ELDER PATRIOT- Navy pilot Lt. Mark Baden and his navigator Lt. Keith Gallagher were flying their Grumman A-6 Intruder over the Indian Ocean on July 9, 1991 on a routine mission when the rear section of the canopy inexplicably cracked. Lt. Gallagher was ejected with only a thin tether preventing his from almost certain death.
Gallagher was in shock and didn’t know what to think. He recalled wondering, “Did the canopy blow off? Did I eject? Did my windscreen implode? All of these questions occurred to me amidst the pandemonium in my mind and over my body.”
As his training took over he realized he was held to the plane by a thin tether. Within seconds Gallagher recalled that;
“Pain, confusion, panic, fear and denial surged through my brain and body as a new development occurred to me: I couldn’t breathe. My helmet and mask had ripped off my head, and without them, the full force of the wind was hitting me square in the face.”
Eventually, Gallagher lost consciousness but his pilot Lt. Baden had already taken control of the situation. Baden radioed the carrier U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln and asked them to make all necessary preparations for an emergency landing.
The carrier crew captured the stunning events as they unfolded:
Unbelievably, Baden’s heroic actions allowed Gallagher to walk away with only minor injuries and he returned to active duty flight status after a short recovery.
You won’t find young men or women of this caliber smashing Starbucks windows and burning cars demanding that others solve their problems. These are our future leaders!