Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Juan M. Ridout, SSgt., USAF (Fallen)June 25, 1972 – February 22, 2002
SSgt. Juan Miguel “Jokester” Ridout
Air Force Staff Sgt. Ridout was assigned to the 353rd Special Tactics Squadron, based at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Ridout was killed in an MH-47E crash during a training exercise. His helicopter crashed after dropping off Special Forces troops and equipment on Basilan Island, about 550 miles south of Manila. It plummeted into high seas and exploded. Juan lost his mother to cancer before he started kindergarten, and he and his sister spent much of their childhood moving to different towns and schools across the world with their father, a Navy seaman. Juan’s co-workers fondly remembered him as the unit’s jokester, one who enjoyed his job and had a love for life. Juan was an expert swimmer, parachutist, demolitions technician and paramedic and was named his Special Forces Squadron’s Pararescueman of the Year in 1999 for his heroism. In May 1999 he exchanged gunfire with Serbian forces as he rescued a pilot whose F-16 had been shot down by an enemy missile deep inside hostile territory. He was a very modest man who never once bragged or boasted about his combat mission in Bosnia or the warrior’s rack on his uniform. He never talked about the great things he had done.
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