'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do you, punk?

Sept 30th, 1951,  two Navy AD-1 Skyraiders left Naval Air Station Seattle for Mather Field in Sacramento.
After encountering weather, and loss of communication, one US Navy VC-35 Douglas AD-1 Skyraider had gotten separated from the other and lost situational awareness off the Californian coast near Point Reyes. The aircraft ran its fuel tanks dry and was forced to ditch in the Pacific waters just before nightfall.
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The aircraft sank immediately, but the pilot Lt. Francis Coleman Anderson, and his passenger, 21-year-old US Army Pvt. Clint Eastwood was uninjured in the ditching of their aircraft. Pvt. Eastwood happened to be on board after luckily hitching a ride back home after a weekend with his girlfriend in Seattle. The two crew were soon separated in the ocean waters.
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Eastwood made his way past Abbotts Lagoon and over to the KPH RCA receiving station. The single operator at the station initially had trouble understanding Eastwood's explanation of how he arrived, but ultimately called the Coast Guard. He was taken to a Coast Guard Station and reunited with the pilot, who had drifted further north.
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In those days, you could wear your uniform and get a free flight. On the way back, they had one plane, a Douglas AD, sort of a torpedo bomber of the World War II vintage, and I thought I’d hitch on that. Everything went wrong. Radios went out. Oxygen ran out. And finally, we ran out of fuel up around Point Reyes, California, and went in the ocean. So we went swimming. It was late October, November. Very cold water. I found out many years later that it was a white shark breeding ground, but I’m glad I didn’t know that at the time or I’d have just died.”
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Later in his career, Clint became a fully licensed fixed and rotary wing pilot.  Even directing the film "Sully"  which was a film about a different aircraft forced to ditch in the ocean waters.
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All we can say is...good job US Army Pvt. Clint Eastwood! But we do have to ask one question...'Do you feel lucky?' Well, do you, punk?
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“What was going through my mind was just a stark fear, a stark terror, because (in the) first place, I didn’t know anything about aviation at that particular time — I was just hopping a ride,” - Clint Eastwood
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2 comments


  • Cliff

    I never flew the AD-1 but I’m pretty sure it didn’t have a 2nd seat. I think it was an AD-4NA


  • John Fort Rothwell

    Awesome story.


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