Out of Body/ Near Death (?) Experience
34 Killed in U.S. Airforce C-130 cargo aircraft with 22 survivors.
I believe it was during the first half of 1967 in An Khe, Republic of South Vietnam, 240 miles northeast of Saigon. The C-130 had left Saigon’s Tan Son Nhut Airport headed for stops north. An Khe was the third stop, and its next stop was Pleiku.
On takeoff the aircraft suddenly ran partway off the left side of the runway, just before rotation (becoming airborne). The pilot seemed to bring the C-130 back up onto the runway before departing the end. We, at that point, became airborne momentarily, pitched roughly and flopped down to a halt in a deep gully. The aircraft has a wing over configuration (main wing on top of the hull). Due to the damage the fuel tanks ruptured spilling fuel inside the cargo/ passenger area. The fuel must have ignited immediately, first filling the right side of the C-130’s interior with flame and smoke. I was in the most forward outboard seat on the left side. Being a paratrooper, I linked arms with the passenger to my right (aft), as trained, as soon as the C-130 started to hurl about. I recall vividly, the passengers, seated on the right outboard side, in the paratrooper jump seats being engulfed in flame, screaming with agony.
As you can imagine, everyone was in total chaos attempting a way to escape. It was soon realized that the only way out was past me, up the ladder into the pilot/ crew compartment and out through the pilot’s windscreen. The tailgate, jump doors and crew-door were all jammed. I felt calm, alert, guarded, and awaited my turn to flee. I believe it was at this point that I had the “experience”. It was a powerful and unforgettable vision being high above, looking back at the pandemonium with all of the smoke, flame and rioting people. After a time I “woke up” and it occurred to me that this is a “fight for your life”, “every man for himself” predicament. I joined in the fight, pulling down and climbing over the others above and in front of me. As a 200-pound paratrooper/ Green Beret I don’t remember having much of a struggle. Soon I was at the windscreen, near ten or more feet above the ground, and dove out as if I were on a springboard at a swimming pool. One more trooper escaped after me and the C-130 exploded with a thundering blast. There was no hope for the 34 remaining. The rest is fairly vague: being picked up and brought to a military hospital at An Khe where I spent several days being treated for smoke inhalation and minor lacerations.
There’s a lot to follow including the stay at the hospital and return to our MIKE Force Team House. There was our Team Leader, CPT Lee, head in hands, puzzling over the composition of a letter to Mom and Dad. He had just received a message recounting my death…
Was the kind of experience difficult to express in words? No,
At the time of this experience, was there an associated life threatening event? Yes Air Plane Crash
How did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience compare to your normal every day consciousness and alertness? Normal consciousness and alertness
Did you experience a separation of your consciousness from your body? Uncertain
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Just very interested.
Did you observe or hear anything regarding people or events during your experience that could be verified later? Yes How bad the crash was.
Did you have a sense of knowing special knowledge, universal order and/or purpose? No I do not think so.
Have you shared this experience with others? Yes Must be over 20 years and to very few people.
The seem to be very interested. I do not know if they were influenced.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? No Never heard about NDE until a few (5-10)years ago.
Were there one or several parts of the experience especially meaningful or significant to you? The fact that I survived...
How did you view the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened: Experience was definitely real
I thought about it often but did not realize what it was.
How do you currently view the reality of your experience: Experience was definitely real
I have always been a believer in GOD. It's even more important to me now.
Have your relationships changed specifically as a result of your experience? Uncertain
I'm very calm and do not get upset or angry easily.
Have your religious beliefs/practices changed specifically as a result of your experience? Yes Yes, but in more recent years. I attend church more often and speak about GOD and his importance in our lives, though not an evangelist so to speak.
Following the experience, have you had any other events in your life, medications or substances which reproduced any part of the experience? No
Did the questions asked and information you provided so far accurately and comprehensively describe your experience? Yes I have nothing to add, thank you.
Please offer any suggestions you may have to improve this questionnaire:
None, that I can think of at this time, thanks.