Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Monday night
29 Dec. 1969

Boy, do I ever have some tales tonight!!!

Yesterday was really some day!! I’ll start with my first flight of the day. It was a 0215 brief. I got back from that hop and found out that a TA-4 had been shot down and the pilots were surrounded by enemy and the helicopters couldn’t get in to pick them up. So, the hot pad was told to launch 3 sections of planes loaded with napalm to go to the crash site (one section at a time). I was in the last of these sections and took off about noon.

Napalm has to be dropped very low, about 800’ above the ground, and the enemy were shooting at the planes with very large guns. Anyway, this was the scariest mission flown around here in a long time. The second plane in the second section was hit and caught on fire and the crew had to eject!!! These guys are from our squadron and I flew with the pilot on my first hop of the day.

They were okay and were picked up by a helicopter real soon, because where they ejected was safer. My section went on the target, after their plane was shot down so was I ever scared, as was everyone else!!! However, by the time we got there, other planes from other bases had also bombed the target and the guns were pretty well knocked out. So I didn’t get shot at. But I was scared all the same. I was as nervous (or more) as the first time I flew in the F-4.

The target was so far away from Chu Lai, that we didn’t have enough fuel to get back here, so we had to go to Ubon, Thailand. So I diverted to Ubon exactly 2 weeks from the last time. This time I went ahead a cashed a check for $10.00. We decided to spend the night at Ubon, and came back this morning.

Those guys that ejected had only been here about a month, (pilot) and two weeks (RIO) and only had a total of 37 missions all together!! So they were new guys. When I flew with the pilot on that first hop, I was joking that maybe if we got shot down and had to eject, I could get some sleep!! I don’t think I’ll ever joke about that again!

The other pilots were picked up safely after we left the target. One of them had a broken leg. Our two guys were uninjured except for sore muscles, bruises, cuts, and scratches. They were sure lucky! Needless to say they are somewhat heroes now. I don’t know if any medals will be give for all this, but some should be.

I got two packages of toys yesterday, and a box of goodies and a book today. I’ve been sharing the cookies with my friends. The cookies are the best and still very fresh.

I heard today that crew rotation to Japan after six months in country is supposed to start, for sure in January! This means that even if we aren’t pulled out, I’ll still go to Japan at the end of six months. We’ll be replaced by guys like Rick Holt who’ve spent six months in Japan. Good news, eh!!! ( I hope this doesn’t change.)

I won’t be able to get any mail while I’m at FAC school, so should get a bunch when I get back!

I’m getting paid more than normal this pay day because it’s the last pay day of the year. However I’ll need more money because while at FAC school I’ll have to pay for all my meals and probably will have to pay something for my room. Of course, I’ll get per diem, but may not get that until I get back.

I got my watch back from repair, and I’ve been wearing it today to see if it’s fixed. Can’t tell yet.

I’ve learned over here that you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. Take those two planes getting shot down! The two days prior to that were so bad, boring, dull, etc, that I didn’t fly either day. Then all hell broke loose! I wonder what will happen tomorrow.

The cookies are so delicious that the other guys just gobble them up, if I let them! Ha. I guess they don’t get cookies from home.

I heard today that the Dallas Cowboys got beat!!! Boy was I disappointed. Another of my favorite teams bites the dust. I’m almost glad I wasn’t able to watch it on T.V.

I’m all “writ” out, so I’ll close now.

Photo - F-4B fighter-bomber


  1. Wow! I'm sure this was a day you will never forget!

  2. I remember that that target was in kind of a curve in the river up the hill. The RIO described watching the tracers coming up and over the aircraft as they were rolling off the target. They had lost communication between the pilot and the RIO and soon there was no power then no engines. As the Rio was reaching for his ejection handle he was suddenly ejected. They had flown far enough away that a jolly green had them within minutes.
    This is interesting seeing and hearing these same experiences through someone elses eyes.
    Thank you again