Flying on almost 300 rescue missions in Vietnam, Airman 1st Class Bill Pitsenbarger flirted with death almost daily during the war, cheating the Grim Reaper more times than Evel Knievel. The 21-year-old Air Force pararescue-man had ducked barrages of bullets and flurries of flak more times than he cared to remember while spiriting to safety downed airmen and wounded soldiers. More than a few GIs owed their very lives to the man friends called ?Pits.?
Despite the danger, Pitsenbarger loved the Air Force and his job, which was to save lives. His commander, Maj. Maurice Kessler, called him ?one of a special breed, alert and always ready to go on any mission.? Another rescue pilot, Capt. Dale Potter, said Pits was a ?young eager kid who was always ready to go and always willing to get into the thick of the action where he could be the most useful.?