Among the first Special Forces underwater operations were not aimed at a specific adversary. Instead, it was intended to help rescue and retrieve 26 Americans who had died in an aircraft collision. A United States Navy AD-6 Skyraider fighter crashed into the fuselage of a United States Marine Corps (USMC) R4Q (C-119). Both aircrafts were discovered on the floor of the Pacific about three miles offshore, and SAR planes and helicopters had been unable to find any survivors. Green Berets of the 1st Special Forces Group were able to recover all 26 bodies. Several of the Green Berets who took part in the rescue operations were killed in action in Vietnam a few years later. The C-119 aircraft had a difficult year in 1958. Five aircrafts were damaged in total due to accidents, resulting in the deaths of 34 service members.
The Crossroads of Special Operations