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Old 09-14-2006, 09:05 PM   #1
I am: Boolean21
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Vietnam war stories

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My cyber-buddy (ex-USN S3 pilot, did carrier duty in Vietnam) sent me this gem:
Messing With Forward Air Controllers

One of the best things about being in the gun platoon was the
sense of superiority we felt over all things living. I mean, you
take the age of each individual flying in a light fire team, add
them up, and then divide by the amount of rockets aboard both
ships, the rounds of 7.62 and 40 mm, and then subdivide by the
pounds of fuel; and the sum result is the average age of maturity
aboard the aircraft.

And then, the rules we lived by didn't particularly cause a
certain conservative lifestyle. Let's see...

* Rule 1: You can have all the ammo you want.
* Rule 2: The vast areas that you will fly over are considered
your domain, where you are free to kill and burn as you want.
* Rule 3: The two aircraft together are worth over $1,000,000.
If you break them, we will give you brand new ones.

So anyway, here we were cruising down life's highway -- actually
Highway 13. I had my doorgun unhooked from the bungee, barrel out
and laying on the floor, as did my gunner.

My feet were up on the cabin bulkhead; and I was slumped down,
smoking a cigarette, drinking a beer from the cooler, and
listening to rock and roll on AFVN via the ADF radio ... probably
pretty much like I would have been doing at home in my 64 Chevy
SS; but in this case, we were six feet off the highway, doing 90
knots, and trying to run cyclo carts into the ditches.

I casually glanced over at my gunner in time to see him sit up and
stare out to the right front of the aircraft.

"Sir, aircraft 2 o'clock about two miles, looks like an FAC."

I sat up and looked across the aircraft through the pilot's window
and could see him slightly higher then us, and we were catching up
to him.

The FAC was a Forward Air Controller flying in an O-1 Birddog. It
was a small, fixed-winged, observation plane. The Air Force used
them to control the jet fighter bombers during air strikes, while
the Army used theirs to correct artillery fire.

The aircraft commander in the left seat in front of me, reached
down to the radio console and flipped his selector to Channel 3.

"Crossbow 31, 33. Close on us and join up in trail."

And then he turned and grinned at the pilot.

"Let's scare the * out of the FAC!"

Our wingman called, "Formation up."

The AC said, "I've got it" and dropped the nose, picking up some

We started closing on the FAC from slightly below his six o'clock

He appeared to be doing about 80 knots and was maybe at 200 feet.
Actually, he was probably working; but he was at an altitude that
almost guaranteed him some sheet metal damage from ground fire. He
was painted gray, so we knew he was an Air Force FAC and not an
Army Artillery spotter. That made it even more fun, because we
rarely got to mess with the Air Force pukes.

As we closed on him from behind and low, we had built up our speed
to a face-stretching 100 knots. The AC keyed his microphone and
spoke with our wingman. "31, 33. We're going to pass under him and
get out in front by a hundred yards or so, then climb out in front
of him. Climbing now, then diving under him."

Then we did. We swooped up and then dived down with Crossbow 31
right beside us. As we passed under the FAC, I was laughing in
glee as was Johnny my gunner. We zoomed ahead and then climbed
swiftly; and, as Johnny and I looked back, we could see the O-1
Birddog hit our rotorwash and bounce all over the sky.

With a friendly wave out the back, we once again resumed our trip
down Thunder Road leaving a trail of ditched pedicabs, angry
Vietnamese, and vengeful-minded FAC pilots.

We were almost home, and I was debating whether or not to open
another beer, when our wingman frantically called us.


As my pilot started to flip the radio selector to answer him, I
saw Johnny sit up straight and rigid and stare straight out to the
right. I tried to see what he was looking at, but I suddenly felt
the hairs on the back of my neck stand up; and I slowly turned to
look out my side.

There were two, F-4 Phantom IIs, gear down, dive brakes open, with
full flaps, cruising right along side me. They were probably doing
twice our speed; but time seemed to stand still, as the front
seater in the Phantom closest to us, casually raised his left hand
with the middle digit raised.

As they passed to the front of us, they joined up with two more of
their buddies, who had overtaken us on the right. With the
precision of the famed Thunderbirds, they closed up a quarter mile
in front of us, back into a finger-four formation. You could
almost hear the flight call the marks...

"Gear up....NOW!"
"Brakes in...NOW!"
"Flaps up.....NOW!"

And then suddenly they were gone, hidden from view by the burning
explosion of eight Pratt and Whitney engines at full military
power. The only thing we could see was the smokey contrails as
they zoomed up out of sight. I could plainly hear the Aircraft
Commander as he yelled, "OH, *!!!!!"

Then we hit the little present that the zoomies had left for us.
We went up and then down, and then up, down, up, down as the pilot
fought to control our bird.

Ten minutes later, we had quietly hover taxied down the active
runway to our revetments at Lai Khe. As we sat down, the FAC
started his flyby down the length of the active runway, cheerfully
giving us, out his open cockpit window, that special salute to
fellow aviators that seemed to be used Air Force wide.
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Old 09-15-2006, 09:14 AM   #2
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I am: Chris R
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Amazing the wild stories you can hear out of the Vietnam War.

I work with a guy who was a crew chief on a Special Forces Huey Gunship in 67-68, he was there during the Tet Offensive.

One of my favourites is this one:

One mission they had, was to go with 4 other Huey's into Laos (this is the same time that the American Gov't said emphatically they were NOT in Laos (so were the Soviets)) This gaggle of Huey's were cruising down a mountain valley at 5000ft above the valley floor .

Suddenly the door gunner says, "Hey, there's a R.F.M.F. coming at us!" My partner (Tim) looks over and sees a tiny speck in the sky. The pilot asks, "What's a R.F.M.F.????" The door gunner replies, "Really Fast Mother Fer"

Immediately the other Huey's drop to the valley floor and bug out of there back to Vietnam. Except Tim's Huey. Now they can see the R.F.M.F., it's a Russian Mig-15 complete with heat seeking missles, 30mm cannons and a Russian pilot. The Mig had to drop flaps, gear and speed breaks to slow down to the chopper's speed.

Tim asks the pilot what he was doing?? The pilot replies, "He's not supposed to be here!!!!!" To which Tim replies, "Neither are we!!!!!!"

The Mig pulls along beside the Huey and the pilot points back to the Laos\Vietnam border. So Tim's pilot gives him the "you're #1 salute." Tim is now flipping, "are you nuts???!!!! He can blow us out of the sky with those missles!!!"

Tim looks over at the door gunner who's lighting a cigarette, he says to Tim, "Don't worry if he shoots a missle at us, I'll throw this out the window!!" Tim looks at him incedulously, "Heloo!!! Turbine engine!!!" Pointing to the tail of the heli. "Cigarette. Which do you think is hotter???!!!!"

Eventually, the pilot finally saw the wiser and safer route and dove for the valley floor and headed back to the border.

He's got 100's of 'Nam stories, I wish somebody would write a book about them.

Chris Rebidoux
Gravity works. I've tested it......often!!!
Building: Jerry Bates 1/4 Chipmunk
Vancouver Vanguard 1/6 Fairey Firefly
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