John M. Travers remains a prisoner of war. Yet, the Vietnam helicopter pilot hero from Harrisburg was never taken captive. In fact, those who flew countless medevac missions with Travers into the hottest, most hellish spots of the Vietnamese jungle to rescue scores of America’s wounded say there was always a strange aura of protection surrounding the pilot. Army pilot John Travers (left) and Navy medic Ray Thorn stand in front of Vitnam era Bell Huey helicopters in the hangar at Fort Indiantown Gap. Friday, Feb. 6, 2004.PennLive archives Everyone around Travers sensed he’d survive it all. So they gravitated to him because they wanted to live, too. “He was just fearless. They knew if they rode with him, they would come back,” said Calvin L. Ligh, a California filmmaker who spent the past three years researching and producing a documentary on Travers. Even with the helicopter packed to the liftoff weight-limit with wounded and lit up by enemy ground fire, the rounds piercing the chopper’s metal skin and pinging through the cockpit and cabin, Travers proved invulnerable. Once, a round pierced his metal helmet. But something – mere physics or a higher power – caused the bullet to ring… Read full this story
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