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Name (Last, First Middle)Gillin, William T.
Branch at time of eventUSAF
SquadronCS 16
Home TownForsyth
Home StateMT
High SchoolColstrip Public High School, Colstrip, MT.
High School ActivitiesNatlHonorSoc, Bausch&Lomb Award, MathAward, C0-Valedictorian, Football,Basketball,Track, StuGov Rep
Post High SchoolNone
Academy ExperiencesSkiClub, MathClub, SaddleClub
Academic Degree MajorBS-CivilEngrng,USAFA-1973 MA-Fin/Bus,WebsterUniv-1984
Active Duty Assignments73: PltTng/InstrPlt/AcadInstr 71FTWg VanceAFB;77: HeliTng FtRucker;78:Plt71AR&RSqElmendorfAFB;81: Plt1550ATTWg KirtlandAFB;83:PltHH-3E,Det11- 39AR&RWg MrytleBeachAFB
Civilian Positions84:QltyAssuranceEngrTexasInstrCOSpringsCO 89:PltContinentalAirlines;95:PltFedEx;
Award Year1981
Award Summary InformationFor what na¨tional news media hailed as "the greatest maritime rescue in the history of the United States," Capt. William T. Gillin has received the 1981Col. James Jabara Award from the Air Force Acade¨my Graduates Association. Gillin piloted the HH-3E helicopter of the 71st Aero-space Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Elmendorf AFB, Alas¨ka, on Oct. 4, 1980, to rescue 61 passengers of the stricken Dutch ocean liner, Prinsendam. The pas¨sengers, many of them elderly, were among the 519 people forced to abandon ship when it caught fire in the frigid waters of the Gulf of Alaska, 120 miles from shore.The rescue operation lasted more than 11 hours, during which Gillin and his crew encountered 30-foot waves, gusting winds reaching 25 knots, rain and poor visibility.
Involved Crew MembersCrew
Burial Site/DateN/A
Aeronautical Speciality RatingSenior Pilot
Notable Military and Civilian Decorations & AwardsDFC,AFCM(2) Jabara Award
CommentsResigned: USAF Captain 1984
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