TWO MEN RESCUED: They’re in Bad Shape. Not until YP13 pulled out of range of enemy fire were Farley and Hoilien able to leave their guns and give medical attention to the two wounded men from YP3. The copilot, 1st Lt. James Magel, was in bad shape. When Farley and Hoilien eased off his flak vest, they exposed a major wound just below his right armpit.
“Magel’s face registered pain,” Burrows reported, “and his lips moved slightly. But if he said anything it was drowned out by the noise of the copter. He looked pale and I wondered how long he could hold on. Farley began bandaging Magel’s wound. The wind from the doorway kept whipping the bandage across his face. Then blood started to come from his nose and mouth and a glazed look came into his eyes. Farley tried mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but Magel was dead.
Nobody said a word.
The other wounded man, Sgt Billie Owens, his left shoulder smashed by a bullet, lay in shock against the bulkhead. He was watching, but his sunglasses hid any expression his eyes might have shown. Farley poured some water into an empty ammunition can and gave it to Owens. Hoilien took out a cigarette for him, but Owens waved it aside. We were all left with our own drained thoughts.”
“Suddenly, at the doorway of the chopper, Farley began cursing. Then he broke into tears, first trying to cover his face from the others and then not caring who saw him. I don’t know what this young man may have seen of violent death before this day. But compounding his grief and shock, I later found out, were his frustration and feeling of guilt at being unable to extricate the pilot from Yankee Papa 3. What he didn’t know then, and what we all were to learn later, was that the pilot was still alive. He was rescued by another helicopter-even as YP13 was en route to Da Nang.”
THE WAY BACK: With 11 bullet holes in its skin and its radio knocked out, Yankee Papa 13 heads for Da Nang. Now, during the 20-minute flight, there is nothing more to be done. Magel lies dead on the floor and the wounded gunner Owens, his shoulder patched up, slumps against Hoilian. Farley (right), sags in exhaustion and fights back the tears.