Brian Shul Dies at 75; Fighter Pilot Who Flew Worlds Fastest Plane
He was near death after his plane was shot down in the Vietnam War but survived to fly the worlds fastest and highest-altitude jet.
Brian Shul, a retired Air Force major who modestly described himself as a survivor rather than a hero, after he was downed in a Vietnamese jungle, where he nearly died before rebounding to pilot the worlds fastest spy plane, died on May 20 in Reno, Nev. He was 75.
The cause of his death, in a hospital, was cardiac arrest, said his sister and sole survivor, Maureen Shul, a former mayor of Castle Pines, Colo. He had collapsed as he finished regaling the annual gala of the Nevada Military Support Alliance with his aerial adventures.
Major Shul flew 212 combat missions during the Vietnam War before his T-28 Trojan ground attack jet was struck by small-arms fire and crash-landed near the Cambodian border in 1974, as the war was nearing its end.
He underwent 15 operations and spent well over a year as, he once put it, 119 pounds of blood and gauze, recuperating from burns that covered half of his body and left his hands and face disfigured. But two days after being released from the hospital, despite doctors telling him that he would never walk again, Major Shul was back in an Air Force cockpit.