By Joe Kittinger
Many years after his free up from a North Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp in 1973 Colonel Joseph Kittinger retired from the Air strength. stressed and unchallenged, he became to ballooning, a life-long ardour in addition to a relentless diversion for his mind's eye in the course of his imprisonment. His basic objective was once a solitary circumnavigation of the globe, and in its pursuit he set numerous ballooning distance documents, together with the 1st solo crossing of the Atlantic in 1984. however the aeronautical feats that first made him an American hero had happened 1 / 4 of a century prior. by the point Kittinger used to be shot down in Vietnam in 1972, his Air strength occupation was once already mythical. He had made a reputation for himself at Holloman Air strength base close to Alamagordo, New Mexico, as a try out pilot who helped reveal that egress survival for pilots at excessive altitudes was once attainable in emergency occasions. paradoxically, Kittinger and his pre-astronaut colleagues might aid propel americans into house utilizing the world's oldest flying computer - the balloon. Kittinger's paintings on undertaking Excelsior - which concerned bold high-altitude bailout exams - earned him the celebrated Flying pass lengthy sooner than he earned a suite of medals in Vietnam. regardless of the various accolades, Kittinger's proudest second continues to be his loose fall from 102,800 toes in which he accomplished a velocity of 614 miles in line with hour. during this long-awaited autobiography, Kittinger joins writer Craig Ryan to record an stunning occupation.
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Extra info for Come Up and Get Me: An Autobiography of Colonel Joseph Kittinger
The rest of us—Govan, Milt, and I—were to wait outside. We were silent. Capt. Govan was summoned into the office next. Milt and I waited for another half-hour. Finally, we were told to go in. The colonel informed us that Lt. Walker had crashed and been killed. ” I replied that we had indeed been briefed several times on the procedure. He nodded and dismissed us. The group commander was very young for a full colonel, and Doak Walker had been a close friend and drinking buddy. The colonel took the loss hard and very personally.
Three minutes left now. They are giving me a countdown on my radio. I worry about my right hand, which is useless. The pressure glove has failed, and the hand is beginning to swell. I know I won’t be able to pull the timer cord on the stabilization chute when I go, not the way we’ve practiced it in the altitude chamber at Wright-Patterson. I’ll have to trust it to pull itself as I fall. I haven’t informed my ground crew about the glove, but I decide that I will mention it before I jettison the radio antenna.
I’d been so busy for the previous two weeks that I had neglected to write home. I suddenly imagined her getting worried and calling Neubiberg, and I knew that they would not have told her where I was. But it was worse that that. S. senator from Florida and asked for help finding out what had happened to me. The senator had contacted the Air Force chief of staff, who had sent a terse message to my squadron commander inquiring about my welfare. “Major,” I said, “I’m sorry as hell, but I’ve gotten a little behind the power curve with my family correspondence.