Moments later the helicopter was hit by small arms fire and crashed.
To Judd's family's relief, he eventually made it home. It only took 46 years.
Due to the location of the crash, Judd's body was not recovered until 2012, when recovery teams were able to return to Vietnam and excavate the crash site.
Officials contacted the Judd family in early 2013, which began Judd's journey to his final resting place at Arlington National Cemetery, where his family attended his burial ceremony, July 15.
"We had put our brother to rest in our minds," said Chris Judd, Michael's older brother and a Navy veteran himself. "In February, it all came back. It's been quite an emotional rollercoaster this past few months with all the memories coming back."
As the time for the ceremony approached, Judd's concern was for his 95-year old mother.
"I wasn't sure my mother could deal with it," said Judd, holding back tears. "She's doing better than I am."