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The Bird Dog Landing

On April 29, 1975, South Vietnamese Air Force Major Bung-Ly made the decision to load his family -- his wife and five children -- into a small two-seat Cessna O-1 Bird Dog airplane. Bung-Ly took off from Saigon and made it out to sea, where he looked for a ship to land on and spotted the USS Midway. Without any radio communications, Captain Lawrence Chambers made the decision to allow Ly to land on the flight deck, even though the plane had no tail hook and it was extremely risky. USS Midway Air Boss Vern Jumper readied the flight deck for Ly's landing.

Captain Lawrence Chambers made the decision to allow Bung Ly to land on the Midway.

Captain Lawrence Chambers made the decision to allow Bung Ly to land on the Midway.

Credit: Courtesy of the USS Midway Museum

Vern Jumper, Air Boss of the USS Midway.

Vern Jumper, Air Boss of the USS Midway.

Credit: Courtesy of the USS Midway Museum

Vern Jumper prepared the flight deck for Ly's landing from this area, known as "Pri-Fly."

Vern Jumper prepared the flight deck for Ly's landing from this area, known as "Pri-Fly."

Credit: Courtesy of the USS Midway Museum

Vern Jumper used the "red phone" to communicate with Captain Chambers during Ly's landing.

Vern Jumper used the "red phone" to communicate with Captain Chambers during Ly's landing.

Credit: Courtesy of the USS Midway Museum

Major Bung Ly dropped a note on the Midway's flight deck, asking for permission to land.

Major Bung Ly dropped a note on the Midway's flight deck, asking for permission to land.

Credit: Courtesy of the USS Midway Museum

South Vietnamese pilot Bung Ly made a miraculous landing on the USS Midway’s short “angle deck” without the benefit of a tailhook.  It was the only known landing of an aircraft on the Midway without a tailhook.

South Vietnamese pilot Bung Ly made a miraculous landing on the USS Midway’s short “angle deck” without the benefit of a tailhook. It was the only known landing of an aircraft on the Midway without a tailhook.

Credit: Courtesy of the USS Midway Museum

The Bird Dog made a successful landing, even without a tail hook.

The Bird Dog made a successful landing, even without a tail hook.

Credit: Courtesy of the USS Midway Museum

South Vietnamese pilot Bung Ly may have been in shock after landing his tiny observation plane aboard the USS Midway. His wife sat in the backseat of his aircraft, holding an infant, and four other children were crammed inside the luggage compartment.

South Vietnamese pilot Bung Ly may have been in shock after landing his tiny observation plane aboard the USS Midway. His wife sat in the backseat of his aircraft, holding an infant, and four other children were crammed inside the luggage compartment.

Credit: Courtesy of the USS Midway Museum

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