Faith, determination of POW key to survival (Paul Montague)

Retired U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Paul Montague enlisted in 1952. Sixteen years later, on March 28, 1968, he was captured by the Vietnamese armed forces, the Viet Cong.

The helicopter pilot was flying his CH-46 Sea Knight when he was shot down trying to pick up a recovery team that was working on a downed aircraft. It would be another five years before he saw his freedom again.

A blizzard of bullets from the barrels of enemy’s guns lit the cockpit up like fireworks. The helicopter began to lose power. He did everything in he could to keep it flying, but it was too damaged to continue.

Montague used everything he learned in training and his prior experience flying to land the helicopter properly, managing to land the crew in a small patch of land in the jungle.

“I had more people shoot at me in one day than I even knew existed,” said Montague. “I couldn’t see anything. I was looking for a way out, but there wasn’t one.”

As the helicopter filled with smoke, Montague faded in and out of consciousness. He thought he was going to die.

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