The Legend of the Navy’s Most Daring Helicopter Pilot
Peter D. Shay
The true story of Bronze Star recipient Allen Weseleskey and his high-risk rescue mission, carried out under heavy fire in Vietnam. Includes photos.
When the going is fast and rough, I will not falter. I will be uncompromising in every blow I strike. I will be humble in victory. I am a United States Navy Flyer. —from “A Navy Flyer’s Creed”
Barely a month after the start of the Tet Offensive in 1968, a Navy flyer applied this creed—and dared to risk not only his career but also his and his fellow aircrewmen’s lives in rescuing a wounded US Army advisor only moments from certain battlefield death.
The pilot, Lt. Cdr. Allen E. “Wes” Weseleskey, had been assigned to the Navy’s Helicopter Attack (Light) Squadron Three, the “Seawolves,” at the Vinh Long Army Airfield. His controversial mission took place in March 1968 in the Mekong Delta region. Two ARVN companies were being overwhelmed and despite coming under heavy fire, Weseleskey decided to go in and rescue as many survivors as possible. The accompanying Seawolf was forced to turn back after taking hits, but Weseleskey, with the agreement of his crew, persisted—flying so low under the treeline that they were out of reach of the VC rocket launchers.
Weseleskey was awarded the Bronze Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Navy Cross during his service. This is his story, from early assignments, clashes with superior officers, missions and rescues during the Tet Offensive, to homecoming. It is the story of a quintessential flyer, an American hero who was prepared to speak his mind and take risks—and of the vital role of the Seawolves in the Vietnam War.