WASHINGTON, DC FEBRUARY 01: Clint Eastwood speaks with reporters during the grand opening of the The Warner Bros. Theater where Mr. Eastwood received the Smithsonian Bicentennial Medal at the Smithsonian National Museum Of American History on February 1, 2012.

The day CLINT EASTWOOD almost died as his plane plummeted into icy waters!

Before Clint became the iconic actor/director we know today, he survived a harrowing plane crash which kept him out of active duty during the Korean War.

In 1950, young Clint had planned to enter Seattle University to major in music after his rag tag piano playing years plinking the keys at a bar in Oakland, California but fate and President Harry S. Truman intervened.  

Drafted by the U.S. Army, Eastwood was stationed at Fort Ord where he was a life-saving and swimming instructor.

Clint made a top notch teach and was soon promoted to corporal.

In October 1951, Clint was aboard a night flight Douglas AD-1 military aircraft that departed from Seattle bound for Mather Air Force base in Sacramento.

When the intercommunications system failed, the aircraft was forced to “ditch” – crash – in the Pacific  two miles off Port Reyes.  

Clint swam to shore using no help, escaping serious injury. Clint’s crash was a banner headline in the October 1, 1951 edition of The San Francisco Chronicle.

Eastwood later reflected on about the near fatal air disaster, "I thought I might live. But then I thought, other people have made it through these things before.

“I kept my eyes on the lights on shore and kept swimming."

During an investigative hearing into the crash Clint fought the charges of pilot error, and his rebellious attitude prevented him from going to Korea with the rest of his unit.

Finishing out his tour of duty at Fort Ord, the lanky Eastwood was eyeballed by a Universal-International agent and signed to a movie contract.

Ironically, one of Eastwood’s earliest screen appearances for U-I was in “Tarantula” (1955).  He appears in the heart stopping finale as the USAF pilot who napalms the titular menace from here to oblivion.