The brother of an Air Force officer who helped in the daring desert rescue of a downed Navy pilot expressed pride and surprise over the heroics of a man he thought would spend his life farming in Tennessee.
"None of us could figure it. He loved tractors, combines . . . I guess the ultimate in machinery would be an airplane," David Johnson of McKenzie, Tenn., said Monday of his brother, Air Force pilot Paul Johnson of Dresden, Tenn.Johnson, 32, a captain in the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing, was one of two pilots who located the Navy pilot in the Iraqi desert Monday and provided air cover for a helicopter which picked him out.
The other pilot was Capt. Randy Goff, 26, from Jackson, Ohio.
"All Randy ever talked about was being a fighter pilot," said Goff's mother, Betty Goff, also of Jackson. "He knew what he wanted, and that's what he went after. He has fulfilled his dreams.
"I wish his father was around to see him. He would be real proud, too," she said.
An Air Force search-and-rescue helicopter picked up the A-6 Intruder pilot shortly after the two A-10 ground support bombers operated by Goff and Johnson strafed an Iraqi army truck headed straight toward the airman, Air Force officers said.