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Voice: Crew should not have given spy plane over to Chinese

April 28, 2001

I, like the rest of patriotic Americans, am extremely happy for the return of the EPSE flight crew relatively unharmed. I am sure they experienced some terrifying moments before and after the mid-air collision when thinking they were not going to survive the uncontrolled plummet toward the sea.

Being held against their will, intensive interrogation, isolation and strange food was a very stressful situation that you would have to experience to understand.

The question I have is why they chose to hand over to a less-than-friendly foreign power our most sophisticated piece of spy equipment when other options were open to them?

What is wrong with flying out to sea for as long and far as possible as long as they could maintain a safe parachuting altitude of 1,000 feet or more.


Then when safe flight was no longer possible, radio the nearest friendly, be it ship or land, for an open sea rescue, bail out and let the plane end up at the bottom of the ocean.

If that was not possible, execute an open sea ditching, very hazardous to be sure but again the plane would end up at the bottom of the sea.

If they felt that these options were not open to them and they had to land, why not set it on fire as soon as they came to a full stop and exit the aircraft?

After all, this is a highly classified operation staffed by the most qualified personnel, who I am sure were never briefed on turning their aircraft over to a country that is certainly not our allies. Now look at the political mess it caused.

I was on flight duty in Southeast Asia when we made North Korea a gift of the U.S. Navy ship the Pueblo without firing a shot. Up until this latest incident that was the most shameful act committed by our military against national security.

Whatever happened to, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" or "I have not yet begun to fight!" Much better yet, how about, "I regret that I that have but one life to give for my country!"


U.S. Air Force staff master

sergeant (retired)

El Centro

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