Below is a typed
copy of a newspaper article. My copy
is too smudged to be clearly
KWANG JU RESCUE SAVES 18 LIVES
Kwang Ju AB—Seven Korean soldiers and 11 civilians won’t soon forget the air
rescue personnel at this base. Their lives will be a constant reminder to
them of the day they stared death in the face and were plucked from its grasp by
The Americans, Maj. William F Cunningham, Jr., Maj. Wayne I. Ritter, TSgt. Larry
K.Henderson and SSgt. Kelsey R. Adams are assigned to Det. 10, 41
Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Wing
The day the men were
called into action was by no means an ideal one for rescue operations.
Heavy rain pelted the base and a shroud of fog forced closing of the air field.
Such a day is normally a paperwork day for a helicopter unit.
But at 8:36 AM, the
paperwork was shoved aside when the rescue unit received a call from Lt. Col.
Hesup S. John, safety officer for the Republic of Korea’s 1st Fighter
Col. John informed
the rescue alert crew that some Korean Army Corps of Engineers troops were
stranded on the top of a diesel shovel in the middle of the Hwang Yong River and
that the river was rising rapidly. The normally placid, sand-bar ridden
river had been swollen by more than three inches of rain and had turned into a
Despite the adverse
weather conditions the rescuemen were off in a matter of minutes with Col. John
along as guide and interpreter.
Minutes later, Maj. Cunningham, 33, of Columbus, Ohio, was hovering his HH-43B
Huskie helicopter over
the nearly-submerged piece of equipment. He positioned the helicopter,
with the assistance of his co-pilot, Maj. Ritter, 38, of Monteno, IL, about 18
feet above the men.
Adams, 34, of Detroit, MI, a Pararescue man, was lowered to the roof of the
diesel cab where he assisted the Korean soldiers in putting on a rescue hoist.
One by one they were raised and helped into the chopper by Sgt. Henderson, 38,
of Tampa, FL, the flight mechanic.
Four men were taken
to safety first and then the
other three along with Sgt. Adams.
After talking with the soldiers, Col. John learned that the men were taking fill
from the river when they suddenly discover a “wall of water” gushing toward
diesel was eventually completely covered. The depth of the river was
estimated to have arisen 10 feet.
Upon returning to the base, rescue personnel noticed that one of the helicopter
blades had been damaged. As is the practice, immediate repairs were made
in the event another rescue mission should be called. And it wasn’t
long before one was called.
1 PM Col. John called again. This time 11 Korean civilian workers were
trapped in a sandbar which was rapidly becoming smaller as raging waters deluged
The scene was only
two miles downstream from the morning’s accident. As the rescue men
appeared over the area it appeared to them that the civilians were attempting to
construct a makeshift raft and fighting the erosion of their tiny island with
shovels, throwing dirt into
rapidly disappearing edges of the
helicopter was positioned about one foot above the area with the right wheels
over the island, the left ones over the water. This allowed an open area
on the sandbar for rescue operations. Again, Sgt. Adams and Henderson
guided Koreans into the chopper, using a hoist as a step. Two trips were
required to ferry the men to safety.
Referring to the rescue mission, Col. John said that all 18 men could very well
have been lost in the swift waters had not help arrived in time.
(Picture not reproducible)
This is one of many
rescues that Kelsey was involved in.
Reprinted from the May 27, 1976 local paper, Community
Press, Letcher County, KY
Air Force Master Sergeant Kelsey R. Adams, whose parents
are Mr. and Mrs. Kelsey G. Adams of Jenkins, KY,
recently participated in the sixth annual military
jumpfest at Hurlburt Field, FL. The sergeant was
among 300 participants representing military jumpers
from armed forces units worldwide and the U.S. Air Force
Academy. Jumping competition included free fall
and static-line accuracy. Sergeant Adams is a
parachute recovery technician assigned at McClellan AFB,
Calif., with a unit of the Military Airlift Command.
(Picture not reproducible)
Kelsey didn't talk of his many citations and
recommendations to his family. He knew
we would worry about his many rescue efforts
as he worked with other crew members of
their "Jolly Green Giant" helicopter, so we
didn't learn of the bulk of them until after
his death. We have decided to post
some of them here for the family to see and
appreciate his loyal service in the Air
Click on picture for enlargement
Kelsey received a high recommendation for
promotion just a little more than a year
before his death.
The recommendation resulted in his promotion
to Senior Master Sergeant.
Recommendation for Promotion
One of many of Kelsey's
Click on document to read
We tried importing several citations but had
to removed them because it took "forever"
for them to load.