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Dieter Dengler (Wildberg, May 22, 1938 – Mill Valley, February 7, 2001) was a German-American pilot who flew to the United States Navy during the Vietnam War. He was represented by Christian Bale in the movie Rescate al amanecer, which tells his story.
He was born in Wildberg, state of Baden-Württemberg (Germany). Dengler was one of the two survivors – the other being Pisidhi Indradat – out of a total of seven prisoners who escaped from the communist movement Pathet Lao prison (in Laos). After the escape, after three weeks of wandering through the jungle, he was rescued on July 20, 1966. After his return, he became a test pilot and survived four plane crashes.
He was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a deadly disease. I lived in Mill Valley (State of California). On February 7, 2001 – 35 years after his plane was shot down – Dengler wheeled his wheelchair down the Panoramic Highway to the entrance of a fire station and shot himself. He was 62 years old and was buried in the Arlington National Cemetery.
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