1st SOW has the MC130, which is their troop carrier aircraft, and which also has the capability to pluck a single individual out of an open field without landing, using a device called the Fulton Recovery System, aka the Skyhook.

This gizmo has been around for years. In fact James Bond used it at the end of Thunderball. For a number of years it was out of service in Special Forces, because Brigadier General Joe Stillwell, the younger, son of the famed WWII general, decided to test it personally. The pilot was understandably nervous about picking up a general. The skyhook is a leather suit with a long nylon rope attached to a balloon. The specially equipped C-130 making the pick-up has what is essentially a big set of tongs in front that catches the rope.

The rope has about a 25 per cent stretch factor, but it’s still a hell of a jolt to be sitting still, and be picked up by an aircraft going about 130 mph. So, General Stillwell’s pilot came in rrrreeeeaaaallll slow. The general went up in the air and slammed into the ground, then he went up again and slammed into the ground again, and again. Broke every bone in his body. He decided the FRS wasn’t really a good idea and grounded them.

But now they’re back in service, and the pilots know not to go too slow.