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Callsign "Apple 1"

DAYTON, Ohio - Sikorsky MH-53M Pave Low IV on display in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - Sikorsky MH-53M Pave Low IV on display in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Before it was converted from an HH-53, the MH-53M (serial number 68-10357) on display took part in the Son Tay Raid -- one of the most famous combat actions of the Southeast Asia War. Flown by Lt. Col. Warner A. Britton under the callsign "Apple 1," it carried the mission's "command element" on the mission to rescue American prisoners of war thought to be held at the Son Tay prison near Hanoi, North Vietnam. 

On the night of Nov. 20-21, 1970, American assault teams made the dangerous flight into North Vietnam, and this helicopter mistakenly offloaded its assault forces at an enemy barracks about 500 yards from the prison. The assault team became engaged in firefight with the enemy before Apple 1 could return to pick up them up. Remarkably, the Americans took no casualties. 

Apple 1's aircrew was decorated for their efforts: Lt. Col. Warner A. Britton received the Air Force Cross; Maj. Alfred C. Montrem, Master Sgt. Harold W. Harvey, Master Sgt. Maurice F. Tasker, and Staff Sgt. Jon K. Hoberg received the Silver Star.

 

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Related Fact Sheets
Rescue Attempt: The Son Tay Raid
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