“At 0700 on October 3, 1968, I launched out of NAS Miramar in VF-111 F-8H Crusader 148631, modex AH 107, for an air-to-ground strafing/bombing hop. On my fourth strafing pass, I was determined to fire out. This was a mistake.
As I was looking up and left for my interval, I glimpsed sage brush zooming by. I felt a slight bump (as the F-8’s ventral fins sheared off) and reflexively grabbed for the face curtain. I had hit the ground in a wings-level, slightly nose-up attitude, at 500 knots. The aircraft catastrophically disintegrated as the Mk-F5A seat and I were going up the rails.
In spite of ejecting out of the envelope, the system performed well enough for me to be writing this 45 years later. I got a letter from Sir James and a nice tie. I also managed to marry a Navy nurse I met at Bethesda Naval Hospital. We have four sons and six grandsons today thanks to that seat”.