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RECON: A Sneak Peek

Guardian Angel Guides Descents

By:  Terese Schlachter,“RECON” Senior Producer   


It’s hard to keep a good man down- especially one who’s holding the world record for the highest parachute jump.  In 1960, then Captain Joseph Kittinger floated in a balloon gondola nearly 103- thousand feet above earth, then jumped out.  He was testing parachute systems and other gear. What it didn’t seem to test were his nerves.

“I’d made the jump a thousand times in my mind so when it came time to go I said a silent prayer, hit the button and jumped,” the retired Colonel told SSgt Josh Hauser.

He couldn’t have known that a dozen years later his nerves would be tested again, in a very different descent.

“I was leader of a (mission) over in Hanoi … probably 100 airplanes … and I started chasing a MiG.  I was very close to getting him- to shooting him down – when another MiG crawled up my rear and shot me down,” recalls Col Kittinger.  “I was immediately hog tied, thrown into a vehicle and taken … to the Hanoi Hilton.”

He spent eleven months there as the senior ranking officer among the newest captives, who were kept separate from those who’d been taken prisoner earlier.

“You have to make decisions that affect other men’s lives in a very hostile environment.”  But Kittinger says they were able to maintain discipline and seniority and it became like another tour of duty.  He spent 30 days in solitary confinement. 

“When the US started bombing Hanoi and I heard that first bomb come down I knew it was the B-52s.  I knew the war was over.   I was in the deepest, darkest dungeon there was in Hanoi and they needed that area for the B-52 crews they were shooting down so they moved me into another prison cell.”  He wound up with American POW’s who’d been held for six or seven years.  “It was like Rip Van Winkle,” Kittinger says, “For the next 40 days I was interrogated by the guys in that room about hair styles and what was going on in the world!”  He was released in March of 1973, but calls the experience one of the greatest of his life.  “Every one of us was a better person when we came out of there.”

The Colonel retired in 1978. But the former POW and record-holder wasn’t finished accumulating titles.  In 1984, he was the first solo balloonist to cross the Atlantic Ocean.   One early morning, during that passage, he made radio contact with a random nearby commercial flight.  Turns out, his wife, Sherry  and his crew were on board.  The pilot let them chat for a while.  Sherry and the crew were all in Italy a day and a half later when he landed – grounding it at about 30 miles per hour.

“I got knocked out of the gondola and fell about ten feet and hit the only rock within a half mile and broke my foot,” he told Josh.   “But it was an awful lot of fun.”

Of all of his adventures he counts as the “hairiest” the 1989 Gordon Bennett Cup- the premier event of world balloon racing.  Somewhere over Baja he stalled and ran out of ballast.  The water temperature was 59 degrees. “If we went in the water we were dead.  We finally started drifting and about four o’clock in the morning we landed on an uninhabited island, and that saved us.”    

The name of the island: Guardian Angel.  Probably not the first time Kittinger’s run into his. 


In 2012 Kittinger played a key role in the Red Bull Sratos launch in which Austrian Felix Baumgardner broke the Colonel’s own record.  Kittinger currently lives with this wife in Orlando.  His story and other adventures in military ballooning are featured in “RECON: Lighter Than  Air”.  Click here to watch! 

Posted in Recon EXTRA.

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  1. estuatLayew says

    cool page – nice site , nice site

  2. Auriberta Alves Silva says

    Preciso apenas do ícone do Google Chrome na sua página, para postar o que for autorizado, e para conversar em lugar mais amplo. Twitter é só para MSG

  3. JB Smith says

    NSA and JNLWD are partnering with Virginia State
    Police and local police implanting people with biochips. Read “A Note on Uberveillance” by
    M. G. and Katina Michael. it enables Uberveillance. “In its ultimate form,
    überveillance has to do with more than automatic identification technologies
    that we carry with us. It has to do with under-the-skin technology that is
    embedded in the body, such as microchip implants; it is that which cuts into
    the flesh – a charagma (mark). Think of it as Big Brother on the inside looking
    out.” Newport
    News Police and Virginia State Police had a doctor implant me w/o my knowledge
    and consent with a biochip. A U. S. Attorney for the NSA/DOJ pretended to be my
    attorney. It enables torture and thought
    monitoring. They use it as a sensor and pulse energy projectiles at you. I had
    a heart attack. It enables voice to skull communication. See LRAD white papers
    or audio spotlight by Holosonics. Law
    enforcement believes we will only be safe if they know where we are at all
    times, what we are doing and what we are thinking! See Safeguards in a World of
    Ambient Intelligence by Springer page 9. See Mental Health and Terrorism by
    Amin Gadit. He states, “Of late, there are
    reports of a new and dreadful invention of weapons of violence that are called
    Bioelectromagnetic Weapons. According to the description by an Institute of
    Science in Society, these weapons operate at the speed of light, can kill,
    torture and enslave without making physical appearance. It further adds that
    voices and visions, daydreams and nightmares are the most astonishing
    manifestations of this weapon system, it is also capable of crippling the human
    subject by limiting his/her normal range of movement, causing acute pain the equivalent
    of major organ failure or even death and interferes with normal functions of
    human senses. It can cause difficulty with breathing and induce seizures besides
    damage to the tissues and organs. Through this form of terrorism, it is
    possible to persuade subjects that their mind is being read; their intellectual
    property is being plundered and can even motivate suicide or murder. Pulsed
    Energy projectiles (PEPs) are another form of weaponry that is used to paralyze
    a victim with pain. According to Peter Philips, a scientist from USA,
    circumstances may soon arrive in which anti-war or human right protestors
    suddenly feel a burning sensation akin to touching a hot skillet over their entire
    body. Simultaneously they may hear terrifying nauseating screaming, which while
    not produced externally, fills their brains with overwhelming disruption. This
    new invention is dreadful addition to the armamentarium of weapons of abuse and
    torture. Manifestations of the effects of these occult weapons can mimic mental
    ill health and add further to the misery of the victims.” See Bio Initiative Report 2012. See Forbes and
    search Brandon Raub. Law enforcement tases citizens into “excited
    delirium” (see at nij org) to make them act in ways they normally would
    not. I believe they are directly responsible for the Virginia Tech massacre.
    There are 3 reasons to have it implanted 1) mental health, 2) criminal record,
    and 3) infectious disease. If you don’t meet any of those requirements like me,
    they’ll falsify your records. All the mass shootings are the work of law
    enforcement. They want to take away your right to bear arms and make America a
    police state. People aren’t suddenly going crazy, they’re being tortured.
    I also believe the biochip to be responsible for PTSD. Read Brian Castner’s book “A Long
    Walk”. I have the same ambiguous
    pains, twitches, heart attack, night mares, day mares, gurgling, etc. I never served in the war. What do we have in
    common? The biochip. Suicide is one way to get relief. Virginia’s suicide rate is higher than the
    national average and the military suicide rate is unacceptable! You can check
    your upper right buttock, upper right shoulder.
    They are just under the skin.

  4. Sir Kenneth says

    You so full of shit I can smell you from here! Don’t you realize your dumb arse dreamed up 1960′s bullshit programs, to try and deceive have already and will continue to backfire on you? This one is probably a giant Russian leak and you ain’t got sense enough to can it! Kiss my arse!

  5. SANDSTORM2003 says

    Kittinger is an EPIC failure