At the height of the Cold War, an unlikely coalition of aircraft from the Coast Guard, the Navy, and the Air Force, along with a Soviet fishing trawler, battled heavy northern Pacific weather in an effort to save the crew of a downed P-3 Orion.
For the U.S. Coast Guard's search and rescue (SAR) business, 1978 was a boom year. Nearly 78,000 SAR events transpired during those 12 months-an annual total never approached since then-with more than 100,000 SAR aircraft sorties flown overhead these emergencies. One Lockheed HC-130 Hercules mission west of Alaska's Aleutian Islands on a stormy autumn night was arguably the year's most memorable. No other 1978 SAR sortie ended with survivors ashore in Siberia at a Soviet Navy hospital, candidates for indefinite confinement behind the Cold War's Iron Curtain.