms and legs as far away from my body as
possible and the rotation stopped.
passed slowly into view with me laying on my side in a position that
appeared proper to pull the dangling rip cord located directly in front
of my face. I pulled it.
at approximately 22,000 feet, was mild to nonexistent. The collision,
ejection, and wild ride until parachute opening, was terrifying.
However, at no time did I loose my sense of training and reacted by the
I landed in the
high mountains of Northwest Washington just below the tree line. My
parachute began hanging on limbs as I fell through the forest.
Gradually the chute came to a stop as my feet touched the ground.
Forty two hours
later I walked out of the mountains into civilization. "