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Vietnam War Fighter Pilot to be Featured in Film and Live Q&A Interview

(Sioux Falls, SD) —On Wednesday, 10 February, 2021, educators, teachers and leaders will have the opportunity to meet and interact with highly decorated Vietnam War veteran fighter pilot and Custer, SD native, Colonel Marty Mahrt USAF (Ret).

On May 10, 1966, Mahrt was shot down over hostile North Vietnam in what would be acknowledged as the furthest north ‘shoot down’ of the war. However, it resulted in an intensive effort resulted in a stunning rescue that many have called “miraculous.” Mahrt flew the Republic F-105 Thunderchief, a supersonic fighter-bomber that experienced an astounding 38% loss rate primarily due to
the type of missions assigned to the airplane.

The event is choreographed on behalf of the South Dakota Air & Space Museum by the acclaimed history brand, “Old Guys and Their Airplanes (OGTA).” The event will feature the Premiere of OGTA’s short film, “Never Alone,” produced using a grant from the Mary Chilton DAR Foundation, and serve as an introduction for the live Q&A with Mahrt. The Q&A will be broadcast from the Custer High School via South Dakota Public Broadcasting through a grant from Highmark Credit Union. An Educators Kit, hosted by the Distinguished Flying Cross Society will also be made publicly available after the event.

Mahrt is a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), an award given for heroism in aerial flight. DFC Society Chairman Woody Gilliland explains, “Our members have seen history up-close and personal in startling ways. These OGTA events are a great way for us to promote these stories of U.S. airmen in combat, their dedication, courage and professionalism. Marty’s story is especially important because it’s so personal and in the end a positive one from the Vietnam War.”

SD Air & Space Museum representative Bob Liebman explains, “We are extremely grateful for the support we’ve received around the state, that Marty’s South Dakota neighbors can now meet this extraordinary American air warrior. His story proves that taking a chance to help somebody often brings the most satisfying success, especially under fire."

OGTA Producer John Mollison stated, “How cool is it for students to not only learn about the Vietnam War but actually get to talk to someone who experienced it first-hand?! To us, this kind of personal interaction is the foundation of leadership.”

Additional support for the Marty Mahrt event was provided by the South Dakota Pilots Association.

Please tune into www.SDPB.org/OGTADebrief on February 10, Noon Eastern, 11:00 Central, 10:00 Mountain and 9:00 Pacific — the entire event will last approximately 55 minutes.