Climbing over large boulders blocking the mouth of a narrow, sandy canyon near Joshua Tree, California, I stopped to catch my breath. Somewhere on the steep, rock-strewn hills just ahead, the remains of a TA-4F Skyhawk lay undisturbed. At 3:07 p.m. on Oct. 23, 1969, the ill-fated jet on a training flight originating in Yuma, Arizona, spun in from 31,000 feet, exploding on impact. The 29-year-old pilot bailed out successfully and hiked down this very canyon seeking assistance. His 24-year-old copilot wasn’t so lucky. His ejection seat malfunctioned, and he perished. No one had visited this crash site since its cleanup shortly after the crash. If our group could locate the site, we would be uncovering a story that had remained untold for 44 years.