The USA had an operation called Lifeguard to rescue downed pilots.
Submarines were assigned to do this, each Sub would have a flight of 4 aircraft to cover them from air attack during a search for a known pilots location.
On one occasion there was a history changing rescue where a aircraft which had bombed an radio mast on an island near Iwo Jima.
The aircrafts engine was hit and caught fire. The young pilot turn out to sea and told the other 2 crewmen to bail out and then bailed out himself.
Once in his life raft he could not see his crew. As he was close inshore the Japs tried shelling him before the Alerted Sub could get to him in daylight.
The Sub could not surface to pick him up so came very close at periscope depth. The pilot caught on what the Skipper wanted and held onto the periscope. However he could not hold on very long to the tube so the Sub came up enough so that the pilot could hold onto the periscope supports until the Sub was way out to sea away from the Jap guns.
The pilot was George W Bush and when he became President of USA he had the surviving members of the Subs crew in his parade.
Operation Lifeguard saved around 400- 500 aircraft crew.