Above & Beyond: Man Overboard!
- By Keith Monroe
- Air & Space magazine, May 2000
(Page 3 of 3)
The collision might have been guided by angels. When the biplane’s nose came up, the shroud lines fell across its upper wing, and the propeller neatly severed them when it sliced into the R2D’s tailcone fairing.
Johnson glided the transport to North Island and landed safely. But Lowrey was in trouble. Part of the parachute jammed the biplane’s rudder, leaving him with almost no rudder control. Clutching each other against the slipstream, Osipoff and McCants waited, hoping Lowrey could bring the airplane in.
Lowrey managed to bounce it onto the strip at North Island, chute and all, and was immediately surrounded by cheering crew.
Osipoff, who had endured 33 minutes of being dragged around the sky in a 110-mph wind, was promoted to first lieutenant after his release from the hospital. Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox presented Lowrey and McCants with the Distinguished Flying Cross for “extraordinary heroism…[in] one of the most brilliant and daring rescues within the annals of our Naval history.”