Air tactics during the Vietnam War

Unread postPosted: 29 Jan 2005, 23:19
by Pumpkin
TC wrote:The 12:1 Navy, post-TOPGUN Vietnam kill ratio is quite true. That's basically over a 2 1/2 year stretch from mid-69 to the end of air combat ops in Nam. The Navy's kill ratio for the entire war tells a different story of course. As far as our overall performance in Vietnam goes, it was tactics forced on us by politicians that got our planes shot down, NOT our pilots' "inferior capabilities". Blame LBJ, Robert McNamara, and the "Bomber Generals", not our pilots or aircraft.

OT: TC, frankly my knowledge on the Vietnam Air War is limited. Appreciate if you can enlighten, what were the mentioned tactics, (deemed unfavourable), that were imposed by the politicans then.


Unread postPosted: 30 Jan 2005, 02:15
by TC
The tactics in Vietnam that failed are almost a laundry list.

As far as aerial combat goes, the USAF never got away from the Fluid Four formation, and that hindered their fighting ability during the war. The politicians running the war also forced the strike aircraft to fly the same formations, using the same callsigns, over the same targets almost daily. This was most notorious with the F-105 crews.

The Vietnamese were not stupid, and they figured out very quickly how to get some easy kills against our planes. The Navy utilized a tactic called "Loose Deuce" to trap a bandit, and they were able to exploit this tactic to get many more MiG kills. The USAF also did not have good communication between the pilot and WSO. At TOPGUN, the Navy stressed good cockpit communication, not only between pilot and RIO, but also between wingmen.
Thankfully, our tactics have changed over the years, and it showed in Gulf War I, and Kosovo. In Gulf War II, the Iraqis were so scared to face us that they buried their planes. The USAF has since become the world's most sophisticated and feared air arm in the world, and we still have uninformed people that think MiG or Sukhoi X will defeat our planes in a fight. What do we have to do to prove it to you? Shoot YOU down? Yeah...That's right...I didn't think so...

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 30 Jan 2005, 21:58
by Pumpkin
TC wrote:The tactics in Vietnam that failed are almost a laundry list.

As far as aerial combat goes, the USAF never got away from the Fluid Four formation, and that hindered their fighting ability during the war. The politicians running the war also forced the strike aircraft to fly the same formations, using the same callsigns, over the same targets almost daily. This was most notorious with the F-105 crews.

Thanks for the insight TC, it is beyond my comprehension, how policy makers were empowered to influence on military tactic in front line battlefields. I was under the impression, ROE is the furthest they can influence upon.

TC wrote:Thankfully, our tactics have changed over the years, and it showed in Gulf War I, and Kosovo. In Gulf War II, the Iraqis were so scared to face us that they buried their planes. The USAF has since become the world's most sophisticated and feared air arm in the world, and we still have uninformed people that think MiG or Sukhoi X will defeat our planes in a fight.

OT: Respectfully, I believe that is possible. As effective as any fighting force can be, only a decent respect for the foe, ensure a well deserved victory.

just my humble 2 cents,

Unread postPosted: 31 Jan 2005, 02:00
by TC
When you have a group of politicians who are more concerned with the bottom line than a convincing military victory, you wind up with something similar to Vietnam. One big fear was that if we were to overrun North Vietnam, then Russia, China, North Korea, and others may get involved. Food for thought: If SecDef Robert McNamara was so concerned about the bottom line, then why did he get us involved in so many money, manpower, and logistical wasting situations in Vietnam? I'm glad at least the Navy came to their senses. The Air Force was run by a group known as "The Bomber Generals." This was a group of SAC generals, who had flown bombers since WWII. Their idea for the USAF was completely Nuclear Deterrence oriented. They wanted nothing to do with fighters, and thus was one more reason why USAF fighter tactics suffered. I hope Gums spots this thread. He will have much insight into this topic, as he was there for about 3 tours.

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 31 Jan 2005, 06:29
by Gums
Yo Ho!

Oh yeah, throw out that stinky bait at the bottom of a slow-moving turn in the river, let it sit............

Good thread for politically insensitive folks.

Not all that has been posted is correct, IMHO. Much more when I have the chance.

For now:

- USAF tatics were NOT dictated by the Pentagon or anyone else except USAF. Tgt lists and equipment we had to use WAS.

- Loose Duece wasn't a Navy invention. Fluid Four works to this day. We'll do our homework and we'll talk about this later. For now, I can tell you that many folks realized way back in WW2 that a 'welded wingman' was not always the optimum tactic.

- The greatest advancement in aerial combat was adoption of some of the Boyd philosophy, coupled with some of the things mentioned above. Regardless of how well you flew the jet, good comm and support could make up for many deficiencies one might have had.

- Let me make this clear: We were NEVER told that we couldn't fly 'resolution pod formations', which exploited our ECM gear versus the Soviet SAM radars and radar-controlled AAA. Likewise, we were never told to go low and fast, nor high and fast, nor 'one pass, haul a$$'.

So the 'tactics' problems did not originate in HHQ. Sure, the ROE had some problems, but the clever jocks could easily work around them until it came to which tgts we could hit.

- Many of the tactics developed as a result of the 'Red Baron" report had to do with the performance of the modern jets and the new avionics systems. They had nothing to do with 'politics'. They also had to deal with the actual threats out there. You see, the bad guys were developing and employing more capable systems each day, and were emulating the U.S. and Brit and Israeli way of doing business.

more later, but let's hear from Cylon and STBY and other current folks.


Unread postPosted: 02 Feb 2005, 03:04
by swanee

awesome to hear some first person stuff. The only things I know about Vietnam era tactics are from what Chuck Horner has written about. He seems like a good guy, I know a few people who have met/worked with/hung out with him. THey all say the same thing. He was very passionate about not repeating the deficiancies he saw/experienced in Vietnam. The idea that washington came up with tgt lights and such is amazing. Commanders in the field should command and run the war, that is what they are paid to do.

He really hits the hammer home when he talks about coalitions and such, things that didnt really happen in vietnam.

A big note here, our pilots were pretty good in vietnam, they did the best they could with what they had to work with, if it were not for their skill as it was, i am sure that there would have been many many more mia/kia pilots in that war...

Unread postPosted: 02 Feb 2005, 04:46
by ram816
I will agreee that Bob McNamara's "Whiz Kids" were the reason a lot of guys got Bagged by air defenses. They wanted to take threats well after they were operational rather than before they were completed primarily because of the Soviet advisors working with the N.Vietnamese. They just didn't want to start WWIII... Of course, this left our guys open to the some of thickest Flak and SAM coverage since WWII. Because of Politics, we had to hit the infamous Paul Doumer Bridge more than once. Plus the very long turnaround time for intel to go to and from the guys up top left many guys pickling little more than some dirt roads.

In the air to air realm...
*puts an envelope to his head*

*opens Envelope*
Three things that our Aircrews were lacking in...

The USAF fighter weapons school, though already standing establishment did not teach tactics in-depth in hte way that would have helped in a fight. Plus, it wasn't until after TOPGUN's establishment that DACT became a rule for tactics instruction. F-4 students were being taught to fight against their fellow Rhino pilots, sure anyone can fight with a hulking, smoking giant that can be spotted from miles away. Then when they saw MiGs, they were dealing with smaller, much more agile gomers. we were getting beaten by the "peasant" air force.

Then there was the excessive confidence that the brass had in the BVR Sparrows that were the primary weapon in the F-4. We all know that because there was no IFF back then, we ened up reqiring a visual ID before firing. by the time you saw them, they'd already seen you from miles away, and you were already well under the Sparrow's Minimum range. Even if oyu did get a Sparrow shot, the time from lock to launch was almost an eternity. Even if you did get a lock it most of the time failed to track (something that still hung around well after the war eg: VF-32's MiG kill, one F-14 launched 2 Sparrows that failed to track before switching to the AIM-9 to make the kill).
Another thing that I've mentioned before is that Air Force Backseaters were just pilots subordinate to the guy in front and weren't being trained to operate the Radar to its fullest performance. Also, Ordnance tecnicians weren't trained to maintain Sparrows well, either. During the Ault report a Navy Ordnance Cheif was quoted "Sir, we treat them F***ers like bombs and they're gonna act like bombs. We're not maintaining 'em right."
Plus, the Missile and radar were WAY too complex to be maintained in a War environment rather than the white rooms where they were developed. you'd have kids no older than 20 tring to find out what's wrong through acres of Schematics.

Even the less problematic sidewinder had limitations with Lock on time and being fired in an angles fight. Early AIM-9s were known to break apart in flight after being fired.

The or course comes the most important factor, aircrew training. The USAF Fighter Weapons School just wasn't enough training. Before the War, the navy had FAGU (Fleet Air Gunnery Unit) which taught tactics to Gun-equipped fighters up to the F-8 Crusader. When hte F-4 came into play, hte pencil necks up top axed it in favor of new technology. VF-121 replacement pilots who were being trained before going off to the fleet were lucky to get 1 solid Tactics flight. The only tactics then were "Shoot and Scoot." Then came project Doughnut and Drill (from the guys at VX-4 including Foster "Tooter" Teague). Those were the earliest tactics developed for the out-gunned Phantom Phlyers. Then TOPGUN was established as a det of VF-121.
you know the rest of hte story... BLAH BLAH BLAH.... Kill ratios go up... ACM training is now a fundamental taught to Fighter Pilots, Tactics have improved, technolgies are better, "Ease of maintenance" is the big term to shoot for in avionics.

There are literally hundreds of reasons we took a beating in Vietnam, too many to list. The Ault report alone covered only Navy and Marine Corps problems... I'd hate to see what the Air Force's numbers would have to add...

Unread postPosted: 02 Feb 2005, 07:49
by TC
Gums to my rescue! ROE, yes, that's the acronym I was trying to think of when I posted earlier. Thanks! :D Yeah, tactics can be perfect, but if you aren't allowed to use them to their fullest capability, then they won't work well. The gomers, as I mentioned previously, got many more kills than they probably should have because they saw the same thing over and over. Everyone who is interested in military aviation should read Col. Jack Broughton's "Thud Ridge." It is a very eye-opening book.

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 02 Feb 2005, 21:24
by Pumpkin
Thanks ram816, Gums. Some good reading back there, clearing my misconception.

ram816, the ROE of visual ID was imposed only after a F-4 AIM-7 blue-on-blue in the theater? The repeated target list reminded me of the "Flight of intruder". Is there any truth in the movie?

By the way, I don't remember reading your intro. Care to do one in the 'Introduce Yourself' section?


Unread postPosted: 02 Feb 2005, 21:44
by parrothead
Thanks guys! This is a very interesting topic to me and all the firsthand info is great for someone like me who has only read about it :) .

The repeated target list reminded me of the "Flight of intruder". Is there any truth in the movie?

I've read quite a bit of non-fiction about that war and the repeated target list is consistant with what I've read. About that self appointed mission flown by Grafton in the book and movie, I've heard from anonymous sources that it did actually happen. The accounts I've heard say that it was a Phantom crew flying from a carrier and that due to some collusion with the right people, there wasn't enough evidence to actually nail them for it. I have to add the disclaimer here that this is second or third hand information and should be treated as such. I'd like to think that it happened, but it may very well be another old "war story" :wink: .

Unread postPosted: 03 Feb 2005, 02:22
by TC
The guy I mentioned before, Col. Jack Broughton, was actually court-martialed, because two of his men strafed a ship in Haiphong Harbor (which as I recall at the time was off limits). What I don't recall is whether the ship shot at them first (I'm about 99.9% sure it did), but Col. Broughton destroyed the gun camera evidence. He was found not-guilty, but his career was over after that. It's a d@mn shame too, because he was one of the best Thud pilots we had, was an excellent leader, and as an aside, was a former Thunderbirds commander. Just goes to show, that if we hadn't had restricted targets, none of that would have been necessary. Pi$$ on Robert McNamara!

Beers and MiGs (and any other potential target) were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 03 Feb 2005, 03:07
by ram816
Pumpkin wrote:ram816, the ROE of visual ID was imposed only after a F-4 AIM-7 blue-on-blue in the theater? The repeated target list reminded me of the "Flight of intruder". Is there any truth in the movie?

By the way, I don't remember reading your intro. Care to do one in the 'Introduce Yourself' section?

I know about the friendly fire incidents that led to Visual ID as part of the ROE....

Flight of the Intruder. What a fun movie... well, just the flying scenes and Danny Glover's chewing out of the hapless Lieutenant Razor...
"How did someone as dumb as you, as stupid as you, become an aviator?! Can you read?!" The Book was better, though... It kind of makes me wish I could have been a 'Truder driver.

BTW: Stephen coonts did fly with "The Main Battery" of VA-196, the same squadron that is protrayed in the book and movie...

As to an intro... I had a bad experience posting my info on another board... ended up being known as the cocky newbie with delusions of grandeur...
so I'll keep my info to myself.

Unread postPosted: 03 Feb 2005, 03:34
by Cylon
1: Tactics were not dictated by the goe-political machine, BUT TARGETS WERE. AND both TC and Gums must agree that in the big sense of winning the war, or even the battle, targeting is the primary chunk of it. Now,-a-days it's nice to say that the mission CC can modefy the targeting gameplan with a great deal of lattitude. NOW, we can even have some pretty good say in the weapon we want to use, as long as the reserves are in country. My two cents come down to TARGETING. TECHNOLOGY, and LEADERSHIP. (no duh Cylon...)

Targeting: LET ME KILL SOMETHING THAT STOPS THE TACTICAL/STRATEGIC PROGRESSS OF WAR... Not something that can be worked around tomorrow by the enemy troops. The Ho Chi Min trail was a waste of time and weapons. Bombing sand is like pouding your fist into silly-putty... I can still make it into a bouncing ball that makes great comic pictures. Find AND LET ME BOMB the garage that the trucks travel from or the place they get gas at and you have a center of mass!!!

USE of available Technology: Here is a simple yet VERY controversial subject in current fighter circles: Why do I need VISUAL mutual support? Back in Nam, they were almost TOO visual in my opinion. There was the ability to use "detatched" mutual support, but I think some of our Korean and late WWII brethren pretty much poo-pooed this. To get beyond this requires some thinking "outside the container" and I can tell you that this is a battle that we are having RIGHT NOW...

Leadership: The difference between a Captain now, and a Captain in the Korean War is not to far apart. Somewhere in the Vietnam War, the old 1st Lt and Young Capt got lost. From what I have read and heard (from my father, you guys, and other Vietnam Vets), the Capt flew the sortie, made the admin-based decisions and brought the jet home with the lead dropped. NOW we change the ATO. We say yes and no to targets and flow directions. WE make NEW tactics (hell, the LT's are good for this fresh stuff). We do things that an old F-4 or F-101 dude would say "NO YOU DON'T, that goes against one of Boyds, Horners or Richies 'Rules.'" The basics ALWAYS apply, and we ALWAYS ask ourselves when we defy these basic rules -- "what if." BUT I have seen some REAL advancement in tactics by TRYING something that wasn't written about or talked about in a boigraphy written prior to 1982. This sounds young and arrogant, but I can't express enough the need to do things that are different and COMPLETELY NEW. Two things will never change: 1) A tally is worth a thousand radar locks (or "bogey Dopes") and 2) A wingman's primary job is to not hit their flight lead or the ground.

That's what is different now: What was the mistake in Vietnam??? Well, it took a long time for tactics, targets, and leadership to change since Both WWII and Korea... Nothing changed in the USAF for about 20 years when technology did. The comment about SAC generals is right on, in my opinion.


Unread postPosted: 03 Feb 2005, 08:17
by cru
Cylon is right. Leadership is important, but not only at the highest level. It goes for wing leaders too.

As I mentioned in an previous post there was an USAF unit that had an outstanding performance in Vietnam-the 8th FW (now stationed in S. Korea). They achieve about 20 % of all (USAF+USN+USMC) kills in the war! If you look to the professional path of the people that lead this unit you will find that many occupied after the war important positions in USAF hierarchy. They were simply good.

Unread postPosted: 03 Feb 2005, 14:20
by danhutmacher
If anybody wants to read a couple of good books about the air war you should find a copy of Clashes byMarshall Michel and striving for air superiority by craig hannah.

The list of failures about the vietnam war is very long. Even Colonel Olds, the leader of the eighth fighter wing from september of 66 till september of 67 still refused to change from the tactics that he learned in ww2. There were several instances when another memeber of his flight had a mig in front of him and Olds wouldn't give him permiosion to fire and so tyhe mig got away.

The Red baron report that someone mentioned earlier didn't come out until After the war was over.

Colonel Olds has also said that if the Mig pilots knew what they were doing they would have murdered us.

And if anyone thinks that something similar can't happen again they should read up on what happened over Kosvo in99.

Unread postPosted: 03 Feb 2005, 15:07
by EriktheF16462
go here for a little insight on when things went right.

Thuds, Phantoms and plugging Migs!

Unread postPosted: 04 Feb 2005, 01:03
by TC
What happened in Kosovo should never be compared to Nam. Vietnam was an air and ground war that really had no comparison to anything before or afterward. Kosovo was a battle that had a clear objective, a defined opposition, and the U.S. walked over the Serbian AF. The U.S. did not suffer a single air-to-air loss in Kosovo. Besides, it only took a couple of months to complete the airstrikes, and depose Slobodan Milosevic. Hell, we kept fighting in Nam after Ho Chi Minh died! The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan would be a more accurate comparison, but the Sovs didn't lose as many troops there, as we did in Vietnam. However, it had the same affect amongst the Soviet people, as Vietnam had on the American homefront. But, I got off topic there. This thread is about what happened in Vietnam, and the lessons we learned.

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 04 Feb 2005, 05:29
by Gums
Yo Ho!

Glad to have a good discussion of real stuff.

Cylon has 99% of it right. And, GASP!, he's a clueless yute!!!

- Our ROE in 'nam was criminal. Both air-to-ground and air-to-air. Hence, we clever folks developed tactics such as "shooter-eyeball" for the BVR missile shots. And we started to exploit new tech stuff that we can't talk about here.

- A Tally is worth a thousand mile radar contact. No truer words in all the books. OTOH, if you are absolutely sure that the radar lock is on a bad guy, then hose away before he hoses at you!

- As some know, Chuck Horner was my first Wing King student in the Viper - back in 1980. I have his signature on that Clancy book, and he only lives a few miles from here. A really super troop.

- Cylon may not realize that even in 'nam, the 'real' commanders let the bright, shiny folks have their chance. PLZ look up Karl Richter. This guy was mission commander for 200-plane raids when he was still a First LT. 'course, he already had over 100 missions in the Thud and a Mig kill with his cannon.........

- Cylon is right about tactics versus politics. ROE is another matter. more on that later, as I still have bad vibes..........

- Biggest change I saw in tactics from 1965 to today was the exploitation of the new tech stuff. Welded wing was OK in WW2, but nowadays the wingie can easily use his radar to help sort the tgts and then go where the lead tells him to. Comm is better, GCI is better, displays are better, radars are better, and the jets are better.

- It is true that the Navy got more serious first. USAF followed. This was funny, as USAF got their Phantoms armed with the internal cannon and Navy didn't. Cunningham got all his kills with missiles, as did Ritchie. Nevertheless, the cannon was cheap and all-aspect and didn't need a million-dollar fire control system. Besides, when the gomer flew out in front, inside of missile range, the cannon was real good.

gotta go.........

Unread postPosted: 04 Feb 2005, 18:34
by ram816
Gums wrote:- It is true that the Navy got more serious first. USAF followed. This was funny, as USAF got their Phantoms armed with the internal cannon and Navy didn't. Cunningham got all his kills with missiles, as did Ritchie. Nevertheless, the cannon was cheap and all-aspect and didn't need a million-dollar fire control system. Besides, when the gomer flew out in front, inside of missile range, the cannon was real good.

Actually, the F-4C and D didn't come with an internal gun. The use of a Gun in an Air Force Phantom was materialized in the form of a SUU-23 pod mounted on the centerline station (although they were sometimes seen on the wing stations for A-G use). Still, because it's a gunpod instead of an internal gun, there's always that "Scatter Gun" effect. But as gums pointed out, if you could get the other guy to overshoot, he'd be close enough that accuraccy wouldn't be your biggest problem. Just gotta Weave through the debris when youre done with him. :wink:

The F-4E with the internally-mounted vulcan didn't come along until after the war. The Navy, on the other hand, never asked for a gun-equipped Phantom, as it got its first F-14s in mid '73... leaving Navy and Marine Phantom squadrons to hold on until they all moved to the F-14 and the F/A-18 respectively.

Unread postPosted: 05 Feb 2005, 00:52
by TC
The USAF quickly realized the futility of their gunless Phantoms against the tight-turning MiG-17s, so the E model came about in 69, and was in service shortly thereafter. It served in Nam until we evacuated Saigon in '75. There are some E models with MiG kills, including the last ever U.S. guns kill, which was made in 1973 by an old acquiantance BGen (I believe he was a 1LT at the time) Gary Rubus.

As far as the gun pods go, yes, we carried the 23s and the smaller sized (but I believe same caliber) SUU-16. MiG kills were also made by gunpod-equipped Phantoms. They could be centerline mounted, or a pair on the wings could be mounted as well. Only problem was the drag it created.

A misconception that persists is that the E was the top of the line Phantom. It is true that they were updated quite frequently with new gizmos, but while the E's had the gun, the D's were really the ones that had all the cool doofers in the backseat. A Sony tv to fly Walleye bombs, and some other stuff we can't talk about here. This is why AD/TAC kept the D's around for so long in the Air Defense role (served with FIS units til about 89-90).

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 05 Feb 2005, 02:51
by Cylon
I'll role ROE and ROE interpretation into leadership (more towards the military leadership)... I think that's fair.


Unread postPosted: 05 Feb 2005, 05:47
by Gums
Yo Ho!

Thank you, TC, for setting RAM-breath straight.

I know that I am old, but I sure remember seeing the 421st and 34th dudes at Korat in late '72 flying "E" model Phantoms. The only "C' models I saw were the Weasels, who were TDY there for Linebacker II.

The "Gunfighters" flew from DaNang in C and/or D models and had the pod cannon most all the time. Was neat, but they couldn't use the centerline station for that huge gas tank. And we all know that the F-4 was always low on gas, even sitting at the end of the runway. Short war story follows:

So we have an A-7 flight divert to Udorn in late '72. Refuel and get ready to head back to Korat. There's some kinda delay and the tower asks the A-7 flight lead what was his abort time. "Abort time?", replies the SLUF driver. Tower says, "When you don't have enough gas to do the mission". SLUF driver looks at fuel - about 10,000 pounds or so, and burning about 500 pounds per hour sitting there. About 150-200 miles back to Korat, so figure 1500 pounds to get home. Plus reserve of 1000 pounds. So the SLUF driver calmly replies, "O.K. Tower, we got about 14 or 15 hours!". All the F-4 pukes hissed...............

By '71, PhuCat had converted from Huns to "E' models, as a guy in my A-7 squad had just come from there in late '71. So there plenty of "E" models in 'nam before the war ended the first time.

No matter, as the only aces used missiles. Nevertheless, much of the thot in those days revolved about including a cannon in any air-to-air beast. The sucker is also neat for air-to-ground when all else fails, especially combat search and rescue.

gotta hit the rack,

Unread postPosted: 07 Feb 2005, 06:10
by chickenlegs
I'll swear I worked on 67 & 68 'E' models at Hahn in the seventies. No doubt they were in service during the war.

Unread postPosted: 07 Feb 2005, 08:26
by TC
LOL! Yeah, chickenlegs, you are correct. I'm fairly certain that your birds at Hahn were still painted in SEA camo as well (a dead giveaway for a 'Nam bird). I know the D's and E's that my pops worked on @ Bitburg were painted in SEA camo as well. Another dead giveaway for 'Nam service is seeing E's with kill stars on the port side intake ramp (of which I've seen numerous times). Back to the paint, even some of the first E's that came to Keflavic were painted in SEA camo. That's before the AD/TAC gray scheme became prevalent. When you visualize an F-4, the SEA scheme is typically the first thing that pops into your head. Loved that paint scheme. Hell, anything beats that lizard green Europe One camo they tried in the '80s. Yuck!

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 07 Feb 2005, 18:11
by chickenlegs
Your right on about the SEA camo. In fact, again if memory serves me, that sceme (white bottom, brown and green top) stayed on the aircraft until the F-16 conversion in 80-81. (Man were ORI's different in those days!) I also remember that Spangalem, Zweibruken (recce), along with Bitburg and bases in Spain were flying the F-4. -111's in England, OV-10's at Sembach They wanted me to extend along with the conversion but I said no thanks.

Unread postPosted: 19 Feb 2005, 23:35
by robin1
Sorry to intrude but I found this web site by accident and was intrigued by the myriad of just palin wrong information. I was a Capt F-4 pilot at Korat '71-'72. Yes we had "E's" and 'D's" came TDY. We had C-130's, EB-66's, F-105 Weasels, and even A-7's.

We flew our own tactics although the frag order arrived sometime in the wee hours of morning so the brief had to be short. We had paired crews in the 34TFS and we liked it that way. We lost ZERO pilots in 1972. Since I also served with the 7th fleet during Linebacker in Jun '72, I can relate that the pairing of crewmembers meant more than cool tactics.

For the "we were never trained right guys", I went to RTU at George. We flew dissimilar against the squids from China Lake. We flew high, low, 2 ship, four ship, etc. If someone had bad training, they had bad leadership. If you get a chance, talk to someone who actually flew during that time. Don't read their book, rather force them to tell the whole story and defend their opinion.

Robin 1

Unread postPosted: 20 Feb 2005, 17:41
by parrothead
robin1, no need for apologies :) ! Thanks for contributing!

Unread postPosted: 21 Feb 2005, 04:52
by danhutmacher
Hi Robin1, If you got such good training at george then you were the exception. Although I'm to young to have fought in vietnam I like to read about the war. Just about every book I have read says that you guys were trained to fly only intercept tactics. But the biggest problem wasn't tactics, although that was a problem, but the low PK of the sidewinder and sparrow missiles.
I was wondering if you ever thought about writing about about your tour?

Unread postPosted: 21 Feb 2005, 09:44
by TC
dan, if you want to blame somebody for what went wrong over there, blame LBJ and Robert McNamara, not the guys who busted their @$$es trying to get the job done.

This thread's getting a little too politically charged. It's time to move on.

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 22 Feb 2005, 17:33
by Gums
Yo Ho!

Welcome to the fray, Robin!!!!

I was in the A-7 wing that deployed in Oct '72, and came back in 75.

Talked with Lon Holtz the other day, also a 34th puke ( 34th TFS, "Snortin' Goats" patch, heh heh. for those who want to know, he and I flew A-37's together back in '68. He got a Mig kill about the time our SLUFs showed up at Korat. And I proudly put on my 34th patch when I was an IP with them in the Viper. Was also a 34th jet that I landed with the LEF stuck up).

Dan? You need to talk with actual folks who did actual things and flew actual jets in actual combat. PLZ quit reading all the tripe unless it is by a real combat pilot/WSO and another troop says the same thing in another book. Sheeesh.

Maybe I can get Steve Ritchie to jump in here, or Steve Croker (Olds' back seater), or another contact who flew the Double Ugly after USN and USAF got serious about tactics. What do you guys think?


Unread postPosted: 22 Feb 2005, 22:23
by LinkF16SimDude
Gettin' either Ritchie or Croker (preferrably both) to chime in on anything would be a big feather in this board's cap, methinks! :thumb:

Unread postPosted: 23 Feb 2005, 00:24
by TC
I'd love to hear from both. Anytime you get to hear what a situation was really like firsthand, is better than hearing theories and "what ifs" from people who weren't there. Which leads me to my next questions...

Gums, a fella that worked with my pops was a Bronco driver in 'Nam, and he told me about missions he flew in the OV-10 over the Ho Chi Minh Trail. He said their job would be to paint targets in the VC cave and tunnel system, and then Phantoms would come in and attack. Did you ever fly any missions in the Dragonfly over the Ho Chi Minh Trail, or were A-37s primarily used for CAS?

Also, did you ever have someone fly in the right seat in the Dragonfly on combat missions, or did you only fly solo? The reason I thought about this question was because I was recently thinking about LT. Michael Blassie, the former Vietnam Unknown Soldier. He was found alone, and I never heard anyone mention anything about the need to find a second man at the crash site. I assumed then, that no one was flying with him when he was shot down.

Thanks for your insight Gums. It's always highly enjoyed and appreciated! :thumb:

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 23 Feb 2005, 03:50
by parrothead
Bring 'em all in - the more the better :D ! Thanks for all your contributions on this board, Gums! I love hearing the real story from the guys who were there!!!

Unread postPosted: 23 Feb 2005, 06:32
by Gums
Yo Ho!

TNX for nice words.

I think I can get the 34th troop (Mig killer) to jump in here, so we shall see.

I also know another of Olds' WSO's that might agree to comment.

As for the "Pave Nail" OV-10's, it is true that they would steer LGB's into caves and such. They would illuminate the bottom of the cave until the last second, then shift the dot to just above the cave opening. The LGB could not make the turn and would fly right down the opening - heh heh. Only the best Nail jocks could do that.

'tis true. I flew night interdiction and armed recce over the Trail in Jan/Feb of 1968 in the A-37. We flew outta Plieku, and our callsign was Dragon. Was part of the test program to evaluate the little jet in weird missions. My best war story was one of the night missions when I nailed 5 trucks on one pass with CBU. At the time, no OV-10's, and we had O-2's for night FACs - the Covey's. In daylight, we had Covey's and sometimes Ravens for FACs.

Blassie was one of ours, and a dedicated squadron commander at Bien Hoa worked for a few years to convince USAF that the recoverd body was Blassie.

We flew solo. Unfortunately, because we had the empty seat, we were targeted for press folks and others that wanted a ride. Due to supply problems, many of our jets did not have a functional right seat ejection system, thereby limiting the amount of 'tourists' we had to put up with. Funniest war story was one of our guys holding an oxygen mask on a CBS reporter who had crapped out on the way home. After awhile, the A-37 jock just let the sucker "go to sleep" and hope he didn't suffer permanent brain damage. Plane was not pressurized, so we were limited to 25K (legally). I personally flew a Reuters babe that was about 55 years old! She handled it nicely, as it was a fairly benign tree-buster.

late, gonna log

Unread postPosted: 23 Feb 2005, 20:54
by Stefaan

Rolling out the red carpet!


Unread postPosted: 24 Feb 2005, 23:32
by JR007
Well if you want to hang out with Gums bud Steve, he's speaking at 16:30 May 20 at a remembrance and memorial service at Selfridge ANGB ... l001.shtml ,
or just go to any of our airshows as we have two Mig killers on the team, Dave with two gun kills from the F-105, and Steve with five Aim-7 kills from the F-4. Dave is also responsible for Steve being the only AF ace as Dave got his guns kill before Robin Olds could get a Sparrow lock on the Mig...

Unread postPosted: 25 Feb 2005, 00:01
by Snake-1
I've read several of the articles offered on this topic and would like to add my two cents worth on several issues.

On training, it is correct that DACT was not on the training agenda for crews bound for sea as of late 71. In fact, the Aggressors at Nellis started in either late 72 or early 73 (someone correct me if I am wrong) followed by the one at Zaragosa in Spain and the one I built in the P.I. (First Commander was Major/LC Wells). However, in 71, at Luke we did receive 8 sortie each of BFM, ACM, and ACT. In BFM and ACM half were with I/Ps in the pit and half with our GIBs. In ACT 2 were with IPs and the rest with our GIBs. Additionally, three quarters of our IPs were recent SEA returnees who saw the elephant. So we did know what the aircraft could and couldn't do as far as performance goes which really helped in listening to the aircraft (bells and whistles, groans, beepers, etc) but nothing against dissimilar birds.

Next, the cannon on the E was a very viable and effective weapon. This was especially true in the Air to Air environment because of the very restrictive ROE that required hard visual ID before any actions could be taken. So unless you spoted "Charlie" profiled against a cloud (DeBellevue spots on third (?) kill with Steve up front) some distance away you are rapidly going to go through the 7 and 9 parameters to get the ID when all you have left is the gun. If you got down to a gun only engagement you were in real trouble unless you were low with a lot of smash and you didn't try to turn with Charlie (Take it vertical or disengage). A good example of effective use of the gun was Gary Retterbush who was TDY to Korat with the 35th on Sep 12 and Oct 8. On these dates hr took two Mig 21s down after 7's and 9's failed to do the job. Finally, on Max-Go's up north we prioritized the 34th and 469th e models over the 35th. D models before of the added advantage of the gun. THe D's we'd use for missions down south.

ROE was the "Holy Grail" especically when operating up north in PAC 6 and if you violated it you were raw meat on the table. Even in the heat of battle when everyone has something unimportant to say the spooks were listening to you, and Charlie, and could re-construct your mission better then today's Red Flag's magic. McNamara was so convinced that "Commonality" and a controlled response was the key to winning the minds of Charlie that we just couldn't get any relief from the heavy heavy restrictions that were placed on us. We finally got our say for the 11 days of Christmas in 72 when a majority of the restrictions were lifted and the war ended shortly thereafter.

For Robin1, didn't we lose Cice Brunson in the late summer of 72 (I forget who was with him) when they were escorting a strike package into 6 just above an undercast by a SA-2. He was in-turned in the Hilton until the POW release in early 73.


Unread postPosted: 25 Feb 2005, 03:40
by Gums
Welcome Snake!!!

Need to get a few other dinosaurs here.

Can talk about the air-to-mud tactics as we go along, but most folks here want to know about air combat.

The Christmas blitz was a joy for all of us. Just ask any of the POW's that came back a few months later.

Find some more folks, Snake, and let them chime in here.

Gums sends.............

Unread postPosted: 25 Feb 2005, 06:18
by Snake-1

Talking about the Christmas Blitz there is one story that is still pretty much unknown and that is about the Chaff bombers out of the Wolfpac. This group of balls fliers was run by a great guy and superb pilot by the name of Charlie Hollingsworth. We shared a tour in SAC together before Nam when we split with him 0-1 FACing in 4 Corp on his first tour and the Pack on his second. Some of you old timers may have flown with him and if my remembrance of the facts are sketchy, or wrong, jump in.

At the time (71-72) Charlie and his guys would lay a chaff corrider for the ingressing B-52s along the ingress route, over the target, and egress route. Thus you had a finger in the sky on the "gomers" radars plotted and then he put all the guns in the world around that corridor. Additionally, the corridor could only be put down at about 26 to 28,000 feet because of the operational capability of the F-4 with those huge cans of Chaff hung under the wings. Conversely the 52s would fly their strikes in the mid to high 30's. So unless the enemies radars were directly under the chaff corridors some burn through from offset radars could easily track the strike package. THe 52s also flew a set timing interval between each of the three ship cells. So Gomer started stop watches as the first cell entered the corridor and stopped the watches when the second cell entered the same corridor. The timing between cells was forwarded to more gomers at the end of the corridor who again started their stop watches as the first cell exited the corridor and unloaded a salvo of SAS-2s at the timing between cells at the exit point as the second cell came into the clear. Alot of 52s died under these conditions and it was sad watching those fireballs dropping around you and there was nothing you could do. This corridor was dictated by SAC some 7000 miles away and Charlies hands were tied as to what he could and could not do. Doing his duty Charlie laid the corridors and then from a distance watched the carnage of the first three nights when 9 B-52 were shot down.

At the LineBacker debriefings the next day at 7th AF we in the fighter force literally begged SAC to; send a SAC rep who flew the previous days missions so we could talk and develop tactics together to stop the hemorraging, and also modify their tactics so the WEasels, Chaff Bombers, and Fighter escort could try to protect them better. THe answer we got from SAC was not only no, but also don't ask the question again. This attitude continued until they lost the 9th. aircraft on the third night and Charlie was ready for them.

Charlie and his guys had, on their own, developed the Chaff blanket to cover the ingress, the target and Egress routes. It was much bigger, wider and deeper then the corridor, and would provide a much greater degree of security even if laid at 26 grand. It also meant that Charlies guys would be in the target area a heck of a lot longer to go up turn around and come back down (much like a farmer does plowing a field) to lay the whole blanket. Charlie also recommended that if timing to ingress was critical the bomber should scatter and come out of the target area anywhere on the compass rose to screw up the Gomers tracking and solution problems. SAC bought the plan and the next couple of nights were alot safer for the 52 crews that were ready to mutiny.

Morale of te story; Tactics need to be developed by the guys doing the mission and standing in Harm's way. Not by some putz 7000 miles away who has never seen the blood of battle.

Footnote: Charlie would have been on of the most respected Generals of todays Air Force but he was run off the road by a drunk and killed in an automobile accident enroute to visiting his folks some two or three years later


Unread postPosted: 25 Feb 2005, 08:41
by parrothead
Snake, thanks for the stories! It's really great to hear it from someone who was there. Thanks for your service, too :salute: !

Unread postPosted: 25 Feb 2005, 17:09
by Gums
Chaff? Oh yeah!!!!

During the Christmas blitz we had chaff birds spewing out tons of aluminum just in front of us. We could see it on our air-to-ground radar in the SLUF. lokked same as a thunderstorm would.

My first mission up there was perfect. The chaff cloud was right in front of us and the radar-directed stuff didn't start shooting accurately until we rolled in from about 20K. Callsigns for the chaff birds were fruits - like "apple", "peach", etc.

Of course, after a minute or so there was so much shrapnel in the air from the exploding flak that we didn't need "no steeenkeeng, feelthy" chaff anymore, heh heh.


Unread postPosted: 25 Feb 2005, 20:17
by Snake-1

You're right, the first couple of nights were like the fourth of July ten times over. SAM plumes going off in every direction trying to find the evasive 52s coupled with the AGM 45s and 78s the Weasels were throwing back at the sites to suppress them. Oranges from the triple A all over and even small arm tracers if you got low enough to see them. To offer a better view of what I'm talking about remember the real time TV coverage from Bhagdad on CNN back in 91? Well multiple that by ten or twenty. Even the old rule of thumb of "if the orange (tracer) is showing any motion you are safe, if that orange is in the same place on the canopy make it move by changing the attitude of the aircraft" was useless as you didn't have time to look at every orange they fired.

Night four it started slacking off and by night six or seven it was so quiet it was scary. Not a peep on the RHAW gear, no calls of MIGs from Disco or Red Crown, the weasels carried their ordnance back home cause the gomers ran out of SAMs, not a single tracer, not the usual panic calls from a flight in trouble, nothing, zilch, zero, nada. Talk about Air Superiority, if one mig had come up to play those nights a real 800 pound gorilla would have eaten his lunch. It was like being somewhere over the center of the Pacific in a quiet moment where it was just you, the bird, and the almighty.

Around Christmas eve it was still as quiet as a church mouse and one fearless double ugly crew decided to leave a calling card. So they unloaded went into full AB and in a roaring dive crossed the Hanoi Hilton, just above the rafters, at Mach many to let the guys in-turned there know they hadn't been forgotten and wish them a Merry Christmas and an unspoken assurance that we'd be back. This crew was never identified but the high command was looking for them for quite a while afterwards. They are still out there. A lot older, a little grayer, but still steely-eyed and they'll never tell.

Unread postPosted: 26 Feb 2005, 01:58
by Gums

Snake is on to something that should be in the history books for all you yutes that frequent this forum.

I was a part-time Sandy, full-time pig iron delivery expert.

So show up for Sandy alert first night of the blitz ( about oh-dark hundred) and we got 6,7, or 8 downed planes on the board. WHOA!!!! Then we noted the coordinates and callsigns. Another WHOA!

So no SAR's that day due to position of the buffs( as in, like downtown Hanoi). And I flew day after next as "green" sixteen( 356th Green Demons), diving outta the chaff cloud for a railroad yard in the middle of town. The pics from 'raqi I on CNN don't come close to what we saw. There were layers of airbursts, depending upon what calibre the flak was. Some was tracking, some was just random. I am talking a layer about 3,000 ft, another about 10,000, another about 15,000 and the 85's at 20-25,000 feet. Not real fun.

So down we dive and forget about our wife, our kids and our own skinny butt. All we had to do was put the doofer on the target and fly the line on our HUD until the bombs went. Pull up and jink, and "thanks, GOD, I'll take over from here".

Then we had a stand dow for Christmas - no sierra, we actually didn't fly until the 26th.

I'll continue with that sortie later.............

Unread postPosted: 26 Feb 2005, 07:13
by TC
Awesome stories guys! Every pilot from 'Nam that I've ever talked to that was there then always say what a great feeling it was to finally "Go Downtown."

One story that I always love is hearing John McCain talk about a night close to Christmas (possibly even Christmas Eve '72) and those hacks running the Hilton let our boys assemble in the old chapel and have a Christmas prayer service.

Meanwhile, outside, the air raid sirens are going off. McCain said something to the effect that as he started praying he said "I'd have a longer prayer God, but I think you've already answered it." Great stuff.

I also like your input Snake about the SAC bomber generals. It adds a little creedence to some of my earlier posts. Also, welcome to the boards. Always good to hear some insight from some of you older, and much wiser drivers.

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 28 Feb 2005, 18:05
by Snake-1

Thanks for the good words.

When I look at the word "wisdom" in relation to this subject matter I view it as being able to learn from previous mistakes and avoid them in the future. And so far, in this uncertain world, the young Lieutenants and Captains of SEA like Powell, Schwartykauf, our own Chuck Horner, and Presidents willing to stand to the issues are doing just that. They went to school on that awful period, married that knowledge with their first hand experience and vowed never to make the same horrible and costly mistakes again. Let me offer some examples.

The President defined the mission, the objectives, and the desired end result, gave it to the JCS and then got out of the way. He placed his trust and confidence in the men and women who had been there, fought the fight, learned the lessons, and shed the blood to come up with a course of action to meet the objectives with minimum risk.

THe JCS in turn turned the task over to the best and the brightest within the ranks of all the services to blend their particular expertise to the objective and came up with a plan that was a joint U.S. Military one and not one of Army, Navy, Air Force, TAC, or SAC parantage or ownership. Then the plan was given to each of the commanders to figure out the particular and unique tasks, timings, routes, etc, associated with their weapons systems for maximum effect. All of these player inputs were melded in to the overall plan that proved so successful.

The overall result was Top down mission objectives and bottom up mission preparation and planning by the people who had to go out and do the job. Everyone, from the Generals down to the brown bar Lieutenant flying blue four had ownership and more importantly planning experience in what was coming. Many, if not all of the mistakes made in SEA were avoided and our people went out and did the job the military was suppose to do ---Win the Conflict ----not the minds of the enemy. Imagine if you will flying the 11 days of Christmas of 72 in 68 or 69 using these concepts. I firmly believe that there would be fewer names on the wall today and the war would have been much shorter. But that is my opinion.

THe above is called leadership and I for one am very glad to see it is being brought back into the mainstream.

A footnote: I had two brass plaque signs in my office that I tried to live by. One said "Lead, Follow, or get out of the Way!!!!" and the second said "You LEAD people, You MANAGE assets". Both seemed to work just fine.

I know its long, but I feel it had to be said.


"For those who fought for it Freedom has a taste the protected will never know".

Unread postPosted: 28 Feb 2005, 22:26
by Gums

c'mon, Snake-breath!!! Chrissakes!

Tell the yutes about a Mig kill.

Go ahead and admit you ripppled off all the Sparrows and 'winders and got lucky 'cause the gomer just flew out in front.

Would still make a decent war story, IMHO.


Unread postPosted: 01 Mar 2005, 01:14
by Snake-1
In Order to Placate Gums.

It was the last trip up North before the bombing halt and the start of the 11 days of Christmas. My Gib and I were number 3 of a four ship escorting a 20 ship strike force (four ship echelon formations in trail with each other, five flight in a row) against a target near Hanoi. Our Escort flight was divided into elements flying on each side of the strtike force. Our element was on the south side of the strike force. The weasels were already in the target area and reporting marginal weather for the strike.

Shortly after we started our ingress Red Crown advised us of two MIG-21's south bound out of GIA LAM airport (Hanoi). Five minutes later the Crown came up again and advised us that the first two MIGs had turned west and two more were now airborne from GIA LAM following the same route and low altitude. After another couple of minutes the Crown advised us that the first two bandits had now turned North (towards us and the strike flight) with the remaining two MIGS following the same flight path. My GIB got a twitch on the radar and our element turned towards the threat, started a gradual descent, went to full military power and armed all systems with AIM 7's selected. The remaining escort element took over our position on the South side of the strike force to cover any other developing threat. We then lost the radar contact but Red Crown called bandits merging and the next thing we knew we had two Migs in trail going past and vertical on us. It seems that they decided that since we were only two birds and ten miles south of the rapidly departing strike force we were raw meat.

The next twelve minutes were a hand full of every BFM,ACT, and ACM maneuver in the book plus several changes of leads between us and 4 as the MIGs made maximum use of available cloud cover and tried to tempt us into a turning fight. Add to this the addition of the second two MIGS and it became very hairy as to who had who and when. About this time the MIG Killers from Udorn arrived and the odds changed rapidly in our favor.

I could hear from the calls of the Udorn Mig Killers that two of the four bandits were dispatched very quickly. About this time my GIB called out one of the remaining bandits going vertical at our eleven o clock position. I turned to that area spotted him and started tracking we tried for a quick lockup but were unsuccessful. So instead I pulled the trigger launching an aim 7 hoping that if the bandit saw it he would figure we had a lock and would try to evade the shot. If he evaded he only had one place to go and that was down. He did and swapped ends faster then I've ever seen anyone do as he came down through my climbing flight path he must have lost us in his overhead glare sheild and we rolled inverted and followed him down in full AB.

We lost him when he went through some low puffy clouds but caught up with him shortly thereafter. He must have thought he lost us because he wasn't exercising hard evasive maneuvers. Instead his interest changed to a parachute off to his (and our) right and he rolled out some of his bank to take a better look. I already had toggled the weapons switch to AIM 9 and started to get a growl stronger then a junk-yard dog. So I punched it off and it tracked right for him exploding either in or near the tail pipe with the MIG going inverted and starting down from about 3000'. At this point we got a "Break" call and I janked with all I had towards the west and never did see him go in.

Out of the four Migs that came up that day none made it home and all were shot down or crashed on landing. Since I didn't see the bandit crash into the ground I still question the credit because the Mig Killers from Udorn were really cleaning clock with the bad guys and there were five claims against four kills. My second concern that I really feel bad about is that during that long twelve minute encounter (eternity!!!!) my wingman, a totally superb pilot and GIB who was flying wing while I was engaged and having trouble locking up the target called a Lock on and asked permission to fire. In the heat of it all with all the internal and external chatter neither my GIB or I heard him and he missed what I would call a confirmed kill.

And finally, Gums is right, it was pure luck in getting the shot off but pure skill to last twelve minutes in a 2 vs 4 environment with a vastly superior turning aircraft until the calvary arrived. THe spooks told us afterwards that two of the MIG drivers were aces and the other two maturing air to air drivers.

Gums, you now owe me a drink.


Unread postPosted: 01 Mar 2005, 03:35
by JR007
Aim9-1, you didn't go to the Academy, back when it was "Bring Me Men" days, with Gums did you?

Gums, Are all your driver friends Missile Aces and Mig Killers?

Thanks for the story...

Unread postPosted: 01 Mar 2005, 03:49
by parrothead
Great stuff :D ! Please keep it coming!

Unread postPosted: 01 Mar 2005, 05:46
by TC
Well Snake, if you saw the 'winder explode in or near his tailpipe, and he rolled in at 3000 AGL, that works for me! 8) I also must say you are much more gracious about it than I would have been. I would have been like, "Hell yeah! No question, I got him! We came, we saw, we kicked his @$$!!!!" :mrgreen: But maybe that's just me.

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 01 Mar 2005, 07:26
by Snake-1

That's the exact way we did feel, and the certification board agreed that the kill was ours (and they had access to the spook files). But the fact remains that we didn't see him crash (and we told that to the board). I guess time has the habit of filing the fangs down a bit but it is still there and I've nursed some pretty beat up birds back to the barn after a rough day.

However, we did a lot of damage that day and dealt Charlie a hell of a blow by losing four of his own in sight of his own. We kept those four Mig away from the strike force for a long time, and if it wasn't for the Udorn birds coming to our aid we very likely might have ended up in the loss column instead of them. Coming home every bone, muscle, tendon, lungs, etc, etc, hurt like you cannot even begin to believe. And if anyone ever asked why I put 8 G's on the bird I would have told them cause I couldn't get any more out of her.

Maybe I'm just getting old.

But the gleam in the eye is still there.


Unread postPosted: 01 Mar 2005, 19:04
by Lieven
Fantastic reading Snake-1. I'm sure I'm not the only one if I say that I'm really glad you found your way to this board!

Unread postPosted: 01 Mar 2005, 21:10
by Gums
".... good men at your back"

Sorry J.R., I just had great timing and went to the right schools.

Snake ain't a Zoomie! We flew together in A-37's at Bien Hoa in 68.

I just happened to be at Korat in the SLUF when he got the kill. 'course, I later flew with the 34th when they checked out in the Viper. Was a 34th bird that I landed with the LEF broken/stuck up.

My friends include first zoomie Mig-killer, Snake-breath, several astronauts, a few chief's of staff, and all the heroes from my class like Ritchie, Richter, Lodge, Croker, etc. And ten POW's. So timing was everything. Also got my diploma handed to me by Curt LeMay!

I'll start a mud-beater thread soon, and maybe get some search-and-rescue types to chime in. Snake flew more air to mud than air to air, so he can back me up.

Unread postPosted: 01 Mar 2005, 22:42
by Snake-1
Thanks for the words Lieven

And yes folks, Gums did rub elbows with greatness!!!!

Since you got me started on this thread I've got to relate one of two of the grestest MIG Kills during the closing days of the conflict in SEA. It was flown by two more of the great crews of the 34th. One each Gordy Clouser with Cice Brunsom in the back and Charlie Barton with George Watson as the GIB. (So, robin-1 Cice was with us until later in 72 before he became a POW). On this day Gordy and Cice were number 3 and Charlie and George were number 4 in a Hunter Killer team with Numbers 1 and 2 being F-105s. THe hunters would find and suppress the SAMS and the Killers armed with large, heavy, and high drag CBU cannisters would go and kill the sites. THeir area of operation was primarily low altitude, trolling in a weave pattern with the Double Uglies operationing inside the THuds flight path because of the THud speed advantage and the drag disadvantage of the CBUs.

Paraphasing from the narrative in the USAF Document "Aces and Aerial Victories:

On ingress and still at altitude Disco warned the flight of approaching MIGs in the vicinity of Thai Nguyen. As prebriefed the Thuds cleared the area so that Gordy and Charlie could maneuver and engage the threatening MIGs. Gordy spotted a 21 sliding into a level seven o clock position, while Charlie saw a 19 in the Six o clock of the element getting ready to fire. Gordy called a hard left break and the element jettisoned all their air to ground ordnance and empty fuel tanks. The MIG followed with a little spacing between them and were getting ready to fire on Charlie who quickly rolled inverted pulled the nose straight down and went full burner. The MIG 19 pilot , with more fangs then smarts, followed him down, Gordy being a good wingman rolled in behind the 19 in the vertical dive and he was followed by the remaining 21. The sandwich is now an F-4, a MIG-19 chasing him, another F-4 closing on the 19, and a 21 closing on the F-4 all in a near vertical dive. With the rice paddies coming up quickly, Charlie waited until the last minute, yanked hard on the stick and bottomed out about 300' AGL. THe 19 stick was about a second to late in making his decision and drove that puppy straight into the ground. Gordy followed Charlies flight path and the 21 jock seeing the events unravelling rolled 180 degrees pulled back on his stick and, at MACH many, quickly got the hell out of Dodge. THe spooks later told Gordy and Charlie that the last words out of the 19 driver's mouth were loosely translated as "OH SH++!!!!!!!

Talk about superior airmanship and situational awaredness and downing a MIG by playing "Here, Kitty, Kitty"!!! without firing a shot is nearly unbelieveable.

And between September 2 and October 15 of 72 the 388th. got 9 MIGS and the 432nd up at Udorn got 8.

And it was grand!!!!!!


Unread postPosted: 02 Mar 2005, 03:21
by TC
Totally Awesome Snake! 8) I knew an Eagle Driver that got one of his kills by running a 29 into the dirt quite like that. I'm sure his last words were the Arabic equivalent to "Oh $hit!!" :lol:

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 02 Mar 2005, 04:12
by parrothead
Great stuff guys :D ! This is a really great thread! THANKS :thumb: !

Unread postPosted: 02 Apr 2005, 22:50
by AIr-Strike31
I agree with TC, Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded! but I still can't get over the fact that they actually took the cannons off the Phantom's The four-stars were convinced that the heavyweight F-4's would do best with just bombs and missiles...

Does anyone have any comments about this?


Unread postPosted: 03 Apr 2005, 04:30
by TC
Well, the Phantom started without cannons, which was a bad move. The name of the game pre-Vietnam was interception. BVR missiles would make dogfighting obsolete.

What was happening in Vietnam suprised some folks, and our guys used the SUU-16 and SUU-23 gun pods as a temporary fix.

Then, Mickey D built the E model with an internal cannon. It really helped the F-4 out, and our guys got quite a few guns kills with the M-61. I knew the man who made the last USAF A2A guns kill, not only in that war, but the last one to date. BGen(ret) Gary Rubus (was a Capt. at the time) downed a MiG-21 on 15 Oct 1972.

Apparently the brass learned their lesson, and we've had guns in our fighters ever since. Of course, only the Israelis have managed A2A guns kills with the Eagle. Perhaps someone can enlighten the class about A2A guns kills with the Viper.

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 06 Apr 2005, 08:55
by Snake-1
To add to TCs comments:

From Jan 1, 68 to the end of the conflict (WAR!!!) 9 Migs were downed by the gun (3 with the SUU pod and 6 with the internal cannon on the E), 33 Migs met their maker by means of the AIM-7, 10 bought it via the AIM-9, 2 by B-52 gunners with 50 caliber ball, 3 (early in 1968) by AIM-4s, and 4 by maneuvering. What is interesting is that from the start of 72 until the end of ops up north 7 kills were to the gun, 10 to the Sidewinder, and all 4 of the maneuvering tactic.

Of the Mig Killers of the Triple Nickel at Udorn Steve Richie got all 5 of his with the AIM-7, John Madden got 2 with the AIM-9 and 1 by maneuvering, Cal Tibbetts got 1 with a Sidewinder and 1 with the gun. Gary Retterbush (who was TDY with the 35th TFS to the 388 at Korat got 2 with the cannon.


Why don't you get Robin-1 to tell us of his kill on October 5, 72 when he took over lead from me because of a bad engine.


Unread postPosted: 06 Apr 2005, 16:49
by parrothead

Why don't you get Robin-1 to tell us of his kill on October 5, 72 when he took over lead from me because of a bad engine.


I know I'd like to hear that story :D !

Unread postPosted: 23 Jun 2005, 07:13
by grss1982
TC wrote:The guy I mentioned before, Col. Jack Broughton, was actually court-martialed, because two of his men strafed a ship in Haiphong Harbor (which as I recall at the time was off limits). What I don't recall is whether the ship shot at them first (I'm about 99.9% sure it did), but Col. Broughton destroyed the gun camera evidence. He was found not-guilty, but his career was over after that. It's a d@mn shame too, because he was one of the best Thud pilots we had, was an excellent leader, and as an aside, was a former Thunderbirds commander. Just goes to show, that if we hadn't had restricted targets, none of that would have been necessary. Pi$$ on Robert McNamara!

Beers and MiGs (and any other potential target) were made to be pounded!

Whoa!!! I read that one about the Haiphong strafing from one of Mark Berent's books, I think it was titled Rolling Thunder. However I never thuoght that ever happened for real. Tell me TC was that a Russian or a Chinese ship that was strafed?

OH, BTW kindda new here and this here is my first post, so be gentle, please.

Unread postPosted: 25 Jun 2005, 00:43
by TC
Aloha! Welcome aboard man!

I'm pretty sure it was a Chinese boat. Also, refer to Chuck Yeager's autobiography "Yeager". He was on Broughton's court martial panel. BTW, I like Mark Berent's books as well. He takes several of his own experiences and some other factual events, and makes them into fictional situations in his books.

Enjoy the site.

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 27 Jun 2005, 01:01
by grss1982
Talking about air tactics in the vietnam war, could anybody tell me if this story is true?

On it was a tiny Hmong village called Phu Pha Ti, a small garrison of Thai and Meo mercenaries for defense, a helicopter pad and ops shack for the CIA-owned Air America Airline, and the radar site, which was manned by "sheep-dipped" US Air Force enlisted men in civilian clothes. Both the US and NVN paid lip service to the fiction that Laos was a neutral country, and no foreign military were stationed there, when in reality we had a couple of hundred people spread over several sites, and NVN had thousands on the Ho Chi Minh trail in eastern Laos. This particular site was called Lima (L for Laos) Site 85. The fighter-bomber crews called it Channel 97 (the TACAN frequency), and all aircrews called it North Station, since it was the furthest north facility in "friendly" territory. Anywhere north of North Station was bad guy land.

The Channel 97 radar system was an old SAC precision bomb scoring radar which could locate an aircraft to within a few meters at a hundred miles. In this application, the strike force would fly out from Lima Site 85 a given distance on a given radial, and the site
operators would tell the strike leader precisely when to release his bomb load. It was surprisingly accurate, and allowed the strikes to be run at night or in bad weather. This capability was badly hurting the North Vietnamese war effort, so they decided to take out Lima
Site 85.

Because of the difficulty of mounting a ground assault on Lima Site 85, and its remote location, an air strike was planned. Believe it or not, the NVNAF chose biplanes as their "strike bombers!" This has to be the only combat use of biplanes since the 1930's. The aircraft used were Antonov designed AN-2 general purpose 'workhorse" biplanes with a single 1000hp radial piston engine and about one ton payload. Actually, once you get past the obvious "Snoopy and the Red Baron" image, the AN-2 was not a bad choice for this mission. Its biggest disadvantage is, like all biplanes, it is slow. The Russians use the An-2 for a multitude of things, such as medevac, parachute training, flying school bus, crop dusting, and so on. An AN-2 just recently flew over the North Pole. In fact, if you measure success of an aircraft design by the criteria of number produced and length of time in series production, you could say that the AN-2 is the most
successful aircraft design in the history of aviation!

The NVNAF fitted out their AN-2 "attack bombers with a 12 shot 57mm folding fin aerial rocket pod under each lower wing, and 20 250mm mortar rounds with aerial bomb fuses set in vertical tubes let into the floor of the aircraft cargo bay. These were dropped through holes cut in the cargo bay floor. Simple hinged bomb-bay doors closed these holes in flight. The pilot could salvo his bomb load by
opening these doors. This was a pretty good munitions load to take out a soft, undefended target like a radar site. Altogether, the mission was well planned and equipped and should have been successful, but Murphy's Law prevailed.

A three plane strike force was mounted, with two attack aircraft and one standing off as command and radio relay. They knew the radar site was on the mountaintop, but they did not have good intelligence as to its precise location, It was well camouflaged, and could not be seen readily from the air. They also did not realize that we had "anti-aircraft artillery" and "air defense interceptor" forces at the site. Neither did we realize this.

The AN-2 strike force rolled in on the target, mistook the Air America ops shack for the radar site, and proceeded to ventilate it. The aforementioned “anti-aircraft artillery” force- one little Thai mercenary about five feet tall and all balls- heard the commotion, ran out on the helicopter pad, stood in the path of the attacking aircraft spraying rockets and bombs everywhere, and emptied his AK-47 into the AN-2, which then crashed and burned. At this juncture, the second attack aircraft broke of and turned north towards home.

The "air defense interceptor" force was an unarmed Air America Huey helicopter which was by happenstance on the pad at the time, the pilot and flight mechanic having a Coke in the ops shack. When holes started appearing in the roof, they ran to their Huey and got airborne, not quite believing the sight of two biplanes fleeing north. Then the Huey pilot, no slouch in the balls department either, realized that his Huey was faster than the biplanes! So he did the only thing a real pilot could do-attack!

The Huey overtook the AN-2’s a few miles inside North Vietnam, unknown to the AN-2’s as their rearward visibility is nil. The Huey flew over the rearmost AN-2 and the helicopter’s down-wash stalled out the upper wing of the AN-2. Suddenly the hapless AN-2 pilot
found himself sinking like a stone! So he pulled the yoke back in his lap and further reduced his forward speed. Meanwhile, the Huey flight mechanic, not to be outdone in the macho contest, crawled out on the Huey’s skid and, one-handed, emptied his AK-47 into the cockpit area of the AN-2, killing or wounding the pilot and copilot. At this point, the AN-2 went into a flat spin and crashed into a moutainside, but did not burn.

It should come as no surprise that the Air America pilot and flight mechanic found themselves in a heap of trouble with the State Department REMF’s in Vientiane. In spite of the striped-pants
cookie-pushers' discomfort at (horrors!) an international incident (or perhaps, partly because of it) these guys were heroes to everybody in the theatre who didn't wear puce panties and talk with
a lisp. They accomplished a couple of firsts: (1) The first and only combat shootdown of a biplane by a helicopter, and (2) The first known CIA air-to-air victory. Not bad for a couple of spooks.

Communication with Headquarters was very good in Vietnam, and I learned of this incident within an hour or so of its happening, although I had no details. But the prospect of access to a North Vietnamese aircraft of any sort was very attractive to an intell type, so I grabbed my flyaway kit and headed for Udorn AFB in northern Thailand, where I knew I could get transport to the crash site from the Air Rescue and Recovery Service (ARRS), the Jolly Green
Giants. Sure enough, the next morning we headed for bad guy land with a flight of three Jolly Green Giants. The State Department geniuses had decided to cover their ample butts by having the
remains of the AN-2 airlifted down to Vientiane to put on display to an outraged world press, thus proving that North Vietnam had violated Laotian neutrality by sending armed aircraft against a peaceful civil airline facility. Yawn. The Air Force went along with it because it provided good cover for our intelligence operation. Of course, when State found out that I had gone in without saying Mother-may-I to them, they were really hot. But by then I had already gotten the goods we wanted, and what could they do to me? Fire me and send me to Vietnam?

We found the crashed AN-2 a few miles inside NVN. There were already some Meo mercenaries there led by a CIA field type, whose mission was to bag the crew's bodies and check to see if they were Russians. They weren't.

I actually found this on another forum. If I'm reading this right, an UH-1 helo did a number in an airplane! That would mean this is the first kill of a helo against a fixed wing aircraft!

Unread postPosted: 29 Jun 2005, 06:54
by danhutmacher
Hey TC. That boat was a russian boat and they fired first. But it went against the ROE for any attackon ships in the harbor.
COl. Broughton wrote a book called thud ridge in which he talks about the incident and the very stupid ROE that US pilots had to live under.

Unread postPosted: 30 Jun 2005, 03:08
by TC
Thanks for the clearification Dan. This Bud's for You! :beer:

...And the Russians still claim they didn't participate in the war. :roll:

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 30 Jun 2005, 03:37
by Dammerung
I honestly don't think they're lying much, they admitted to Korea, why not admit to Vietnam?

I read about that incident as well in "100 Missions North". Gotta hand it to Col. Broughton for saving his men at his own expense. And what's even more absurd is that yes, it did shoot first. ROEs in Vietnam were CRIMINAL...

Unread postPosted: 04 Jul 2005, 01:50
by danhutmacher
Yeah the russians claim that the didn't particapte in the war but it's pretty coomon knowledge that the manned the SA-2 sites in 1965 and then turned it over to the Vietnamese. What is less clear is what else they did in the war. But you can bet that they had a bigger role than we know.
What's a REAL shame about that war is the fact that we WON but had the politicans in Washington throw away that victory in jan '73 when they prohibted the US military from fighting in SEA and then cut aid to South Vietnam by up to 90% while the russiand and chinese kept right on and even increased thier aid to the North.
To All the Vietnam vets out there I salute you and GOD bless.

Unread postPosted: 09 Jul 2005, 03:35
by TC
Here's one for the "Where are they now?" column. I was wondering if anyone knows what became of the USAF's last ace, Jeffrey Feinstein? For those of you who are now raising questioning eyebrows, Jeffrey Feinstein was an F-4 WSO, flying out of Udorn, Thailand. In Oct., '72, Feinstein shot down a MiG-21 for his fifth kill, two months after Ritchie and DeBellevue became the first USAF aces of the war. Since he was a WSO, and built a kill total separate to the pilots he flew with (he gained his kills with more than one driver) history has seemed to pass over the great accomplishment of this man. Does anyone know what happened to him after the war, and what he is doing today? Any info is appreciated.

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 12 Jul 2005, 04:33
by JR007
Jeffrey Feinstein

Never heard of him, he was a passenger.

Brig. Gen. R. Steve Ritchie, retired is the last USAF ace. The General is a member of our team, and trust me, he is the last USAF ace.

Unread postPosted: 12 Jul 2005, 05:17
by TC
Ritchie is the last PILOT ace. DeBellevue became an ace after Ritchie, and wound up with a 6th kill. He later became a pilot, but became an ace while as a WSO. Feinstein became an ace after Ritchie and DeBellevue. His 5th and final kill was Halloween of '72. WSOs/RIOs are credited with kills, so Feinstein's 5 makes him an ace, no matter which Martin Baker Mk.H5 he happened to be occupying.

Does anybody at all have any info on what happened to this man after the war, and his whereabouts today? He is a face on the milk carton of aviation history, but he bagged 5 Gomers so he's A-OK in my book.

P.S. Gen. Ritchie flies with you guys now? Is he still flying the Phantom as well? Perhaps he knows what became of Feinstein.

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 12 Jul 2005, 05:46
by JR007


And as you say KILL MIGS!!!

Unread postPosted: 04 Oct 2005, 22:26
by busch
Snake-1 wrote:To add to TCs comments:

(clip) Gary Retterbush (who was TDY with the 35th TFS to the 388 at Korat got 2 with the cannon.

Someone call for help? Have gun, will travel!


Unread postPosted: 14 Oct 2005, 01:50
by Gums

Well, the Lima Site 85 stuff is veeeery interesting. Google the phrase and read lots.

I was flying the night the NV attacked for real and we heard a call on Guard that "85 was taking incoming".

Not a night later, we heard, "85 is going off the air".

I was flying night interdiction missions those days in my trusty A-37 over southern part of Steel Tiger (a Barents book, BTW) called Tigerhound. Barents also wrote a good one about LS85 called "Eagle Station".

Some of my Thud buddies got to shoot Bullpup missiles at the radar boxes due to sensitive stuff they contained. Most likely, the gomers got the goodies first..... I only met one guy who was there, and he was TDY when the attack came.

Steve Ritchie and I flew in Pilot Indoctrination Training togehter in 1963. Was a good deal, as we got 12 syllabus missions in the Tweet. Next year was a cakewalk for us, as we knew all the boldface, knew the pre-flight, weren't intimidated by the nose hose and chute, and we could fly the jet!! My IP asked me what I wanted to do for my first flight. I asked if we could practice for my first checkride, heh heh.

Saw Steve at our class reunion last Oct. Before that, got a pic of us at local airshow.

Gums sends..........

Unread postPosted: 14 Oct 2005, 16:08
by LWF
The MiGs weren't piloted by idiots, in fact many of their pilots were better then ours because the commies didn't have a 100 mission rotation, or 1 year rotation, they stayed for a while and kept improving, but you are right about the F-4 being sub par. And the Thuds didn't do well against the MiGs when the MiGs were waiting for them, because they were sluggish and unmaneuverable and slow, which is why one pilot came up with Mission Bolo, he had his F-4s equipped with ECM pods that mimicked the electronic signature of a Thud, so when the MiGs came expecting easy meat they got something that could fight back, 7 MiGs were confirmed killed that day and at least 1 more probable kill, the most successful day for the USAF.


Unread postPosted: 14 Oct 2005, 17:45
by busch
[quote="LWF"](clip) And the Thuds didn't do well against the MiGs when the MiGs were waiting for them, because they were sluggish and unmaneuverable and slow, (clip)

You obviously have never flown a Thud! Even today, there is nothing that will outrun a Thud on the deck! Been there, done that.

Also, please remember the Thud was designed to deliver a Nuke and not to flight MiGs.

RE: Slow???

Unread postPosted: 15 Oct 2005, 00:14
by TC
Love the Thud, and I'd love to hear some of your stories from flying the Thud. It's still one of the best bomb trucks we've ever had. However, if this were circa-1967, and we were flying over Hanoi, I wouldn't wanna be yanking and banking with a MiG-17 in the Thud. Something that doesn't thrill me about being jumped from behind, being forced to punch my bombs early, and make a run for it.

Now, if I'm in a footrace with a MiG-17, and/or I have no bombs, and I can see him before he sees me? D@mn right, gimme an Ultra Hog any day!

To Err is Human. To Forgive is Not ACC Policy.

Re: RE: Slow???

Unread postPosted: 15 Oct 2005, 08:01
by busch
TC wrote:(clip)However, if this were circa-1967, and we were flying over Hanoi, I wouldn't wanna be yanking and banking with a MiG-17 in the Thud. Something that doesn't thrill me about being jumped from behind, being forced to punch my bombs early, and make a run for it.(clip)

Now we are getting into ROE's and other such political driven things. I don't want to get on my soapbox about that! Too many great pilots and planes paid the supreme price for that!

BTW, just to establish my credibility, I did a tour in the Thud ('66) and one in Double Ugly ('72).


Unread postPosted: 15 Oct 2005, 19:47
by LWF
Let me clarify, I had read and heard that when the Thuds were loaded full of ordanance that they were sluggish and had to drop munitions early to escape, and also I meant if the MiGs were in the air and met the Thuds more or less head on that the Thuds wouldn't do well. Correct me if I'm wrong.
And in my opinion the Nuke just about ruined the AF, because suddenly "we don't need fighters because they can't drop nukes, we only need interceptors to stop people from dropping nukes on us, we don't need bombers, we need nuclear bombers to drop nukes" we lost focus on conventional war which was the most likely and focused on the least likely form of warfare.

Unread postPosted: 15 Oct 2005, 20:15
by busch
Yes, you heard right, the Thud was not a great turning machine especially when loaded with more bombs than the B-17 carried. BTW, have you ever seen a pair of 3000 pounders go off? Awesome!

As with any aircraft one must exploit the good things in aerial combat. Make him play your game. That can be difficult when you are forced to fly the same darn route every day at the same time to the same target! (and you give copies of the frag to the bad guys)

Had we used a few Thuds to hit their airfields from day one, there wouldn't have been MiG's to content with!

I'm getting on my soapbox so I'll stop.

Unread postPosted: 16 Oct 2005, 04:03
by Gums

Well, I'm not afraid to talk about ROE.

But first, remember that some Thud jocks got the first kills, and they did it using their gun. If the Mig overshot and the Thud was already "clean", then that cannon was handy.

I also liked their saying at the Korat O-club, "We'll go in at 600 and come out FAST!" Heh heh. One of our yutes at Hill tried to run down a Thud from the 466th one day. At about 740 indicated, his Viper was pressing the limits, and he wisely abandoned the chase.

The thing you yutes must realize is that it's too easy to generalize about that FUBAR war. So take the long view, and then try to separate out the good from the bad and the stupid and the political.

We learned a lot, and the Viper and Eagle came out of it. I can't completely explain the Warthog, but lottsa folks wanted a replacement for the Skyraider and Hun, and it had to be cheap. Guess our A-37 experience helped a bit there, but I would still have taken the SLUF most places, as I prolly wouldn't have to go back. Our Thud guys liked the plane, and they often stated that a lot less Thuds would've been lost if they had had our bombing system.

We also gained many training benefits as a direct result of 'nam, like the Aggressors and really low low-level nav routes, and Red Flag/Green Flag. And another coded exercise you can look up.

I believe the Thud would've done well in Desert Storm, especially with an A-7 or F-16 bombing system.

Oh well, we can go on with this thread as long as folks are interested. And we really need some Storm and Freedom guys to chime in.


Let's go fast!

Unread postPosted: 16 Oct 2005, 07:45
by busch
Gums wrote:(clip)
I also liked their saying at the Korat O-club, "We'll go in at 600 and come out FAST!" Heh heh. One of our yutes at Hill tried to run down a Thud from the 466th one day. At about 740 indicated, his Viper was pressing the limits, and he wisely abandoned the chase.


I have had the Thud at 835 knots at 30-50 feet over the Med and Lybian desert. Makes a neat rooster tail!

BTW, I never once jettisoned bombs in the Thud because of MiG's.


Unread postPosted: 16 Oct 2005, 19:16
by Gums

Some other stuff to consider......

The Viper was designed to hassle subsonic (0.85M was optimum), and variable intake ramps and such to enable mach 2+ weren't part of the deal. So it could, did and still can gain energy real quickly. Or, use the excess energy to turn better at a constant mach, or climb. Right outta Boyd and Riccione and Suter's playbook.

So demontrating this to student studly on his first solo, we start at 400 KIAS and about 4500 feet MSL (maybe 500 feet above the desert). Full burner, then pull a nice, comfortable 3 gee turn in level flight for 90 degrees. Wanna guess airspeed rolling out? How about 700 KIAS. Now the Thud and Double Ugly would be left behind..... for awhile. After a coupla minutes the Thud would pull on by and cheerfully wave.

only thing in 'nam I knew that had a good acceleration like that was the Mig-21. 'course, he could only do that for 30 seconds before BINGO. OTOH, the Thud, 'vaark and even the VooDoo recce bird could sit there in mil just at the mach for a long, long time.

Second, there's nothing wrong with running. Ya gotta know when to hold'em, know when to fold'em, know when to walk away, know when to....... A dear friend paid big time by sticking to a Mig despite many calls to bug out/break off, etc. And ask Ritchie about that, as we both knew the poor soul.

You can also use the "extension" to gain energy, then pitch back into the fight if the scenario is appropriate.

Lastly, I wouldn't look at 'nam as the best use of airpower or of dogfighting tactics, especially until 1972. OTOH, look at the Storm for some numbers and tactics. Look at the F-16 Bomb Comp in Scotland. Look at the Bekke Valley fracas. Keep in mind that what we learned in 'nam was what the 'fighter mafia' harped on. And we got the Eagle and Viper, plus a slew of improvements in training concepts.

gotta bug out.......

Unread postPosted: 17 Oct 2005, 01:10
by LWF
I've heard about those 3000 pounders, and when they go off :twisted: but what were they normally used against? My book on the Thuds doesn't say, it just said if you dropped them one at a time your plane would flip over or something.

Unread postPosted: 17 Oct 2005, 08:40
by busch
LWF wrote:I've heard about those 3000 pounders, and when they go off :twisted: but what were they normally used against? My book on the Thuds doesn't say, it just said if you dropped them one at a time your plane would flip over or something.

They were used on many targets, especially bridges. They would have been great to make punchboards out of MiG airfields.

Yeap, if only one released you did a beautiful snap roll! Happened to me once. An exciting few seconds for sure when you are going rapidly downhill near min pullout altitiude. Frankly, it happened VERY rarely. But then, once can spoil your day. :wink:

Unread postPosted: 18 Oct 2005, 02:57
by TC
Busch, were you ever part of one of the strikes on the Paul Doumer Bridge? I have a buddy who was a Thud driver (now a drone pilot) who put a few rounds through that pesky piece of architechture.

To Err is Human. To Forgive is Not ACC Policy.

Unread postPosted: 18 Oct 2005, 08:17
by busch
TC wrote:Busch, were you ever part of one of the strikes on the Paul Doumer Bridge? I have a buddy who was a Thud driver (now a drone pilot) who put a few rounds through that pesky piece of architechture.

To Err is Human. To Forgive is Not ACC Policy.


Unread postPosted: 18 Oct 2005, 22:25
by Person
busch wrote:Someone call for help? Have gun, will travel!


Would it be tactless to ask you to ask you for a first hand account of your two MIG-21 victories in Vietnam?

If not, I'm sure the members of the board, including myself, would appreciate the opportunity to hear about it.


Unread postPosted: 19 Oct 2005, 05:29
by TC
Oh good call Person. We REALLY LIKE reading about AA kills on this site! :wink:

Two with a cannon Busch? That's old school amigo! Very Sierra Hotel. 8)

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!


Unread postPosted: 19 Oct 2005, 09:42
by busch
Person wrote:Would it be tactless to ask you to ask you for a first hand account of your two MIG-21 victories in Vietnam?

If not, I'm sure the members of the board, including myself, would appreciate the opportunity to hear about it.


Okay, but only if you buy the first round! :wink:

I now realize how darn long ago that was. The old brain cells need a kick start. I've been living in Germany for almost 30 years and I very rarely BS about the old days of wine and roses. The few old German pilots I know would rather talk about ME 109's and FW 190's.

Anyway, here they are:

MiG 21 Kill #1: 12 Sept 1972

I was the number 3 man in Finch flight which was led by LTC Beckers. We were part of a large strike package going into the general area of Hanoi. The strike force was jumped by several MiG’s who came from high and behind and dove down thru us. Of course they fired missiles as they came. It was a rather chaotic time!

During the maneuvering that followed, our flight broke and we split up into two 2 ship elements. I was behind a MiG21 and my backseater got a good lock on. Conditions were excellent; almost text book. I fired 2 AIM-7’s which did not guide. They simply went ballistic. I continued to close and got a good lock-on for the AIM-9’s. I ended up firing 3 of them but the either did not guide or the proximity fuse did not function. The last missile went right by the cockpit and got the MiG pilot’s attention! He broke and I followed. I was able to get in position for using the gun and fired a couple of bursts. They impacted on the left wing near the junction with the fuselage. The MiG started to burn almost at once. I was now closing too fast and did a high speed yo-yo which once again put me in position to fire another burst. These impacted in and around the cockpit and the aircraft went into a pitch up. I could see the pilot slumped forward in the cockpit. The aircraft then stalled and snapped down as I went past it. The MiG was observed to continue burning until it impacted the ground in a cloud of smoke.

MiG 21 Kill #2: 8 Oct 1972

I was the leader of Lark flight, a flight of 4 F-4 E’s flying cover for a flight of 4 F-4D’s on a bombing mission near Yen Bai Airfield. I was also the mission leader of this very small strike package. After we completed our refueling on the ingress route, one of my fighter aircraft had a problem and I sent him and a wingman home. Under the ROE’s at that time I should have aborted the mission since I only had 2 fighter planes but I chose to continue the mission. As we approached the fence, Red Crown warned us that a MiG was scrambling and it was probably for us. As we continued inbound, Red Crown followed the MiG’s progress and it was indeed coming our way. It was almost like a GCI in reverse. After some time he said the MiG was at our 10:30 high and sure enough my backseater, Bob Jasperson, pointed out a silver glint in the sun as he turned down on us. I called a “hijack” and had the fighters jettison their tanks and go burner as we turned into the MiG. A few seconds later I had the bomber flight break as the MiG came closer. The MiG dove down trying to follow the breaking bombers and I was on his tail but at a very high angle off. I fired 2 AIM-9’s but did not expect them to guide as the angle off was far beyond the limits. They went ballistic. I then jettisoned the rest of the missiles including the AIM-7’s. I was yelling for Bob to give me a caged sight as the recticle was completely off of the windscreen due to the angle and the G’s. He got it locked and I very quickly did a little Kentucky windage, pulled the pipper way out in front and high and fired a short burst. To my pleasant surprise it impacted the MiG in the fuselage near the left wing and it immediately burst into flames. The pilot did not hesitate at all and ejected. Then came an even bigger surprise; he had a beautiful pastel pink parachute! I circled him one time and then regrouped the flight for our trip home. The whole thing was visible from the tower at Yen Bai if anyone was in it at that time. The entire fight was around a minute or two. Upon checking the ammo after landing, I found I had fired only 96 rounds and that included the exciter burst which was probably about the half. I was extremely pleased as I had a gun camera for this mission (not all birds had them) and it had checked out good going in. When I removed the film pack it looked like it had functioned correctly. I gave it to the gun camera guys and told then to really take care in developing it. About an hour later they came with the results: great film but all of it flying straight and level after the refueling. The camera apparently continued to run after I fired the exciter burst and all of the film was used long before the fight began. So, I did not have the great film I had hoped for!


Unread postPosted: 20 Oct 2005, 00:49
by TC
Who says the Crusader drivers were "The Last of the Gunfighters"? Heh heh! Awesome stuff Busch! You can say that you did something that even Olds, Ritchie, and Cunningham didn't do, achieve kills with a cannon. My first Wing King after tech school, BGen(ret) Gary Rubus was the last AF driver to get a guns kill.

Another question I had was, when you were a Thud driver, what was the nickname of your jet? Tell me you flew "Pussy Galore 2" (or you at least have a good story about her) and you'll make my year! :lol:

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 20 Oct 2005, 07:42
by TenguNoHi
Vietnam musta been the golden age for any jet jockie. Nice story, I love hearing nam stories. A friend of mine has a step dad who flew thuds in nam and got two guns kills. Maybe you know him, Ill try and find out his name...

Welcome to the site Busch,


Re: RE: MiG

Unread postPosted: 20 Oct 2005, 09:05
by busch
TC wrote:(clip)
Another question I had was, when you were a Thud driver, what was the nickname of your jet? Tell me you flew "Pussy Galore 2" (or you at least have a good story about her) and you'll make my year! :lol:

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Have to disappoint you on that one. Sorry! Most of the birds were simply tail numbers at that time.

Unread postPosted: 20 Oct 2005, 09:07
by busch
TenguNoHi wrote:Vietnam musta been the golden age for any jet jockie. Nice story, I love hearing nam stories. A friend of mine has a step dad who flew thuds in nam and got two guns kills. Maybe you know him, Ill try and find out his name...

Welcome to the site Busch,


That almost had to be Max Brestel. As I recall he is the only Thud driver who got two with the gun. Darn fine work!!!!

Unread postPosted: 20 Oct 2005, 21:21
by MKopack
busch wrote:That almost had to be Max Brestel. As I recall he is the only Thud driver who got two with the gun. Darn fine work!!!!

Dave Waldrop had two guns kills on a single mission (one from 'under Robin Olds nose') but was credited with one (officially). He now flies F-104's with the Starfighters (

By the way, Dave's gunsight was out on the mission...

JR, give us some more details, son...

Unread postPosted: 20 Oct 2005, 22:36
by TenguNoHi
Dave Waldrop had two guns kills on a single mission (one from 'under Robin Olds nose') but was credited with one (officially). He now flies F-104's with the Starfighters (

By the way, Dave's gunsight was out on the mission...

Now thats Sierra Hotel. With as much painstaking work you pilots in Nam had to go through to get a kill, I'm going to feel terrible if I end up with Raptors one day and all I do is push buttons 50 miles away without after thought. Seriously though, Nam pilots must be my favorite generation. I love hearing you guys tell stories. Busch as soon as I talk to my friend on the phone again (we live in different states) ill find out his step dads name for ya.


Unread postPosted: 21 Oct 2005, 00:20
by TC
Don't feel bad Tengu. Any fighter jock will tell you a kill is a kill. As long as you can put that star on your jet, you've done something. All pilots with kills get street cred in the aviation circle. All the drivers in my squadron that had kills were known. Even 7 years (at the time) after ODS, guys who came in TDY knew who the MiG killers in my squadron were, and we knew who the MiG killers who came in TDY (Vietnam and ODS) were.

If/when you get one, you will make your bones amigo.

I'll find out who flew "Pussy Galore 2" yet. :wink: The best looking boom receptacle ever!

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 21 Oct 2005, 18:14
by TenguNoHi
I'll find out who flew "Pussy Galore 2" yet. The best looking boom receptacle ever!

Haha, TC, your passions in life are so questionable. But thanks for the remarks on the kills. I guess before I do any of that though I have to pick up a pilot slot first. Hopefully artificial rat brains (see another thread) wont be picking them up first!


Unread postPosted: 22 Oct 2005, 05:23
by Person
Busch thanks for relating your experiences. Would you say your experience with guidance/fusing failures was typical of the earlier AIM-9s and -7s?

Unread postPosted: 22 Oct 2005, 09:22
by busch
Person wrote:Busch thanks for relating your experiences. Would you say your experience with guidance/fusing failures was typical of the earlier AIM-9s and -7s?

Typical of poor quality control and adherence to tech orders and procedures by the weapons folks. No one had been firing them until we got there and they had been "pencil whipping" a lot of stuff. Download and upload and that filled the block instead of actually running them thru the shop. That changed pretty quickly when they found out we were serious about shooting their works of art.

I did some of the early test firings at Holloman/White Sands under some pretty on the edge limitations and not a single one failed to work. I had great faith in them until I got to VN. After the first engagements, I was happy to get rid of the drag.

Unread postPosted: 30 Oct 2005, 20:48
by TenguNoHi
Busch, the pilot was Col. "Buddy" Barner. I talked to him on the phone today. Great guy! Has some real stories to tell. I made a mistake though, just one kill was a guns kill. Second one was attributed to an Aim-9.


Unread postPosted: 03 Nov 2005, 01:43
by Snake-1
Been a while and a half since I was last up on this frerq. so I thought I'd add a few cents worth to some of the threads offered.

First to GUMS

You missed a great reunion of the "Combat Dragons in Dallas because of Katrina. The folks in Dallas did a great job of welcoming us. I refer back to my 4/6/05 thread (page 4) about getting ROBIN1 to tell us of his kill on 10/5/72 after I aborted bacause of a bad engine. How about lighting a fire under him on the subject????

For blackripper87 entry of 9/28/05

I embrace LWF's comment and would add:

THe double ugly was the best we had at the time and even better after installing the gun, better missiles (and maintenance of them) and the big kicker, dedicated DACT. While still restricted by stupid ROE or mission planning restrictions from Washington our kill rate went up significantly after these improvements. And if you took the fight up high and worked in the vertical the playing field was leveled out somewhat. THe next variable to a successful fight was the guy behind the stick. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, don't ever underestimate your enemy. The NVA pilots were DAMN good at employing their aircraft and tactics to their advantage and were very adaptable to changes in our tactics. A case in point and indication of this would be a recent TV presentation of Randy Cunningham's successes on either the History or Military channels. If as you indicate that the double ugly was that bad, or the MIG pilots were below par, he should have lost (espically on 4 and 5) but came out the winner against a better aircraft. Conclusion -----a better guy at the stick!!!!

Closer to home on our lucky day, my wingman and I held off FOUR MIG 21s for twelve minutes before help arrived and saved our bacon. And I am no where near Randy's or Steve's stature. We were later told that two of those Migs had aces at the stick. None of them made it back to the barn that day. Conclusion 2 -----Even if you have (as you say) a second rate aircraft if you are alert and practice what you were taught you can still put up a good, or even winning fight.

For LWR on his 10/14/05 thread.

Late in my flying days I had the privilege of becoming a Wild Weasel and was responsible for transitioning the Thud pilots into the F-4G. From them I learned a number of war stories and doctrines with the primary one being go in fast, work fast, and come out faster. Their throttle was nudging min burner from in-gress at the Black until egress with frequent trips into full burner.

On Hunter (F-105G's) Killer (F-4E's) teams going north the tactics were a combat weave with the Thuds flying a much wider weave just so the F-4's could keep up with them, flying their weave inside the Thuds, at the speeds they needed to stay alive. I think BUSCH will agree with me that if you put a Thud on the deck at full burner color it GGGGOOOONNNNEEEEE!!!!!!

One story told to me was that in the late 60's the Thuds were doing the lions share of mud moving in the north against silver MIGs of all varieties. One of the wings was tasked with a max go north and was short one aircraft. Irt just happens that a new Thud had arrived the previous day but was not painted in the camo livery as yet. The Wing CO decided it had to make the mission so he assigned one of the oldest, boldest jocks to it. So off they go with Blue Four sparkling in the sun. They refueled, ingressed, and headed in the direction of Hanoi, heating up the weapons as they went. At the target, in goes the lead followed by all including Blue Four. After delivery and pull off the lead flights would swing around and cover their mates on their deliveries. In goes tail end Blue Four, pickles off his load, unloads, goes full burner, switches to guard frequency and announces, " I'm a silver Thud heading west at a thousand miles an hour!!!!" just so he wouldn't be mistaken for a MIG. The rest of the strike flight pulled up behind him on the tanker ten minutes later where he had already refueled and was sitting on the tankers wing. That Thud was painted properly that night. Conclusion 3, The grand old Thud was anything but slow.


Did you know "Sweet Jesus" Cleveland???? He was my best man at our wedding and still a very good friend.

In General

GUMS and BUSCH are absolutely right. We had so many restrictions in either tactics or ROE during the war that there were times where the mission commanders would just say "Screw it!!!!!" because of the stupidity of the Ops Orders or required Routing. The stringent SAC rule within the B-52 fleet of flying the same route, at the same interval timing, using the same exit corridor, well above the chaff corridor cost too many young brave souls needlessly because the SAC brasss did not want to work with either their knowledgeable guys of with thoise that had been there.

I know I'm talking to a whole differnt generation of snake eaters that con't even begin to understand the geniune trash we were saddled with and then told to go and do the job. I feel that these limitations caused more deaths then any of the handicaps of adequate training or inferior equipment. Your Generals of today were there and took the lessons learned to heart.


I sure wish we had the Eagle and Viper back then. But we were still limited to round dials, questionable INS's, and dumb munitions. Even with that, and the restrictive limitations we had, I'm fairly certain we would have cleaned their clocks day one, had we had the equipment you now have. I thought the F-4 was a fantastic state of the art fighting machine (and still do --for that period) until I witnessed a portion of the USAF flyoff between the Viper and Hornet. While at Luke I saw the the simulanteous brake release of a clean F-4 and F-16. The Viper was airborne before the Phantom reached the 1000 foot marker, completed a loop, pass the F-4 and started a second loop as the F-4 reached the 2000 foot marker. AS the F-4 became airborne the Viper was completing a third loop and joined on the Phantom wing. THis was a striking example to me as how far we had come in the short four years since the end of the war in SEA. It also made me feel very, very, old in my fighter knowledge of tactics and capabilities. I can only imagine what it must be like today.

Unread postPosted: 03 Nov 2005, 05:49
by TC
Welcome Back Snake! So right on you are about the leap in technology. I remember an old Rhino jock that was in the Wing at Tyndall, Col. Dick Anderegg, (who is now the Chief AF Historian) talking about when he transitioned from the Rhino to the Eagle. He stated that he had flown two tours in Vietnam in the F-4, and had been an IP and FWS instructor in the Rhino. However, he went on to say that after just 7 flights in the Eagle, he was deadlier than he had ever been in the F-4. Truly amazing.

Snake, could you appease us with some of your stories as a Weasel? I assume this was after the war, but still, getting down and dirty, and playing chicken with a SAM radar is definitely the epitome of cool...well, next to killing MiGs anyway. Speaking of which, what was the date of your MiG kill?

Oh yes, and perhaps you could answer my question from a few pages back, and tell me what became of Jeffrey Feinstein, the AF's last ace. Since he wasn't a pilot, I don't feel like he ever really got his due.

I know, question overload...sorry. But, enquiring minds want to know!

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 03 Nov 2005, 20:47
by Snake-1

Good to be back.

To answer yours in reverse order.

Have no idea what ever happened to Jeff. I think I saw him offering his rendition of some of his engagements in a "Wings" or History Channel presentation of "Mig Killers" a couple of months ago.

Date of our kill (Billy Diehl was in the pit, and later a hellava Viper stick) was October 15, 72. Three of those were downed by Udorn birds, and ours out of Korat.

On Weaselling. If you want War stories I can only give you one and that would be of a Hunter-Killer team out of Korat who downed a MIG 19 in the thick of Sam Suppression with an over the shoulder shot.

I can tell you that the than new F-4G (1978) with its super-duper detection devices was head and shoulders above what was in either the G THud or the F-4Cs. THe old systems would only give you an azimuth of the threat so you would then have to track that azimuth to find his range visually (a real game of "Here, Kitty, Kitty"). Using these old systems the Weasel crews would get into the target areas well ahead of the strike forces, place themselves in strategic locations for that particular strike, and then troll for the SAMS daring them to come. When the SAMs did come up the closest Weasels would attempt to engage and destroy or force them to shut down. Marry this to AGM-45 (short range) and 78 (Long Range) which would only home on the SAM site as long as it was transmitting (if the site went down the missile went ballistic with little probability of kill) and you can see the need for big brass ones of the guys doing the mission.

During my tour they started marrying an element of F-4Es of our wing to an element of 105-G to form a hunter killer team armed with 45s and 78s on the Thuds and CBU cannisters on the Phantom. The plan was to either suppress or find the Sam sites with the Thud and then destroy it all with the CBU cannisters. Two disadvantages with this, and both against the F-4, was the speed disadvantage which was further compounded by the high drag of the CBU Cans. Therefore the weave I've already talked about in an earlier thread.

When the F-4G came along the detection system not only gave you range and azimuth it also identified on a moving map other threats in the area and would then store the primary threats you wanted to counter in memory, updating range and bearing as you went along. THis could be accomplished well outside the threat area, determine your targets, go down to the deck at 500 plus at 50 feet and pop when you get in range for a kill shot. This really worked great when going against a 23-4 or 6 or 8. If you could surprise them you had a good chance of beating the dirty rotten commie rat finks. Additionally, when we added AGM 65s to the possible muntions we doubled our capabilities. When we tried these new systems, tactics and munitions up on the Nellis and Fallon Electronic warfare ranges even the old Thud drivers and Bears (electronic warfare officer in the pit) said we had a real winner.

I really don't have any info on the new Viper CJ version or the D model but I can tell you that I've got a lot of respect for those CJ drivers doing the work of two in a combat situation. That's got to be a hellava job. Hopefully the two man D model will be even a bigger threat to the bad guys.

The real key (in my time) to a successful Weasel operation was the Bear in the back seat. He was the heart and sould of the whole operation and you were just the chauffeur to get him there and back.

As far as books go there are several out there but the one that comes to immediate recall is "First In - Last Out" available at either or at Borders.

Unread postPosted: 03 Nov 2005, 21:24
by Person
An understatement but the number of individuals that logged combat time in this thread is impressive not even mentioning that there is two bonafide Mig Killers here as well.

I don't know if it's feasible but if Busch and Snake-1 would like to give an interview it'd be a great addition to

Unread postPosted: 04 Nov 2005, 00:49
by Snake-1

You are forgetting Robin1.

Unread postPosted: 04 Nov 2005, 04:27
by johnqhitman
Aaron, looking for the name of the pilot of Pussy Galore or already know him?

Unread postPosted: 04 Nov 2005, 04:37
by MagicWorker93

I worked with Lt Col Feinstein regularly in the late 80s. If memory serves, he was assigned to the 507th TACCS/Combat Plans. I had the pleasure of supporting 31 BLUE FLAG exercises throughout the 80s and early 90s. Every CENTAF scenario brought the CENTAF staff and the 507th to Hurlburt Fld and Lt Col Feinstein was always among the "Player" staff.

I was unaware of his Vietnam service until I began studying the war. I never got to ask him about his experiences but wish that I had.

My father flew Airlift C-130s in Vietnam for 2 tours, and a third tour flying Rescue out of Thailand. He is my hero!

I also served on the SouthCom Counterdrug staff under Col "Fang" Sonnenberg. I heard a number of stories about him as an F4 WSO, then as an F15 pilot.

I retired in 1998 after 22.5 years in the Air Force, had a great career that included the privilege of serving in Desert Shield/Storm.

In closing, thank you Vietnam Veterans! Welcome home, job well done!

Unread postPosted: 04 Nov 2005, 06:43
by TC
Bienvenido Magic! Being with Blue Flag would have placed you at Eglin. I'm about an hour down the road from Eglin, at Tyndall. Could you tell us a little more about yourself, and what you did in your career?

Glad to hear that Feinstein finished his career, and is apparently alive and well. Would still love to pick his brain on the subject of killing MiGs.

Snake, I see on the chronological list of MiG kills in 'Nam, that you got your kill right after my former C/C (Gary Rubus) got his. I remember him telling me (and you confirmed in your last post) that he was flying out of Udorn on that mission, but were you and he in the same area when you got your kills? Gen. Rubus was a very reserved man, and I had to wait until a few beers into the conversation to get him to spit more than two words about it.

Well, it's off to pop open a Mickey Light. Hasta Luego!

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 04 Nov 2005, 16:42
by Snake-1

The only four MIGS (21s) that came up that day were all in the same acre of sky with venon dripping from their fangs until Gary and the rest of the Calvary from Udorn arrived with bigger and sharper fangs.


Unread postPosted: 05 Nov 2005, 03:01
by TenguNoHi
No John, Col. Barner scored 2 mig kills in Vietnam. He was a Thud pilot and I mentioned him because Busch flew Thuds. As small of a community it is in one air frame I brought him up under the assumption they may have known one another...


Unread postPosted: 05 Nov 2005, 05:03
by johnqhitman
I was helping a friend of mine who was AFROTC doing research on how Nam changed the AF and we came across the story of Pussy Galore I and Pussy Galore II. Nose art, wish it could come back in the AF.

Unread postPosted: 13 Nov 2005, 09:00
by FoxFour
Man, I'm a latecomer to this thread, but what a read!

Snake1 - based on the snippets of info in your posts, I think I've figured out your identity from the MiG killers list, but ain't revealing it to respect your anonymity online. More war stories, please!!

FYI, several sources, including Don Logan's book about the 388th TFW at Korat state that Cecil Brunson and his AC Myron Young were downed 12 Oct 72 in a MiG-killer F-4E by a MiG-21. Bummer, those MiG-killer jets deserved to have survived the war.

TC - some Thud decal sheets identify the pilot of both Pussy Galore I and II as Cpt (now Col) Victor Vizcarra. Matter of fact I have a pic of PG II in a Thud book from the perspective that matters most - the boomer's view with the "receptacle" open (or spread! :wink: ). Shall I post it, or has political correctness pervaded this site too...?

Unread postPosted: 13 Nov 2005, 16:47
by johnqhitman
Colonel Vizcarra rarely had to buy drinks at the O-Club for that. The Boom operators loved him and when ever he came in for fuel it was announced and everyone on board who was free would rush back to look. Sadly he had to remove PGII's art-work for political reasons.

Unread postPosted: 13 Nov 2005, 19:48
by TC
Fox Cuatro, by all means...POST THE PIC!!!

PC? On THIS site? With this group of booze-gulping GIs? Surely you jest. :wink:

Post the pic dude. Post the pic.

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 13 Nov 2005, 20:10
by Snake-1
At the request of Foxfour here is the Mig kill that started the 9 kills for the 388th.

It was a Hunter killer mission (F-105G Weasels and F-4E killers) flown by two of the best and bravest guys I have ever had the privilege to know, Ed ("Sweet Jesus") Cleveland (in the Thud), and Jon (Luke) Lucas in the double ugly. These are two of the three guys that I'd gladly fly blue 4 to hell and back with no questions asked. Both, true leaders in every sense of the word.

It was Sept, 2, 72 in the vicinity of Phuc Yen airfield , right in the center of SAM country with the Thud element hunting for SAMs who were dumb enough to come up and the Phantoms doing thier weave inside the Thuds flight path waiting for a "Tally" from the Weasels so they could expend on a target. About half way through their time on target a MIG 19 slipped around behind the number two Thud at Mach many and hossed off a Atoll that narrowly missed the left wing of the Thud by about 20 feet. Number two crammed the bird into a hard right turn and neatly escaped becoming a member of the Hanoi Hilton. The Mig then made the fatal mistake of pressing the attack on Ed's THud who also accomplished a hard right turn breaking the Migs tracking who then broke off the attack, went inverted over the top of Luke's Phantom and headed east away from the fight. Ed called out the Mig to Luke, who in an over the shoulder quick glance spotted the Mig closing from Luke's four o clock position, cross over his canopy, and reverse course to a left descending turn. Luke turned to follow the escaping MIG, called for an "auto acq" from his GIB (Doug Malloy) , waited the required 4 seconds for missile lock-up, and then squeezed the trigger launching a AIM-7. In the same split second Luke and his GIB spotted a SAM tracking them and they had to start evasive maneuvers to negate the SAM successfully. When the SAM went Ballistic, Luke turned back towards the MIG and selected guns to continue the fight but all he saw was a pastel parachute with a gomer in the harness. Luke never saw the kill but Ed and his Bear (O.B. O'Brien, one of the best Bears in the Weasel business) did and saw the MIG 19 burning and spiralling into the ground. During the fight the second element of THud-Phantoms covered the fight below them by suppressing any other SAMs or MIGS that wanted in the fight and ED covered Luke in his fight.

This story is a prime example of exceptional situation awaredness and the ability to quickly adapt to the new threat, and then go back and re-adapt again to the planned mission. Here are four dissimilar aircraft (2 THuds, 2 Phantoms) in the middle of SAM alley, being watched by every SAM (MANY!!!!!!!) in range, being shot at, shotting back, killing one, evading a SAM and then going back to the Hunter Killer role to protect the in-coming strike force in the span of a very few minutes marks true professionals in every sense of the word. No matter which airplane they were in, their minds worked as one in the span of a heart beat. THey always seemed to know what the other guy was thinking, where he was going next, and where to look for him in all those acres of sky. Both Ed and Luke are more like brothers to me then the life long friends we are and I learned an awful lot from their teachings.

Unread postPosted: 14 Nov 2005, 15:35
by FoxFour
Busch & Snake-1 - I thought I'd read all that's in print out there about the MiG killers' exploits, but hearing it from you guys firsthand (well, almost) is simply fantastic! There's so much more you guys did that's just not in the books (and neither are your pics!)

I recently got Osprey Combat Aircraft series' USAF F-4 Phantom MiG killers 1965-68 and 1972-1973 by Peter Davies (highly recommended, must read for Phantom Phanatics). It covers your kills and all three of your MiG-killer jets are featured in the artwork. Damn, wish I could have you guys autograph it! In case you didn't know what became of your jets:

Busch - your first kill jet F-4E 67-268 was transferred to Turkey in 87 and is still in service with the THK. It's a pity that your second kill jet 69-276 had to be the one the MiGs bagged on 10/12/72, she should have made it to a museum, or at least the boneyard. Anybody who thinks guns ought to be left off fighters couldn't find a better person in you to dispel that notion!

Snake - your jet 67-301 also went to Turkey in 91, but sadly she was lost almost 10 years ago in Dec 95. 301 was one of a pair of Turkish Rhinos that entered Greek airspace, and were intercepted by Greek Vipers. During the egress 301 was seen by the other aircraft to crash into the Med, and only the WSO was recovered.

I'll echo what everyone else on this thread has said - thanks for sharing your unique experiences from a time and place most of us have only read about.

Gums - kudos to you for bringing these guys aboard, any chance you could get in touch with other MiG killers like John Madden, or how about Generals Ritchie/Olds themselves!?

Alright, here she is...

Unread postPosted: 14 Nov 2005, 17:52
by Snake-1
Thanks for the update on 301. She was a grand lady that gave it all, over and over again to all the guys who flew her

If I can find a way to copy Pussy Galore I am going to sens it to "SJ". He'll get a kick out of it.

Unread postPosted: 14 Nov 2005, 18:03
by busch
FoxFour, thanks for the info. Of course, I knew 276 bit the dust but the last I heard of 268 she was at Clark. After that I lost her. Nice to know she is still doing her thing!

Unread postPosted: 14 Nov 2005, 23:09
by TenguNoHi
Hearing this stuff is absolutely amazing. Thanks guys!


Unread postPosted: 15 Nov 2005, 00:25
by Snake-1
And here is a fitting "Amen"!!!!!

Unread postPosted: 15 Nov 2005, 02:20
by TC
To the stories, the pic above me, and of that beautiful blonde on that beautiful jet, I say "AWESOME! TOTALLY AWESOME!!"

Fox Cuatro, could you look up another 2-time MiG killer in your book for me? Then-Capt., now retired Maj. Gen. Richard M. "Dick" Pascoe? He was my pops's fmr. C/C, and I believe he got both kills in C model Rhinos, as they came earlier in the war.

Keep the stories and the pics coming guys!

Oh yes, and a happy-belated Veterans Day to the folks on this page! This Bud's For You! :beer:

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 15 Nov 2005, 04:33
by Snake-1


Are you still trying to get ROBIN-1 to tell his story. It was a hairy one!!!!!


Unread postPosted: 15 Nov 2005, 15:09
by FoxFour
M/G Dick Pascoe's MiG killers - didn't he command 17th AF/USAFE at one time?

#1 F-4C 64-0839, lost 3/10/67 due to fuel starvation from AAA damage
The jet John Pardo/Steve Wayne flew on his legendary "Pardo's Push" mission - can someone get him on this board to tell that story?

Hint to moderators: how bout starting a "War Stories" forum?

#2 F-4C 63-7647, survived the war, last flew with Hawaii/Oregon ANG and now preserved in the Oregon Air & Space Museum

Have you guys heard of Cherry Girl, Pussy's sister Thud and partner in crime? Will try to locate the pics. Stay tuned.

Unread postPosted: 15 Nov 2005, 21:19
by Snake-1
My real feeling about the air to air role.

Unread postPosted: 16 Nov 2005, 00:00
by parrothead
Yep, gotta love the Phabulous Phantom - the world's leading distributor of MiG parts :thumb: !

Unread postPosted: 16 Nov 2005, 01:30
by TC
Fox, thanks for the info on those jets. You are correct. Gen Pascoe was 17th AF C/C from 1986-88. He took over the Air Defense Weapons Center at Tyndall after he left Germany.

Find Cherry Girl. We'd like to see her too.

Gums, come in! Your last transmission was garbled. If you can't talk, key your mike 3 times, over! Anybody picking up a beacon?

Moderators, we need a ResCAP for Gums. This should be hairy. We need a Jolly Green, and send in the Sandys low with Willie Pete, Snakes, and Napes!

Pop smoke Gums!

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 18 Nov 2005, 02:16
by FoxFour
Fellas, meet Cherry Girl...

The angle is too low to see the babe clearly, so I've added another scan of her - from my decal sheet!
This shot is post-war and after the Thud's restoration for display, so the artwork isn't the original. Unfortunately, "PC" did intervene in this case, and the art has been removed, according to the pic caption.

Unread postPosted: 18 Nov 2005, 02:44
by FoxFour
Busch/Snake - these are for you (any way you can autograph 'em?). Hope they bring back good memories.

:salute: to the guys who went to Pack 6, fought the NVAF in their own backyard and prevailed!

Snake - re-reading your previous post, you mentioned that 4 MiGs went down on the day of your kill, but the MiG kill list shows just 3 kills - yours and two for the 432nd. Do you know if one of the Udorn crews was denied an official credit by the kill claims board?

Unread postPosted: 18 Nov 2005, 05:48
by Snake-1

Afterward, we were told that 4 21's came up to play that day with three shot down (1 by the 388th. and 2 by the 432nd) the fourth crashed on landing with heavy battle damage but could not be directly confirmed to any one crew against the five claims submitted that day. There is no doubt in my mind that that fourth 21 should have been awarded to the 432nd. We were also told that the of the four mig drivers two were aces and the other two were getting close to that mark. But who shot who down is unknown.

If you send me a good and readable copy of 301 to my mail box I'll see what I can do.


Unread postPosted: 18 Nov 2005, 06:10
by Gums
phhhsssst.....bleeemp......ssssssssssss......whoop whooop whooop.......

whispers...... "I'm here, Gomers all around.......... come up later"

"Break, break....."

Now back to the future.
Just got back from the Aviation Nation bash at Nellis. Had a C-flight reunion, plus other Green Demons and folks from the 354th TFW that went to Korat in 72. Had very BZ schedule and couldn't touch base with all the folks out there - sorry.

The troops I want flew on the Kansas 01 Bravo SAR attempt. 10 Dec 72, about 70-80 miles west of Vinh. Was a trap, and the gomers had the dead front seater propped up in a clearing so's we and the Jolly could see him. When Jolly went into the hover all hell broke loose. I was with the back-up Jolly and wound up escorting the crippled Jolly back to NKP after most of the Sandy's ran outta gas.


At least one of Ritchie's kills is worth hearing. Maybe we could get him up. It was the one where he fired a Great White Hope to get the gomer turning, then squeezed again. Hell! First missile blew the guy up and second went thru the fireball. Interesting that Steve got all his with Sparrows and Cunnigham all with 'winders.

Snake might even remember my flameout landing episode ..... but maybe about the time he showed up. Dunno.

Tired and still unpacking.


Unread postPosted: 18 Nov 2005, 08:47
by parrothead
Great stuff all around guys! Thanks for sharing all the war stories and y'all should write a book or three :) !


First off, check your PM inbox :wink: . Glad you made it out to Nellis and I hope you had a good time! I loved the whole weekend of our official belated welcome home for all the Vietnam Vets and I think Nellis did it right. Was it just me, or was that re-enactment flight a blast :thumb: ? I immediately thought of Gums when I saw an A-37 in the air along with Spooky, an OV-10, a couple of Sandys and a couple of Huey Gunships as well!

Thanks again guys for all you have done in the cause of freedom and this bud's for you :beer: !

Unread postPosted: 18 Nov 2005, 10:41
by busch
[quote="FoxFour"]Busch/Snake - these are for you (any way you can autograph 'em?). Hope they bring back good memories.

FoxFour, as Snake said, send me the best file you have of them and I'll print/sign and mail them to you. I'll also need your address. If you want anything special on them, let me know.

I downloaded the shots you posted but they are a little small for really good prints but would work in a pinch.

Unread postPosted: 18 Nov 2005, 18:01
by Person
FoxFour after you get them signed if there is anyway you can scan high-res versions of them I'd love to get them printed out poster size.

Unread postPosted: 18 Nov 2005, 20:09
by Snake-1

Sorry to burst your bubble but that is not an A-37 you got Pics of. It is a T-37 in camo livery i.e., no tip tanks, no wing pylons, no drop tanks on stations 3 AND 6, no VHF antennas, no gravel shieldson the intakes. and no cannon. As far as I know there is only one that has been restored and privately owned and I'm not sure if that one has an FAA airworthiness certificate as yet.


Unread postPosted: 18 Nov 2005, 21:27
by Guysmiley
A-37 or T-37, it gives me a better feel for the scale of those jets. I've never been near one personally, and seeing people standing next to that one really gives a sense of size. It's like a Miata with wings! Getting shot at in one of those? :shock: I suppose there ISN'T as much to actually get hit...

Unread postPosted: 18 Nov 2005, 21:58
by Snake-1

Your right, the bird was very small. But a real ball to fly and could carry twice the load a Hun could, go as far, stay longer in the target area, and could deliver ordnance with pin point accuracy (with old iron sights). It was almost impossible to hit with small arms because of its very small silhouette and release altitude of weapons and would really require the "Golden BB" to do any damage.

You could come in at 18 grand, get set up, and start your deliveries long before the VC even knew you were in the area.

And the T-38 engines really gave you a kick in the butt you couldn't believe.

She was a great little bird that really hasn't been given the recognition she so richly deserves.

And if GUMS ever gets off his dead butt and starts the "Air to Ground" thread we could regale you with stories you would think were from WW2 instead of sea.

The Snake

Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2005, 00:45
by Gums
Salute all!

From Snake-breath.....

"And if GUMS ever gets off his dead butt and starts the "Air to Ground" thread we could regale you with stories you would think were from WW2 instead of sea."

Ok, OK, OK.... I'll start one after talking with the janitors.

Snake is spot on. I felt depressed after hearing we would have an actual A-37. Then I noted the piss poor simulation. Added to my misery, the "A-37" was the plane the gomers shot down for the SAR portion. GASP. Choke. Helldamnshitpiss.

Snake is also right about being hit. Our squad flew about 50-60 sorties each day and we only lost one confirmed plane to groundfire in the year he and I were there. I saved mine the only time I was hit - maybe 50-60 7.62mm holes because I was young and stupid and made repeated passes over a bad place.

Gums stands next to an OA-37 from the Michigan Guard. We're trying to get the thing re-configured with bombs, nape and CBU. You can see how small it is when realizing that I am 5'6" tall and weigh about 140 lb.


Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2005, 01:38
by Snake-1

You done good!!!!!!

Now, at the request by a number of viewers of this thread, you need to get back to Robin-1 to relate his hairy tangle with the bad guys way back when.

The Snake

Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2005, 01:51
by TC
Alright, we got Gums back! Another successful ResCAP! Now, lets get to the bar before they run out of Jack!

Yeah, I saw the Tweety Bird in Dragonfly clothing, and said "What's wrong with this picture?" Heh Heh.

'Tis true. The 37s are BOTH small jets. I was thoroughly surprised though, that on my ride in the T-37, there was plenty of leg room for even my near-5'11" frame. Never sat in the Dragonfly though, so Gums and Snake could tell us if the added combat equipment takes up some of the leg room (like the very-cramped A-6 and F-111).

Gums, is that the Dragonfly at the main gate at Hurlburt? Been awhile since I've actually stopped in there and looked around, so I can't tell. My buddy that busts wrenches at Hurlburt and Duke said that Hurricane Ivan broke the Spectre from its moorings and faced it almost 90 degrees to the other direction. :shock: Glad that's all it did.

You and JR need to gang up and get Steve Ritchie on here! Apparently, he's going to fly for JR's bunch.

Off to search for a Mickey Light...

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2005, 03:02
by parrothead
Ok, Ok, so I goofed it on the A-37 :oops: . I thought something didn't quite look right, but I couldn't put my finger on it. I noted the lack of screens for the intake, but I didn't get a chance to ask many questions. I was also so busy volunteering on Friday and Saturday that I never made it very far away from the chalets, so my apologies for misidentifying the aircraft.

I still liked seeing Spooky up there with the Spads flying low cover :thumb: !

Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2005, 08:59
by FoxFour
Whoa, Busch/Snake, actually I was kinda joking a bit when I asked if you could autograph it! :oops:
But lemme figure out the easiest way to do this and I'll PM you guys. You bet I'll send you better pics than the ones posted. :D

Person - be glad to share it with you guys once Busch/Snake have signed it.

Snake, back to your reply to my question, it's another example of what the guys who were there knew that's never been in the books. I'd love to learn more about those engagements where guys might have gotten kills without being credited/or knowing about it. That's just Linebacker... must be lots of cases from Rolling Thunder too.

The 1965-1968 volume of the F-4 MiG killers book mentions an intriguing possibility that Robin Olds might have made ace on 20 May 67 - without knowing it. John Pardo was his element lead and describes a major battle with MiG-17s. As he was egressing, he saw fires from five downed a/c in the vicinity where he and Olds had fought. One was from Olds' wingman (downed by a MiG), two others from the MiGs he and Olds had downed (which were confirmed), so the remaining two fires could have been from the other MiGs he and Olds had engaged without observing the results. Gen Olds scored his second (confirmed) kill of the mission some minutes later, and some distance away.

John Pardo said if the kill claims board had listened more carefully to him, they might have awarded Olds three kills on that mission... imagine having Gen Olds himself describing that mission on this board!

Gums - I'm adding my "voice" to the din and clamor for to you rope in more of your buds here!

Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2005, 10:33
by TenguNoHi
Yeah more people would be awsome! 8)

I want to hear more!


Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2005, 14:44
by snypa777
Damn, wasnt even alive when some of these engagements took place....This thread is gripping reading! Kind of like a thriller until you realise that those guys like snake, gums, busch were really there risking their lives just doing their jobs.Makes me feel kinda humble!

A salute and a bud for all that were there! :salute: :cheers:

Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2005, 18:37
by Snake-1

Thanks snypa777, you really know how to make a guy feel old don't you.

"Wasn't even alive when these things happened.

I offer you a resounding FC -196

The Snake

Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2005, 21:11
by snypa777
:oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops:
Heh heh, I thought that my post might be perceived like that and was hoping it wasn`t!!!!
I wasn`t there but only just!!!!!!!! Hope that makes ya feel better snake :D

Unread postPosted: 20 Nov 2005, 16:46
by FoxFour
Busch/Snake, check PM

Any way you guys can get Robin 1 to check in on this thread again?
Got a pic of his jet that I'd like to send to him too!

Unread postPosted: 21 Nov 2005, 00:15
by Snake-1

GUMS has the back door to ROBIN1

BC Email to you

The Snake

Unread postPosted: 21 Nov 2005, 00:28
by Snake-1
Below you will see the words of Bob Lodge (out of the triple nickel) in 72 that we all lived by:

He downed three 21s (21 Feb 72, 8 May 72, 10 May 72) all with the AIM-7.

THe Snake

Unread postPosted: 21 Nov 2005, 05:26
by TC
I like that plate Snake!

Great man there, Bob Lodge...I think he could've been an ace too if he had lived.

Glad we at least got Locher out of there. Well, paraphrasing the late, great, Robert Lodge...

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 21 Nov 2005, 06:52
by Gums

OK, Snake-breath, drop me a PM about Robin. Still trying to figure him out.

Only living Mig Killers I know( and would know me if I walked up) are you and Ritchie and a troop from class of '59. Could be I know more than I realize.

Richter got his with the gun in a Thud. Lodge (another classmate of Karl and I and Steve) would likely have been the first ace but stayed too long when everybody was yelling at him to break (that's the way I heard it, anyway). Lodge and Steve were instrumental in Tea Ball, as well as the better training programs circa 71-72.


Unread postPosted: 21 Nov 2005, 07:21
by swanee
Snake-1 wrote:
Your right, the bird was very small. But a real ball to fly and could carry twice the load a Hun could, go as far, stay longer in the target area, and could deliver ordnance with pin point accuracy (with old iron sights). It was almost impossible to hit with small arms because of its very small silhouette and release altitude of weapons and would really require the "Golden BB" to do any damage.

You could come in at 18 grand, get set up, and start your deliveries long before the VC even knew you were in the area.

And the T-38 engines really gave you a kick in the butt you couldn't believe.

She was a great little bird that really hasn't been given the recognition she so richly deserves.

The Snake

My old man flew the A-37, A-10 and F-16. He still says that the most fun he had flying was in an A-37. Even for it's troubles and idiosyncrasies (like every rookie A-37 driver dumping fuel onto the ramp) it was the best airplane for the buck, especially since it was not limited by it's engines, but by the airframe. You could really push the sucker, and it would let you fly it to hell, something the A-10 just couldn't do; it's engines just won't put out the thrusties. If only we could find a dragonfly and restore it...

Unread postPosted: 21 Nov 2005, 20:22
by MKopack
Too bad we're not in New Zealand... <--- Great pics...

VH-DLO Military S/N: 68-10805 VH-XVA Military S/N: 68-10779


The A37B Dragonfly is an all-metal, retractable gear, low wing twin turbojet powered aircraft. VH-DLO carries constructor’s number 68-10805 and VH-XVA is 68-10779. A total of 577 A37B’s were delivered.

The Cessna A-37B Dragonfly is a development of an aircraft originally designed, in 1952, as a trainer for the US Air Force. The A37B in its current configuration is designed as a ground attack aircraft and was developed to meet the COIN (counter insurgency) role.

The US Government supplied 254 Cessna A37B Dragonflies to the Vietnam Air Force (VNAF) during the Vietnam War. After the fall of South Vietnam in 1975, ninety-five VNAF A37B aircraft were captured and incorporated into the Vietnamese People’s Air Force. The aircraft in the collection were among those captured. The aircraft were used in active service by their new "owners" and played a part in several regional conflicts involving Vietnam.

In 1989 Colin Pay (who rebuilt the Museum’s Spitfire) and Noel Vinson found several Dragonflies in Vietnam. Subsequently, ten were purchased from the Government of Vietnam and brought to Australia. The aircraft were fully restored to flying condition and acquired by David Lowy. Both A37B Dragonflies have been donated to the Temora Aviation Museum VH-XVA in December 2000 and VH-DLO in November 2001.

The Cessna A37B Dragonflies are currently displayed at the Museum Flying Days and various airshow events.

Grew up watching the 'Boys from Syracuse' A-37's...

Unread postPosted: 22 Nov 2005, 01:18
by Gums
Salute "pack-man"!

I was priveleged to check out the New York outfit in the A-37. Also the other unit( from Baltimore) that still flew the F-86 at the time. Talk about some pissed off dudes, heh heh.

Funny, but 12 years or so later there I was and we were checking out the same dudes in the Viper. The New York politicians must be involved somehow........ just like South Carolina.

As far as the Dragonfly restoration goes, we have an operational one in Arizona( Gordon Johnson) and maybe one other in the works.

The airframe was actually pretty tough, what with the new wing spars. Problem we had with cracks was due to taxiing with all that stuff. After all, the wing was designed to "lift", not flex so much just past the main gear support structure. And when you are creating lottsa lift, the wing bends up, not down.

Sucker had power to spare, hence the single-engine cruise and loiter procedures we used. i personally got one up to 43K one night before chickening out. Another troop got his to 48K, heh heh. Only trouble we had was the mach problem trying to descend. I lowered the gear at 140 knots as I was afraid to pull the engines back too much.

later on this fine plane.


Unread postPosted: 22 Nov 2005, 05:20
by Snake-1

seperate message coming at you on Robin1


The Super Tweet was a mid wing not a low wing (maybe a typo) and you could really STUKA the hell out of her. Just set 35 mils go straight down with the pipper locked on the target and release at any altitude you wanted to. No dive angle, airspeed, or altitude parameters to worry about (except excessive speed in the dive). Nine out of ten times that bomb will go exactly where you wanted it to. In fact (correct my memory if I'm wrong GUMS) the average miss for ALL THE GUYS in the squadron was within 15 meters (45'). THe FACs just loved us and if they had a real tricky TIC (troops in contact) they'd call the "RAPS". But this should be in a mud moving thread.

THe Snake

Unread postPosted: 22 Nov 2005, 23:19
by swanee
Gums wrote:
I was priveleged to check out the New York outfit in the A-37. Also the other unit( from Baltimore) that still flew the F-86 at the time. Talk about some pissed off dudes, heh heh.

Funny, but 12 years or so later there I was and we were checking out the same dudes in the Viper. The New York politicians must be involved somehow........ just like South Carolina.

One of those guys is my old man. He is a contemporary of dinosaurs like gums, but not by much. :lol: Went from A-37s to A-10s to F-16s with the Boys from Syracuse (though no longer called that after an unfortunate incident) They actually only flew the hog for about 8 years, goin from dragonfly to hog in Noveber of '79, then hog to viper in '88.
The AF wanted to see a unit that had been dedicated to CAS Drive the Viper the same way. It didn't work out.
In the late 80s NY was powerful in congress, as is aparent when you find out that it had 3 flying guard squadrons (2 f-16, 1 at Niagra Falls and Syracuse), and the plan was for the Conn and Mass ANG Sqaudrons to convert from A-10s to F-16s and be organized as subborinate squadrons of the 174th (though that didn't happen, as Congress decided to keep the Hog around)... Now they are adding a squadron of predators... I am not sure how Hillary pulled that one off.
But back to the topic:

A restored A-37??? Where in AZ?

Here's a question that I haven't really gotten an answer for... How often were the A-37s crewed by 2 guys? Every picture I have of my old man flying one, he is the only guy in the cockpit. I understand that the original design was for a student and an IP, but were they ever crewed by 2?

Unread postPosted: 22 Nov 2005, 23:37
by Snake-1
The second seat in the Super Tweet was a real pain in the butt at times as it was almost always used for visiting firemen/congressmen/senators/VIPs and any other cockroaches that wanted to view combat first hand and puke all over our aircraft.

We changed that around somewhat and started an exchange program with the Green Berets manning the outlaying camps. They would come fly with us and we would go spend a day or two at their camps. This got hairy for us airdales when the camps got hit at night but we made a good show of it and they got to learn about our capabilities. WE also took army ALO's and forward observers along with us to show them the same thing. Of course we also used the second seat for our FNG's on their in-country check outs.

But we still liked to have that second seat open/empty as much as possible.

The Snake

Unread postPosted: 23 Nov 2005, 06:01
by Gums
Yo Ho!

Yep, the second seat was a pain in the butt.

1) A lot of the right seats were inoperable - spare parts, dontchya see?

2) We tried two folks over the Trail during our night interdiction tests. Second troop tried to use a Starlight scope to spot the trucks. Didn't work, so we flew night, solo scared to death over the Trail and done good.

Funniest war story happened while Snake was still there, I think. A mission way down in IV Corps. CBS reporter in right seat. Skosh gas so the flight climbed to 25K or so and shut down a motor for best range. Meanwhile, the reporter is sick and the valiant Rap is flying with left hand and trying to hold oxygen mask on the reporter with his right. Reporter dweeb keeps barfing. Rap pilot gives up and soon the dweeb's head is rolling around, limp, unconscious. heh heh. Pilot was scared that the guy had suffered brain damage, but he came out OK.

Funniest one I had was a 55-year old grandma from Reuters. She took lottsa pics and never complained a bit. Super chick. Bet she was a hot one at 25 or so.


Unread postPosted: 23 Nov 2005, 20:21
by Snake-1
What do you say we get back to the title thread of this topic and reserve the mud moving to the new "CAS in Vietnam" thread????

In a recent PM to Foxfour I promised a blurb on why the 388th. was the only wing in SEA (circa 72-73) with tiger teeth on their birds. So hear goes and shows how far the peace time bean pushers would try to stand in our way.

After a couple of weeks of flying the air to air role role 72 and escorting strike packages from all the different wings in SEA, it struck me that the two squadrons of F-4s and F-105s out of Korat were the only squadrons in SEA with the tiger teeth still painted on their noses. This baffled me as the original American Volunteer Group (The Flying Tigers) of the forties flew out of a base less than three hundred miles away and the tiger teeth were in a sense a tribute to them and an extension of their role on SEA.

It would take me another three years and a lot of whisky poured into an OLD phantom driver who was at Korat a few years eariler when the facts of this story unfolded.

It seems that early in the days of combat, the Commander of TAC still had his hands in the daily house keeping roles of the Wings in SEA. Adherence to the established rules was the function of TAC IG teams, who, through their yearly inspections, tried to configure a war time environment to peacetime rules and regs. Luckily, they didn't fly any combat missions so a lot of their findings were ignored once the wheels were up and the crews were getting shot at.

During one of their visit to a sister SEA base they noted that all the birds had tiger teeth nose art painted proudly on the noses. This was in direct violation of the TAC and USAF regs which forbad any kinds of nose art. However, it was a big morale thing with the guys who flew the double ugly and ground crews who maintained them, added a bit of bravado and mystery to the bird, and besides being ugly made it look just down right mean.

Well, The IG team wrote the wing up as required by regs, and that wing had to remove the teeth. THe crews of that wing were dowwn right PI$$ed with a capitol P and the word quickly spread throughout the other SEA wings. THis continued through every wing but Korat who was the last on the IG Inspection tour.

Two days before the IG team was to hit Korat, the Wing CC ordered the Chief of Maintenance to remove the teeth from all the Korat birds. In a New York minute word spread and you could feel the impending muntiny by the crews and maintainers who worked their heavy hearts out to meet the order. Needless to say that the CC was "Persona Non Gratis" at every unit on the base.

The next morning the IG team arrived, did their dirty work, but couldn't write up the tiger teeth because there were none to be found. When the team C-54 lifted off and headed for the states the WING CC turned back to the Chief of Maintenace and very simply said "Put the teeth back on the Birds as quickly as you can". THe crews and maintainers were out all night and the next morning the whole fleet had brand new bright and shiny teeth looking meaner then before. Shortly after that TAC called off the IGs yearly visit and since the 388th. was the only wing without a teeth write up she got to keep them and the Wing CC never had to buy another drink during his whole tour at Korat.

The moral of this story is the old Latin phrase that goes "Illegitimi Non Carborundum" or loosely translated "Don't let the Bastards get you Down".

Unread postPosted: 23 Nov 2005, 23:30
by johnqhitman
Snake, beautiful story. I love it when the good guys pull-one over the bad guys (bean-counters, desk jockeys, and Air Force politicians, NCA micromanagers). For the good old WWII days of art-work...

Unread postPosted: 24 Nov 2005, 00:26
by Snake-1
One more on the tiger teeth!!!!


Okay you steely eyed, snake eating, killers what is wrong with this picture.

FOXFOUR -- if you know the answer P< me.

The Snake

Unread postPosted: 24 Nov 2005, 14:18
by FoxFour
PM inbound to you, Snake. Did I get it right? :D

For those of you who can't get enough of sharkmouths, check this site out:
A/C 67-0287 has the temp-overpainted jaws that Snake was telling us about.

And here's the epilogue to the story of that MiG-killer jet above - she made it to be a gate guard at Osan, ROK - like all the MiG killers deserved.
(BTW, the mess in the pic came from a Viper that crashed shortly after takeoff.)

Unread postPosted: 24 Nov 2005, 16:25
by Snake-1
Fox 4

Not this time!!!!!!

Hint: The more you look at it the more you will find wrong.

The Snake

Unread postPosted: 24 Nov 2005, 22:05
by snypa777
Hey fellas, does anyone know this site? Some great pics and good tributes to the Thud and it`s people. seems to be an old site. Would this be your typical driver?

Unread postPosted: 25 Nov 2005, 23:10
by johnqhitman
Snake, that Phantom isn't putting out a lot of smoke from the engines, the pilot bailed out (all mig pilots should die) and speaking of that MiG there doesn't look to be enough damage

Unread postPosted: 25 Nov 2005, 23:47
by Snake-1



And maybe the gomer just wanted to try a nylon let down. Don't make no mickey mouse, a Kill is a Kill as a Kill is a kill.

But still not the answers I'm looking for. So far TC is the closest but still don't get no cigar.

Keep Trying!!!!

The Snake

Unread postPosted: 25 Nov 2005, 23:58
by Dammerung
He still has all his winders.

Unread postPosted: 26 Nov 2005, 00:02
by Snake-1

Sam does have all his winders but he got his 21 with a 7. Nice Try!!!


Still no cigars going out.

THe Snake

Unread postPosted: 29 Nov 2005, 07:15
by JR007

The J79 doesn't smoke in burner... Not one bit!

Unread postPosted: 06 Dec 2005, 07:07
by Snake-1
Okay Guys

It seems the interest has waned on this one so here it is.

1. Unless Luke AFB decided that they were going to get into the fight and fly the bird 7000 miles to and fro that the wrong tail flash for Takli but is the right one for Luke (LA). When Luke switched the the Viper the tail flashes changed to LV, i.e., Luke Viper.

2. As I said in a previous entry the only Tiger Teeth in SEA in 72 and 73 were on the birds (Fours and THuds) at Korat and Sam flew out of Takli if memory serves me correctly.

3. None of the pilots who flew fighters in SEA had white helemets. In fact each PE shop had roll upon roll of camo type that was applied to the helemet as soon as you signed in. A white helemet in the jungle (after a nylon letdown) was like a finger pointing directly back to you and was a real no-no if you ever wanted to kiss momma hello again.

The Snake

Unread postPosted: 06 Dec 2005, 18:54
by TC
That means I got two out of three correct in my PM to you Snake. D@mn! I should've spoken up about the helmets though. However, I didn't know if the camo helmets were just for some aircrews and not others. Didn't know that none of the fighter guys flew with "white tops"...I only suspected that. Now, I have seen pics from 'Nam of AF and Navy guys with painted (personalized) helmets...ala, "Maverick" and "Goose"...but now that I think about it, no, I don't recall seeing white helmets from there. Now I know why.

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 06 Dec 2005, 21:56
by Snake-1
Yeah TC you did get 66% so you might get a short stoogie but no El Grande.

I really can't tell you about the Navy jocks. They were a breed onto themselves and did have their call signs plastered all over their helmets nametags and probably skivies. We weren't allowed these personnel call signs but made them up and used them anyways especially in the case of emergencies or confirmation. Maybe that's why the stick's of today can match the swabbies.

The Snake

Unread postPosted: 07 Dec 2005, 18:30
by Gums
Here here!

Luv it Snake-breath, and I might have to buy you a Havana product next time out west.

Hell, when we were at Korat together, we had the velco patches and so forth. Basically flew with plain suits and only carried lottsa green, some gold and out Geneva Convention card, heh heh. 'course, I always had a pound of cayenne pepper for the dogs and to season the snakes I would have to eat.


Unread postPosted: 07 Dec 2005, 19:02
by Roscoe
Guysmiley wrote:A-37 or T-37, it gives me a better feel for the scale of those jets. I've never been near one personally, and seeing people standing next to that one really gives a sense of size. It's like a Miata with wings!

And they came with WAY too much motor (is that possible?). You could easily overspeed your gear after rotation if you weren't quick on the retraction. We used them for spin training at Test Pilot School (until the tail of one tried to fall off) and those babies could climb like a homesick angel.

Unread postPosted: 07 Dec 2005, 19:53
by Snake-1
No such thing as to much power!!!!!

That was one of the main attributes of the Mattel Maruarder. It gave us the opportunity to cover each otrher during an attack run, and kept the gomers heads down (which was really helpful for TICs where theArmy needed time to get out of Dodge).

Example. Two birds on a strike in a wagon wheel orbit on opposite sides of the circle. In goes the lead and calls out his pickle. At that call, in goes two from his position on the circle and corrects as needed on the FACs call. Lead pulls to about a 45 degree climb goes full throttles and watches and clears two's attack. By the time two pickles lead is on the perch from anywhere in the circle and is rolling in as two calls his pickle. This dance continues until all ordnance is delivered or the FAC calls a time out (which he did cause he couldn't keep up with the speed of our attack). We could complete our six passes each (dropping singles) in about three minutes with the worst bomb being within 45 feet of the FACs mark.

The drawback here was that if we used this tactic we really couldn't STUKA the stuff onto the bad guys for real precision but instead reverted to the old 45 or on a good day 60 degree deliveries.

I don't ever remember worrying about overspeeding the gear doors as we always went off heavy but the throttles were in idle half way through the turn to final to make landing speed.

The Snake

Unread postPosted: 08 Dec 2005, 03:19
by Roscoe
We took off with only enough fuel in the tips to get us to the spin area since we couldn't spin until they were dry (not having empty tips going into a spin cost us one at Edwards doing this very profile). Needless to say we were really light and airborne in about 69 feet and first action was to chop the throttle a bit or we would overspeed.

Unread postPosted: 08 Dec 2005, 05:48
by Guysmiley
airborne in about 69 feet

Nicely done. :D

Unread postPosted: 09 Dec 2005, 01:43
by TC
Yes, especially when compared to that, the Tweety Bird is a pig on takeoff roll. I started thinking we'd never get off the d@mn ground! :lol:

But, oh when we did!...Helluva ride!

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 10 Dec 2005, 05:59
by Gums
Yo ho!

I believe Roscoe is slightly stretching the performance of the A-37.

Best I ever got was about 6-700 feet on a test hop. Had about 10 or 20 gallons in the tips (to ensure they fed). Roll, pull real quick, suck gear, establish 30 degrees on the ADI and watch runway in mirror until 10K or so.

Interestingly, was about the same procedure in the VooDoo, but we rotated at 155 knots versus 90 knots, and roll was a little less than 2000 feet on a cold day in Grand Forks. Our SOP was to use mil when the burner roll was under 2000 feet, heh heh.

Seriously, the Tweet had 900+ pounds of thrust per engine, for a total of maybe 1900 pounds. The J-85's we had in the Thunder Squeak were not the ones in Talon. They put out about 2850 pounds each without the burner. So just one motor had about 50% more thrust than the basic Tweet. GASP!!!! So then we added the other motor. Using my limited math skills, that comes out to about 5700 pounds versus 1900 pounds of thrust.

As Snake implied, "ain't ever too much power".

What a neat little jet, and I think many of us who flew it learned stuff that helped us be lots better in the next jet we got to fly.

Our card, "Smallest Fighter, Fastest Gun" and then, "When you care enough to expend the very best.....", "Wire Rap, Bien Hoa ... Dragon, Plieku"


Unread postPosted: 22 Aug 2006, 03:05
by rhinophan99
The LA tail code is correct for the 4th TFS at Da Nang, Takhli and then Udorn ...

The 366th also had Shark Mouth's on there jet's ... It was a different style though slightly from the Korat jet's ... Incidentally at Korat at least one of the airframes in each of the squadron's assigned carried the Shark Teeth for a short period of time .. From the 135 & 121 to the A-7 . Only one I haven't seen a picture of but know there was one is the EC-130 from the 7th ACCs ..


Unread postPosted: 22 Aug 2006, 04:17
by Snake-1
Ah Young Grasshopper!!!!!

Yes, the 4th did have LA on the tail early in the conflict but later they moved to Luke. All the birds at Luke had the LA markings in 71-72.

You've got to read my story on how the Tiger kept its teeth in the 388 in 72 -73. Or if you did, you were right that some of the other squadron birds experiments with them including the Thud outfits. BUT!!!, all the other Double uglies lost theirs when the last IG team left Vietnam.


Unread postPosted: 22 Aug 2006, 05:25
by Snake-1

You are right and I am wrong!!!!!!!!

Since you raised the question I went back to Osprey and checked the tail flashes and the 4th did have the LA stamped on their tails. Imagine my surprise now knowing that TWO wings had the same flashes. As far back as I can remember that was unheard of as it ID'd a Wing and when I went back to Luke for recurrency in 71 every bird on the line had LA on their tails (either that I or I was going blind very early in life.). Now I'm going to have to go back and check Luke's history.

My apologies to you and all the readers who I led astray with the LA story.


Unread postPosted: 31 Aug 2006, 03:09
by rhinophan99
Hey Snakey ...

No prob .. would have replied back here sooner but didn't realize you posted more ..:)

Do you happen to remember which squadron at Nellis ran the Precision Weapons School at Nellis in the early 70's ? I have seen mention of it a few times in regards to the LGB's and the GBU-8 and a few others ..


Unread postPosted: 31 Aug 2006, 03:40
by Snake-1


Unread postPosted: 17 Oct 2006, 11:02
by HunterKiller

Snake-1, what you would say about aircraft's performance: MiG-21PFM vs slatless F-4? MiG-21MF vs F-4E?

I have read lot of russian books claiming that MiG-21 was better turner than Phantom. For MiG-21PF and F-4E actual turn rates are about the same. And some books claim that 21MF that appeared on 1972 has much better climb rate than F-4?

What would you say from your experience?

Unread postPosted: 17 Oct 2006, 18:08
by Snake-1

Didn't get the chance to fly the slated versus of the double ugly until after the SEA conflict. Then in flying against the aggressors from Nellis I found it slightly more agile at slower speeds (a place you really don't want to be in an engagement) but not really that much overall.

When the gomers brought the new version of the 21 on the line the only way I could tell the difference was an increase in speed (about 50 to 75 knots at low altitude) and some better armament. BUSCH or ROBIN-1 could possibly add to this opinion.

I really don't care what the books say, the 21 was a much better turner at low altitude than the 4 and you would avoid that kind of turning fight like the plague and try to take him vertical or disengage- extend-and come back into the fight. Remember their tactics of throwing 5 or six Migs into a wagon wheel and play here kitty-kitty trying to drag you into the wheel where their superior turning power would make you meat on the table.

As for better climb rate I am uncertain. But I know that if you had 500 or better on the clocks, a smooth pull up- based on the fight (so as not to deplete to much energy), a little unload and max burners, and possibly milking down some flaps (as Cunningham did with number 5) and a prayer and you might stay with him depending on how he entered the fight. The key here is knowing when to exit stage left based upon you rate of energy decay.

Hope this answers your questions


Unread postPosted: 18 Oct 2006, 13:20
by HunterKiller
I just read that when MiG-21MF appared in 1972 during Linebacker 2, Phantoms just could not run away low, because new MF seemed to be much faster and was overrtaking fast, so F-4s could not just run home but had to engage. With earlier 21PF F-4 was able to disengage at will.

Unread postPosted: 18 Oct 2006, 15:20
by Snake-1
Without getting into tactics or energy management I never had any problems with getting the power I needed to keep the fight on my terms nor do I think the others did like Steve, Randy, John Madden, Busch, Robin-1 or all the others who were successful against the 21.

Yes the 21 was superior to the double ugly in a lot of ways but our guys in the seat made all the difference. Old adage -- you do the best with what you got -- and exercise your training as best as you can.

Additionally, I don't know what you are reading but 72 was a prime year for killing all sorts of MIGs regardless of their age, modifications, or their guys in the seat. Out of te 50 gomers downed in 72, 42 of them were 21's so we must hace been doing something right with the old and handicapped 4.

Finally, if the MF's were that good they should have ruled the skies during LB-2 and the 12 days of Christmas instead of us.


Unread postPosted: 23 Oct 2006, 07:36
by HunterKiller
Actually MiG-21 was getting worser dogfighter during the Vietnam conflict. Was was started with gun equipped MiG-21F and 21F-13, which had combat weight about 6 tons and good all-around visibility (no dorsal spine and more glass after the pilot).

Then the first radar-equipped MiG-21PF came, which was without gun and had worser visibility, more weight. And the later PFM with underbelly gun container could not carry this big underbelly tank. And they had same problems like F-4 with SUU gun (more drag, no tank, not accurate).

And the newest MiG-21MF that arrived in 1972 has the worsest cockpit visibility and more weight.

And engine power that increased during aircraft development was wasted to 50% weight increase. Only thing that really went better was low level speed and level acceleration. And conformal 23 mm twin gun pack was better than initial 30 mm or 23 mm cointainer found in PFM.

MiG-21 was pretty much an dead circle - more equipment and more fuel needed more power, more power consumed more fuel, more fuel added more weight and drag - that required more power and so on...

Unread postPosted: 23 Oct 2006, 15:58
by Snake-1
Hunter Killer

What you say is interesting but I draw some hesitations to some of your conclusions.

First I never saw a 21 in anything but a clean configuration (i.e., no tanks) with missiles and/or guns.

With regard to the weight to thrust problem. 90% of the time they came off the runway in full burner and stayed in some degree of burner until their final approach back home -- or so we were told. Therefore they would be burning quite a bit of fuel before they got to the fight and then be light enough to stay and fight effectively if they wanted to, or could. However their main tactics were to make one high speed pass and haul A$$ back to the barn. If you were between them and their airfield they'd fight a little but were still ruled by fuel. And then if they stayed to fight you treated them with a hellava lot of respect.

In talking about visibility don't forget the glare shield on the canopy over and behind the pilot that prevented him full vision overhead and back into the deep 5 and 7 o clock position.

Re-reading your train we may be saying the same thing but in different ways.


Unread postPosted: 24 Oct 2006, 08:23
by HunterKiller
Thanks for educating me, Snake-1 8)

I had once opportunity to sit in the cockpit of MiG-21MF (the one with side-hinged canopy) and..heh the cockpit is pretty tight and claustrophobic and actually you can't see a thing. Rearward vision is almost not existant and you have to turn whole upper torso to see your wingtips - and front vision is not better - heavy frames, straight nose and nose probe block most on view. You have to be 5-5.5 feet guy to fit into the cabin and feel some sort of comfort there.

I had no chance to try the F-4 driver seat, but 21 cabin is not any wonder for dogfighting.

Unread postPosted: 01 Nov 2006, 09:16
by parrothead
For some good info on the US exploitation of captured MiGs and comparisons with the US jets of the time, check out and click on the links about "Have Donut" about 2/3 of the way down the page :wink: .

Unread postPosted: 01 Nov 2006, 18:29
by Snake-1
Hey Parrothead!!!!

Thanks for the great steer to the area 51 site and the info it offered. Kind of goes to what I've been trying to say from the start of this thread and reminds me of the many hours of dedicated ACM study using these facts, techniques and tactics to ensure we didn't become meat on the table.

What was really interesting to us who had been to SEA and saw the elephant was the development and deployment of the Aggressors Squadrons and DACT using the F-5.

If you lay the performance stat's of the F-5 to the 21 they are almost a mirror image. And that training was totally invaluable to the young snake eaters in the years immediately following that farce. I felt like I was back in PAC 6 against the real thing on my first go against the Aggressors.

Unread postPosted: 02 Nov 2006, 10:13
by HunterKiller
I think that those conclusions made after testing MiG-21F(-13) were out-of-date even in 1972, because more powerful Fishbed series appeared soon and 21F was soon retired.

Vietnam war saw also second-generation MiG-21PF(M) and third generation MiG-21MF-s, which shared some of the 21F's defficiencies, but had more powerful engines, better radars and armament.

And MiG-21F does not carry AA-2 Atoll, but MiG-21F-13. 21F carries 2 30mm internal guns and 57mm or 240 mm unguided rockets.

MiG-21F-13 is equipped to carry to IR homing AA-2 Atols and has only one 30 mm gun.

And MiG-21MF carries both IR guided Atolls and SARH Atolls (the latter is called R-3R or R-13R) and underbelly rapid-fire Gsh-23 twin barrel gun.

MiG-21MF will outaccelerate, outclimb and out-shoot 21F with ease. So you cannot make conclusions by testing the 21F only.

The latest fishbed (MiG-21bis) that never made to third world countries (some were sold to Finland, but most of Eastern European countries and arabs did not have anything better than MF) will certainly cut Phantoms tail on vertical too.

Please keep in mind that in most combat scenarios at full MiG-21bis has thrust to weight ratio over 1,00 (emergency thrust 97,1 kN compared to max TO weight 9800 kg).

I think this analysis is too one-sided on practical use in 1972 and later. It is good for 1967, but no later.

Unread postPosted: 02 Nov 2006, 15:53
by RoAF
The latest fishbed (MiG-21bis) that never made to third world countries (some were sold to Finland, but most of Eastern European countries and arabs did not have anything better than MF) will certainly cut Phantoms tail on vertical too.

Eastern Europe MiG-21bis users: Poland, East Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia (meaning everybody in Eastern Europe except Romania and Czechoslovakia)
Arab MiG-21bis users: Algeria, Syria, Iraq
3rd world MiG-21bis users: Angola, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Cuba, Madagascar, India, Cambodia, etc...

You make it sound like you know everything on MiG-21s in your posts, but in fact you know very little.

Unread postPosted: 02 Nov 2006, 16:09
by Snake-1

The technical information you offer is interesting in itself but I disagree with you on one aspect of it. And that being (if I understand you right) your statement that the analysis is to one sided and only relative to 67.

While the 21 might have improved armament and engines throughout the years of SEA they still had major handicaps that could be exploited ---- and were. The handling, poor visibility, air speed limitations, energy bleed off at high "G" maneuvering are but a few. These were inherent to the basic airframe and could not be changed.

Next, if the evaluation and tactics weren't relative we wouldn't have been able to have the successes we did in 72 against the 21 (42 out of 50 kills were 21's).

Morale of the story goes back to what I've said so many times before. It's the guy behind the stick, his training, and determination that is critical when fighting a superior aircraft. And the tactics offered in the study did really work in 72


Unread postPosted: 02 Nov 2006, 16:33
by Gums

What Snake said.

Also, the 21 got heavier and lost visibilty the more it was modified. I would imagine that the toughest models to fight were the early versions, regardless of armament. As Snake said, ya got to see it to believe it.

Same for the Viper. I would take a small-tail Block 10 against anything they have today if placed in a telephone booth with our knives out.

Sure, the bigger motors may let you accelerate better, but I can flat-ass guarantee we had better pitch rate and could maintain a higher AoA and roll rate than the latest models.

oh well, guess I'm still yearning for the "good old days", huh?


Unread postPosted: 03 Nov 2006, 08:58
by HunterKiller
Regardless what is said above, I still think that it is not correct make conclusions for 70s or 80s from testing basically mid-50 model, what MiG-21F undoubtfully is.

21F was out of date by this testing time, not to mention 70s.

Several assumptions based on 21F are not valid even for 21PFM, not to mention even 21MF (that made to Nam bu 72) or 21bis that NATO forces were problably facing in Europe's theatre on late 70s.

So that is not any serious analysis and the main reason is, that US did not have any modern 21s this time.

I would wounder if USAF would do performance analysis about German Me-109 early models for year 1944? I dont think so.

Unread postPosted: 03 Nov 2006, 16:27
by Snake-1

While your basis book analysis may be correct and show the results of engineers to show the capabilities of the machine you make a cardinal mistake in your assumptions -- the same way McNamara did as Secretary of Defense -- you place to much faith in numbers and statistics and disregard the human element and experiences in testing and evaluation.

What you are reading is the best that that aircraft can do under very static conditions with well trained test pilots and not in actual combat where the experience level and varied conditions can radically change.

Now some more corrections --

You say the conclusions were out of date because the newer 21 models were on the line. But yet they still worked for us and we kept killing more and more 21's as the war progressed. And since we were using the same equipment against the improving 21 -- as you say -- those positive results must to attributed to the man in the seat, the training he received, and the tactics he used. It's a classic case of using prepositional logic.

After SEA -- the U.S. did acquire later model 21's from several Mid Easter and Eastern Europe countries and the tests and evaluations were upgraded accordingly. We just didn't talk about them.

Next, in the late 70's the F-15 were already picking up the F-4 role as front line fighter so the tactics were modified again to maximize the superior F-15 performance capabilities against the 21.

Finally, I can't think of any period in aerial combat where the capabilities of the enemy were not studied in great detail, compared with our own and then find ways to defeat any enemy advantages. Two cases I know about with some authority are the P-40 against the zero and the P-51 against the ME-262. It would be pure stupidity not to. And those studies, conclusions, and tactics seemed to work as we won.

While your forte seems to in stat's please don't put 100% of your faith in only numbers on a page. They are a very good starting point to put to the test of human testing and evaluation.

In other words I think you may be beating a dead horse and trying to defend a position that won't stand the light of day. We all agree that the 21 had great performance factors on paper -- better then the double ugly -- but the tactics used against its weak points worked -- and worked very well.

The Snake

Unread postPosted: 03 Nov 2006, 17:37
by Snake-1

To add substance to what I'm trying to tell you, there is a great example of this presently on TV today, Saturday and Sunday. It's called "Dogfights: THe Greatest Air Battles" and runs for two hours on the History channel. It covers WW1, 2, Korea and Nam with a good portion of the last hour dedicated to Randy Cunningham's battles with 19's and 21's.

Listen closely to the narration of the guys who were there in all the wars and in some cases against superior aircraft and what was the deciding factor for success.


Unread postPosted: 03 Nov 2006, 19:15
by Gums

What the Snake said (and I still can't believe he got a Mig while flying the Double Ugly unless the gomer flew right out in front of him, heh heh).

Only jet I ever saw that flew like the books was ,,,, you guessed it, the Viper. In early days, before others figured out a few things to help them, we would make one or two quick turns, then watch the other jet do its "last ditch" maneuver, then gun his brains out or hose a Lima at the sucker from some unbelieveable aspect angle. Doubters about the Lima should ask the Brit Harrier dudes about the Falklands. Or the IAF folks.


Unread postPosted: 03 Nov 2006, 19:28
by Snake-1

We Did and he did!!!!


Unread postPosted: 04 Nov 2006, 09:30
by TC
With you word for word Snake and Gums...and I'll add something else that goes along with what Snake was alluding to.

Steve Ritchie once said that the first dissimilar aircraft he ever flew against was a MiG-21 over Vietnam. That's the absolute wrong time to start a training syllabus. Fortunately, though, it worked out in Ritchie's favor...5 times!

Snake, I'm not sure if you trained on F-4s around the same time that Steve Ritchie did, but I'm willing to bet that the MiG you got was probably one of the first dissimilar jets you ever flew against as well, right?

I've heard a lot of guys, most especially the original TOPGUN studs, say that seeing the MiG-17 and 21 in the "Have Donut" and "Have Drill" program was their first chance to fly with and against something dissimilar. Flying against the same basic airframes that you will be flying against in combat is some of the most invaluable training a fighter pilot could ever get. Some of those guys even got to fly those MiGs. That gave them the chance to actually see through the MiG driver's eyes, so to speak. How does he fly? Where can he look outside of the cockpit?...or, more importantly, where CAN'T he look? How many G's can he pull, and sustain? What's the optimum firing solutions for his weapons? Man, you can't buy training like that, and it is that experience that made being able to train with ANY type of MiG-17 or 21 worthwhile, and I believe the results in 1972 speak volumes in favor of that.

Unread postPosted: 04 Nov 2006, 16:01
by Snake-1
TC -- HOWDY!!!!!

I think that Steve and I did train about the same time but I did recurrency at Luke with the 311th. I'm not sure where Steve did his.

You are parcelly right. We got bounced four times before we got lucky. Three times by 21's and once by a 19. But after turning into to them to start an engagement they'd either break and run or try to drag you down into a triple A, flak, or SAM trap. Besides, they were after the bombers and tried to avoid the escorts like the plague.

On our lucky day we had turned towards them when they were some 20 away from the strike flight in almost a pure persuit profile so when we showed up we were the only show in town for them and the odds were definitely in there favor until the guys from the 432nd arrived and saved our bacon.


In my haste to respond to your notes the one important thing I forgot to include in my replies to you was situation awaredness. In an Air-to-Air fight you have only nano seconds to determine the other guys moves (based upon observation, altitude, airspeed, positioning -- in relation to the Sun, actions of his mutual support if available, and aggressiveness in relation to your own profile. And then only nano-nano seconds to determine and make your move and then execute those actions. If you are late or hestiant in these actions and he moves first he has the advantage and you have to re-adjust to gain it back. And advantage is much more importatnt then any statistical advantage any aircraft can have.

The Snake

Unread postPosted: 04 Nov 2006, 23:28
by MKopack
Snake-1 wrote:...Besides, they were after the bombers and tried to avoid the escorts like the plague.

The Snake

After talking to Steve and reading your comments (along with Dave Waldrop, and a couple of others who were lucky enough to get "theirs" as bombers) is it any surprise that they tried to avoid you guys?!?

Mike Kopack

Unread postPosted: 05 Nov 2006, 04:32
by Snake-1

You know -- it didn't make any difference in the world if you were a bomber, escort, Hunter Killer, or what ever. We had the greatest bunch of guys in the world over there and if the opportunity was presented, any one of them would fight the good fight and still do their primary mission. Steve and the rest of the great guys of the 432nd. went after them -- and very effectively. The rest of us were lucky enough to be in the same acre of sky at the wrong time for the gomers. Then we turned that luck into success by using training, experience and aggressiveness and great mutual support. It's a very different world you experience in a very few minutes of an air fight but one that will last a lifetime.


Unread postPosted: 10 Nov 2006, 18:58
by Snake-1
For all you snake eaters

Tonight on the History Channel they are going to present Robin Olds infamous "Bolo" flight that made the Gomers think Weasels were coming at them instead of 4's loaded for bear. An interesting and gutsy story. Its called "Dogfights".


Unread postPosted: 10 Nov 2006, 20:08
by Gums

What the Snake said...

Bolo is worth seeing. We have one local dude who is featured and is mentioned in the film.

One of my classmates was in Olds' back seat, and a few others were there, as well.

At the time, the Snake and ol' Gums were about to get to Bien Hoa to try out the A-37, so we were SOL.

USAF didn't do stuff like that again until 1972, and we were much better prepared, and successful.


Unread postPosted: 11 Nov 2006, 03:38
by LordOfBunnies
That program is actually really cool. I've seen it (not yet the Bolo one), but it's pretty cool. I wish they'd have some more modern dogfights... but those would be rather boring... "Fox 2! Fox 2!" over. I know its not that simple, but you get the idea... what would be really cool is the EF-111 vs. the Mig-25 (crap I forgot which Mig) where the EF got a kill using... um terrain. Falklands might be pretty cool really.

Unread postPosted: 12 Nov 2006, 00:08
by TC
LordOfBunnies wrote:forgot which MiG

It wasn't any sort of MiG at all. It was actually a Dassault Mirage F.1 :wink:

Actually, some of the modern dogfights would be pretty interesting...

1) Mark Fox and his wingman (Mongillo) getting two MiG-21s on the first night of the war. That was the first time Hornets had earned AA kills. The pilots simply switched their arming switches from AG to AA, bagged the MiGs, then switched back to AG, completed their strike mission, and landed on the Saratoga.

2) The two Gulf of Sidra incidents with F-14s v. Libyan fighters (1981, and 1989). The second incident was very similar to the final fight in the film "Top Gun", as both aircrews had just recently graduated from TOPGUN and returned to the fleet.

3) Ben "Coma" Powell (2 MiG-23s) and Jay "Opie" Denney (Flogger and Mirage) getting their two a piece...followed 10 days later by their squadron mates (Dietz and Hehemann) both getting their first two out of 3 a piece. Oh, to have been an Eagle Driver at Bitburg or Eglin in Jan, 1991! Sierra Hotel! 8)

4) Rick "Clouseau" Tollini getting a MiG-25 on 19 Jan 91, in the first USAF Eagle v. Foxbat engagement.


Back to the topic, yeah, Bolo was a very Sierra Hotel mission. Olds later copied the feat to a lesser degree, this time posing as Recon Voodoos.

Olds was hell-bent on becoming an ace in 2 wars, and almost pulled it off (4 in Vietnam). He had some cases of missiles going stupid, and having guys who were a little quicker on the trigger than he was. Otherwise, he would have done it.

Pops used to crew Rhinos with a couple guys who crewed the birds he flew at Ubon. They said that Olds used to sit in the plane with the canopies up, and listen to the radio. He'd wait until he heard that there were MiGs, and then he'd scramble, and head to the action.

When he was promoted to Brigadier General, he tried to get himself reduced to full bird, so he could take command of another fighter wing in Vietnam. His superiors refused, and said that the way he talked would assure him of never seeing Major General. Olds retired shortly afterward.

Awesome mission, Bolo was, devised by an awesome pilot. I'd love the opportunity to fly with Robin Olds.

Unread postPosted: 12 Nov 2006, 01:59
by LWF
Yes, someone is going to get me a recording of an episode of dogfights, and that might be the one. Great mission, and I looked back and found that I had made a post describing it and forgotten. The advantage of surprise, it just can't be beat. That and the advantage of having good pilots who weren't shocked out of their minds by seeing something they didn't expect.

Unread postPosted: 13 Nov 2006, 00:14
by Gums

If Olds had been in the theater in 1972, he would likely have been the ace he wished to be.

Ritchie was "helped" a bit after bagging a few, and had the chance to build morale. Face it, we needed something at the tme. Like Olds, he was an arrogant SOB, but talented. maybe more than Olds. I flew with Steve during an indocrination program for we Zoomies a year before we graduated and went to pilot training. He was really good. Another troop from that group also did well, as did ol' Gums. The three of us flew two or three tours, so last tour we were experienced and calmer than our firt time.

I also went thru pilot training with Richter. Now there was a true warrior. See "There Is a Way".


The big difference in 1972, when we started going up North again, was better A2A training, better coord with support folks like AWACS (Disco - original AWACS which had been used by Air Defense Command in the southern USA for a few years), the Navy's "Red Crown", and some nefarious outfits, mainly "Teaball".

So we had much better intell, much better training, and most of us were experienced vets. We also had real cannons in the Double Ugly.

Snake can add much more here, as I was a mudbeating puke, and depended upon his ilk to keep me free of Migs whilst I blew something up.

A biggie in the early years was the ROE requiring visual contact and so forth. By 1972 we had much better radar coverage and better systems onboard. So's the MIGCAP could fire head-on without fearing a freindly fire incident, or nailing a Soviet airliner coming outta Hanoi. The Oyster flight engagement was a good example. Sparrows flying out before the merge, etc. Another of my classmates ( Bob Lodge) was executed by the enema after bailing out on that flight, but he and Steve were leading the pack to be aces. Steve made it.

Snake should be able to help here, as I have stated.

Gums sends ...

Unread postPosted: 13 Nov 2006, 02:56
by Snake-1
Snake's Up!!!!

To add to what old gums (toothless!!) says it was quite different in 72 then it was in 67-68 and although I never had the privilege of working with or talking to Olds I had quite a few chances to review old times with Chappie James and work with his son (Danny -- now a two star in the Texas Guard). Also met and talked at length with Steve over the years (and he's mellowed quite a bit over time Gums).

The big thing I noticed with the Bolo raid was that they threw the ROE overboard and everyone was a shooter. But the greatest thing was the spirit that they went there with and how that spirit grew between flights as the fight progressed. To get seven 21's in thirteen minutes deserved bragging rights for a long time to come and even built confidence in those slated to go to SEA and had never faced the elephant before.

The biggest thing we had in 72 at Korat was first of all the many varied missions of each of the squadrons there. We had the mudmovers, air to air, fast fac's, the Weasels, Hunter-Killers, Disco, and the ECM birds all in the same briefings on the same air patch. So the after action get togethers was an on going study of changing tactics, new targets and threats, and ideas to improve operations and mutual support. It wasn't anything like your first meeting your counterpart at 20 grand crossing the Black on egress to Bulls-Eye hoping that he had his stuff together.

Next was that in 72 we had a very good mix of new guys to veterans on either their second or third tour downtown. And that re-assuring voice in lead to a scared SH$$less blue four on his first time down the boulevard of broken dreams was priceless. So was the past knowledge they willingly gave to the FNG's. It might have been a little old and dated but was still valued as another way to skin the cat.

Gummo --- I don't remember ever throwing out the ROE on a visual sighting before you shot in 72 unless as you say the shooters were well ahead of any friendlies and either Disco, or Red Crown were 1000% certain they were bad guys. It wasn't hard spotting a double ugly but the others needed eye balls on before you pulled the trigger. But then again I always went in in the gaggle so the rules were definitely adhered to in that case. But now with J-Stars, AWACS, and BVR munitions it must be a completely different world out there. My only hope is that in the next one (and it is coming!!!!) we don't make the same mistake we did before in not training our guys for the good old fashion dog-fight with a completely dissimilar aircraft.


Unread postPosted: 13 Nov 2006, 05:26
by fiskerwad

Unread postPosted: 13 Nov 2006, 16:19
by Snake-1

Thanks for the Tally.

Great Article and kind of says it all.


Unread postPosted: 13 Nov 2006, 19:05
by fiskerwad

Here's another take on it from Thud Ridge:

What's that quote, "Lest we forget...", something like that.

Fisk's out

Unread postPosted: 14 Nov 2006, 04:02
by Gums

Roger that, Snake. I'll have to confirm the urban legend about the ROE.

My understanding was that the Oyster flight had clearance to fire HO. I can see a scenario with the sweep flight and great coverage by Disco and Red Crown giving clearance.

Talking with the Desert Storm troops also gave me the impression that they fired HO BVR. Same for the Mig shootdown in Libya by the squids back in '86 or so.

For all you yutes out there. Listen up!!! The ROE prolly resulted in more MIA/KIA and POW's than any Mig or SAM ever built. Think about this if you ever have to command folks in actual combat.


Gums sends ...

P.S. One of the neat things about Olds and James was they called themselves "Blackman and Robin". Still laugh about that one.

Unread postPosted: 18 Nov 2006, 23:05
by Snake-1
Hey Guys!!!!

Just had the opportunity to watch number three in the series "Dogfight" on the history channel (Friday nights out here) that pitted the Flying Tigers against several types of Japanese fighters. So far the first three offerings are pretty much what we've been saying all along -- ie -- we have always had the privilege of going into a battle with an inferior airship (in some way or another) and come out the winner on the other side. This has to say a boat load about recognizing our faults, recognizing the others guys faults and then going to school to exploit their faults and minimize ours.

And although all these presentations are of old battles the one infallible fact is that the great guys behind the sticks and their training were the ones that won the battles.


Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2006, 07:05
by LordOfBunnies
It does seem odd, for the longest time, other countries' stuff was better. Yet we almost always (I don't want to generalize to everything) came out on top in the conflicts. It all seems to be due to training. So now that we have the most bad @ss stuff in the world, well if things persist like they were going then it will be a slaughter in the skies. Though the rest of the world has also updated their training so it won't be as easy.

Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2006, 07:48
by Snake-1
I'll bet you ten to one that we make almost the same mistakes again. First cut back DACT and the Aggressors because dogfighting will be out of date. Second, we don't need to teach DACT because of BVR's, J-Stars, Awacs and all the other gee-whiz weapons. What they seem to forget is that when all the electronic goods and treats go tits up its back to the grease pencil and eyeballs to do the job.

Anyone want to take the bet?????


Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2006, 12:12
by RoAF
Snake, I've got a couple of questions for you regarding VPAF:

1. Did they use the radar-guided AA-1 Alkali? Or just the IR AA-2 Atoll and guns?

2. What was the weaponry used by the MiG-19s? 2x 30mm guns only (MiG-19P) or did they also have the version with 4 AA-1 Alkali (MiG-19PM) and no cannons. There was also a wild rumor about adapting Atolls to MiG-19.

You must have had some kind of intelligence briefings about the enemy's equipment, maybe you can answer this.
Thank you.

Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2006, 17:00
by Snake-1
The only things that were poked my way were either a heat seeker or tracer ball ammo. You got to remember that these guys primary attack was a one pass haul a$$ out of the deep six position. And since we would always have a high energy level in the threat area the heat plume must have been huge.

Never went against a 19. All of our engagements were against 21's.


Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2006, 17:59
by Gums

I never understood why the North Vee didn't use a radar-guided missile.

For sure, they had a target-rich environment.

1) Could have been afraid of friendly fire, but I DON"T THINK SO!

2) Could be they were concerned that the radar lock would give them away, whereas the Atolls were "stealthy".

A famous quote I have on tape from LB II is from a DeSoto MIGCAP bird. The two guys are talking in their parachutes ... First call from the chute was "This is Desoto x Alpha, could you tell what hit us?" heh heh.

It was no mystery, as Red Crown and Disco were calling out a "black" bandit and providing great location for others to intercept. My understanding was that "Blue" bandits were Fishbeds, but maybe when they were RTB they called all of them "black".

The Mig had sneaked up and hosed at the Desoto flight and nailed one.

We were all glad the guy hadn't picked on our SLUF flights, as we were meat on the table. SO my sincere thanks went out to Snake and the other MIGCAP troops for protecting us, even if it meant soaking up an Atoll, heh heh.

Maybe a Viet troop somewhere's around could enlighten us.

Gums sends

Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2006, 19:23
by RoAF
I never understood why the North Vee didn't use a radar-guided missile.

Let me have a shot at this. They had 2 options:

AA-1 Alkali, an early missile, not too maneuvrable, with a range of only 6km. Could be attached to some versions of MiG-17(PF), MiG-19(PM) as well as MiG-21s (except the early MiG-21F-13 variant). Since the MiG-17 and 19 had only guns, and couldn't use the IR AA-2, the AA-1 would have been useful - they could carry 4. But than again the radar-equipped versions of those fighters were much more expensive and difficult to service that the ones with guns only.

R-3R - the SARH version of the AA-2, which could be carried only by later MiG-21s (PF, PFM, M, MF) not by the early MiG-21F-13. Well, since it had roughly the same range as the IR version, it gave no advantage to the attacker, only to the attacked - RWRs going off, time for evasive maneuvers...

Hope this helps.

Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2006, 22:04
by Snake-1
Hey El-Gummo!!!

I just spent the better part of the last hour trying to find "Black Bandit" in the numerous reference doc's I have and have come up with zip.

Yes, the 21's were "Blue Bandits, and the 19's were "Red Bandits" but I can't find any reference to the 17's and I know there was one (maybe it was Black).

As for the Crown or Disco using that for an RTB bird I don't think that they would garbage up the airways with that identifier (then they would have to have one for the 17 and 19 also). I believe that their philosophy was if it was airborne or a threat they'd just call it. And three identifiers was more then enough to remember in a hot environment.


Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2006, 23:28
by TC
Snake and Gums, I've also heard "Yellow Bandits" in radio tapes. Weren't those MiG-17s?

Unread postPosted: 20 Nov 2006, 06:10
by Gums

Yeppers, Snake, I only have the one tape of Crown calling the dude a "black" bandit.

I'll play it for ya next year at the rejoin.

Way we were briefed was red, white and blue. The 17's were white, 19's red and 21's blue. That right?

The words from Crown were, "possible black bandit, xxx from Bullseye, heading xxx". Then it was "xxx from bullseye, possible landing at Gia Lam". And then we heard bearings from bullseye indicating the guy was doing an arc around ground zero. So maybe he was staying outta the SAM engagement zone. All of us talked about the term "black bandit". Never heard it again, but it could have been an inside deal for the Crown folks. Disco never used the term that day, and they were trying to get another F-4 MIGCAP to hit the bandit. Tink it was Pontiac, but will have to review the tape. The wimp called "texaco", but that was expected from Double Ugly troops, always outta gas even when waiting for takeoff.

Heh heh. One great war story we had was a SLUF that landed at Udorn after a problem. Got fixed, got gas and taxied to end of runway. Big time delay due to a strike mission and weather.

Tower asks the SLUF what his "abort time" was.

SLUF driver scratches head, then asks, "What the hell is abort time?".

Tower, "How much time before you have to taxi back and get more gas".

SLUF driver looks at gas. Maybe 13,000 or more pounds. Maybe 1500 pounds to get to Korat from Udorn, plus 1000 pounds reserve. Burning about 500 pounds per hour sitting there and 1500 pounds per hour cruising 30 minutes to get home. So let's see........ His math wasn't so good, so he told the tower, "another 7 or 8 hours".


Gums sends

Unread postPosted: 21 Nov 2006, 14:21
by HunterKiller
On this previous analysis about MiG-21

Better read this if you can russian (MiG-21 two seater pilot manual)

Unread postPosted: 21 Nov 2006, 14:26
by HunterKiller
RoAF wrote:Snake, I've got a couple of questions for you regarding VPAF:
2. What was the weaponry used by the MiG-19s? 2x 30mm guns only (MiG-19P) or did they also have the version with 4 AA-1 Alkali (MiG-19PM) and no cannons. There was also a wild rumor about adapting Atolls to MiG-19.
You must have had some kind of intelligence briefings about the enemy's equipment, maybe you can answer this.
Thank you.

RoaF, NVAF had also Chinese supplied F-6's alongside with MiG-19s. F-6 is Chinese built MiG-19, which has both two 30 mike-mike and Alkali's and this jurassic radar set.

Unread postPosted: 21 Nov 2006, 16:34
by Snake-1

How about translating it and post the pertinent parts here??


Unread postPosted: 27 Nov 2006, 00:33
by Snake-1

Just watched number 4 in the the "Dogfight" series and it kind of hammered home most of the things I was saying to Hunter Killer. Number 1 was Randy Cunningham against 19's -- don't get into a turning fight. Number 2, was P-40 against Zeros-- don't get into a turning fight. Number 3 Robin Olds and "Bolo" -- don't get into a turning fight. And Number 4 the Wildcats against Zeros and Oscars -- Don't get into a turning fight. Always lacking in something our birds still came out the winners -- that's got to say something about the training and the guys in the seat.

Number 5 is next friday (12/1 on the History Channel) and again addresses the F-4 over Hanoi going against 21's.

Anyone want to guess at what rule one will be??????


Unread postPosted: 29 Nov 2006, 23:33
by Weasel_Keeper
"FYI--The dogfights show covering the Thorsness MoH mission will air on Fri, 5 Jan, on the History Channel at 2100. Its a two-hour episode (which also covers a WWII engagement), so his segment might not be on until the second half of the show."

This comes via email to the Society of Wild Weasels from Jeff Duford, USAF Museum Curator (and honorary Weasel) who's advising quite a few of the "Dogfights" shows.

Unread postPosted: 28 Dec 2006, 12:19
by RoAF
I've just come across this picture (or still) on the net, no explanations attached, just that it's from Vietnam. Could someone explain what's in the image?
Looks to me like a SAM just missing that F-105...

Unread postPosted: 29 Dec 2006, 01:11
by TC
Looks like he may have actually been damaged by that SAM exploding. It appears as if he's streaming fuel and is on fire. That flame looks too big to be an afterburner. It would be interesting to hear from Gums and Snake on this, as they would have better insight.

Unread postPosted: 02 Jan 2007, 22:58
by Gums

The jet was hit by a SA-2. Classic explosion from one of those, and I have personally seen one go off right in front of me (targeted at flight about a mile in front).

Can't figure out who took the pic, as the angles don't look right for a Thud or Double Ugly. Could have been a Navy jet, but beatsthehellouttame.


Unread postPosted: 03 Jan 2007, 05:10
by TC
Gums, it looks like he punched off those two bombs with the MER. They don't seem to be attached to anything else, and they are behind the contrail. Not sure what that plane could have been...Skyhawk, or Intruder perhaps?

Unread postPosted: 05 Jan 2007, 22:16
by Snake-1


I don't think the MER was jettisoned as it appears (if you look real hard) to be attached to a pylon at the edge of the picture.

Also I don't think that what you are seeing is a contrail from the photo taking bird but instead a vapor trail that you sometines get from high G loading. Besides that when you jettisoned something from the birds of that time it would rapidly tumble away and not retain the same flight path of the aircraft.


Unread postPosted: 06 Jan 2007, 19:55
by TC
Ah, gotcha Snake. At first, I wasn't sure if that was a pylon, or a shockwave. Now, I see that it's actually both. Looks like he's breaking right. But I agree with Gums on this one. The angles make it hard to tell what type aircraft it is. Could it possibly a Thud with an external camera taking the shot?

Unread postPosted: 06 Jan 2007, 20:35
by Snake-1

You got me by the short and curlies!!!

I can't think of any bird of that era where you could crank around far enough in the cockpit to see that MER. Again maybe its a Navy Bird.

Additionally, I don't think its a pod photo as those are usually mounted to track ordnance deilvery.

If it was hand held and if the bird were loaded up to create those con's imagine the G loading on the pilot and stead hand he had to take that shot. His neck must have been as thick as a telephone post.


Unread postPosted: 11 Jan 2007, 13:41
by MKopack
I can't say for sure, but according to:
Several F-105Ds were provided with a combat camera mounted in a protrusion on the lower nose just behind the radome.

I think I recall seeing this camera 'addition' as an angular box under the nose and I believe that it had the capability (at least from the windows) for taking a photo to the rear, straight down the centerline of the aircraft, making the MER in the photo possibily carried on the centerline station.

Wait, here's more (a lot more, sorry...):
A new concept for measuring accuracy in combat came as a side product of the introduction of a new camera to the Vietnamese war theater. This was the Fairchild KA-71A and its follow-on model, the KB-18, a panoramic strike camera of high resolution designed to be carried aboard fighter-bomber type aircraft. The first cameras delivered to Southeast Asia were mounted in the nose of the F-l05, not for the purpose of measuring accuracy but to document what the pilot did; that is, what target he attacked and what damage ensued. The primary objective in using the camera was expressed in Air Force Regulation 95-13 as being the immediate evaluation of strike effectiveness. Such was the need for documentation that Lieutenant General William W. Momyer said, in July 1967, that we wanted a strike camera on every strike aircraft. Plans were therefore made to fit F-l05s, F-4s, F-l00s, and A-37s with the camera.

This camera, either housed in the body of the aircraft or carried in an external pod, was activated by the aircraft’s weapons release button and ran automatically for a preset length of time between 2 and 32 seconds. The lens aperture was controlled by an automatic internal light meter, and one, two, or four still pictures could be taken each second. With 250 feet of film, the capacity of the camera, approximately 300 exposures could be made. Designed for use in fighter or reconnaissance aircraft, the camera, with a rotating prism in front of the lens, was able to record, in one nine-inch frame, a scene encompassing 180 degrees vertically, fore and aft, and 40 degrees laterally. Such a side view of field generally recorded the complete flight path of the weapons from release to impact, no matter what aircraft maneuvers were performed after weapons release. Resolution of the resultant pictures was high and allowed precise location of weapon impact points.

Initial viewing of the product of this new camera, with its excellent portrayal of the battle scene, gave rise to the idea of measuring accuracy. To this end, a test program was started at the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, Korat Royal Thai Air Base, in August 1967 to evaluate the F 105 on combat missions. The method of measurement developed was relatively simple. At the end of each daylight mission, the pilot of every strike aircraft was individually shown an intelligence prestrike photo of the target area and asked to indicate exactly where it was he was trying to center his bombfall. Such indication of the DMPI was made with an “X” mark. While this debriefing was going on, the film, which had been downloaded as soon as the aircraft landed, was being developed, an approximately 20-minute process. With prompt handling, the film was available for viewing at the completion of the pilot debriefing process. By careful analysis of the sequence of still photos, the weapons could actually be followed after their release from the aircraft to impact on the ground. Then by use of readily identifiable ground landmarks, bomb impact points were plotted on the original prestrike photo on which the pilot had indicated his target.


Unread postPosted: 11 Jan 2007, 15:59
by Snake-1

Read your offering with interest and maybe the Thud did carry such a camera from time to time (Busch has some experience here and maybe could add something to this). We also, from time to time, carried such a pod on the Hun and the double ugly but it wasn't an everyday thing and more of a PR gimmick then a strike evaluation de brief item. Maybe-- and this is a big maybe --- they put them on the A-37 but I never carried any. GUMS ?????

THe problem with on board camera's --- no matter which way they were pointed was they weren't worth a damn under high G loading conditions. The motors just weren't strong enough to pull the film through the cameras.
And you will notice on the rearward pictures you sometimes see on the Military or History Channel the delivery was shallow and the pull off very mild in comparison to what we did up north. Once you pulled more ten 3 or 4 G's the things were usless. On the good strike pictures you see --- they are usually shot though the gun camera after the roll in on the target and going down the chute. This was accomplished by pulling the trigger to the first indent which would energize the gun camera. And if it was either 3 or 4 in the flight you could get a fair idea of what kind of coverage or bomb damage you got (if you could see through the smoke).

The same held true for the small portable audio cassette players we use to carry to record our missions. Spent alot of money trying to find one that would work right but never found the one that could do the whole job without dragging.


Unread postPosted: 12 Jan 2007, 12:37
by MKopack
Thanks Snake, I just thought that I remembered the camera under the nose (as a 12 year old kid on the flightline with the VA ANG's last 'Chief's) and I thought I'd throw it in.

What was the Hun like to fly, especially thinking back after you transitioned to the F-4, and others? There was quite a 'generational' change in technology between them. I also had the opportunity to spend some time on the flightline around the MA and CT ANG's 'Super Sabres' and one of those aviation memories that I'll never forget was watching an entire squadron 'elephant walk' from EOR, the noise, the smoke, all of those hard lightling afterburners in a MITO launch with each acft going into a max climb at the far end of the runway.


Great thing about this website is that if you have a question about something, you don't have to trust Wikipedia, you can ask somebody who was actually there.


Unread postPosted: 15 Jan 2007, 20:03
by Snake-1

The Hun was a great bird in its time but when loaded up with ordnance it couldn't carry much nor go that far. WE used to have a saying at Bien Hoa in the A-37 --- i.e., we could go futher, stay longer, and deliver more and be more accurate then the Hun. Used to drive the Hun drivers of that time nuts.

But back to the subject.

As I said the Hun was a great bird in the 50's and early 60's. But when the double ugly came into being wearing Air Force livery she rapidly became a second class citizen (just like the addition of any other new bird coming on line with all its improvements). Compared to the 4 the Hun was a little more sluggish in handling while the 4 handled and had the same quick responses of the T-38. In fact, alot of the early students to the 4 fresh out of UPT were surprised at how such a big a$$ bird could handle so easily. Then there was the superior acceleration of the 4 with its great big 79's over the Hun. And as for ordnance you had the 4 sparrows, 4 sidewinders (on shoulder mounts on the pylons), later the gun, and a very wide variety of weapons packages that you could carry a greater distance then the old Super Sabre. And the lower wing loading made the 4 much more maneuverable.

At the risk or getting shot by all the loyal viper jocks out there I've got to say that my favorite of all the birds I flew (including the Viper) has to remain the 4. Maybe its my age, or experience I had with her, or how many times she brought me home although she was really hurting she's still my favorite.

Or maybe I was just to old to fathom what a great bird the Viper was and is today. Sure wish we would have had it in SEA. The kill rate would be vastly different then what is listed in the history books today.


Unread postPosted: 05 Mar 2008, 06:39
by maddog2840
This post is my attempt to bring a great thread back to the top of the list.


Unread postPosted: 07 Mar 2008, 18:58
by Gums

TNX, dog, we need to talk about history or we'll be "doomed to ....

Snake and I flew the ThunderSqeack together back in '68. Was a blast to pass thru 16K and zoom up to 20K while the Huns were maxed out at 15K and had to use burner to get higher. And we were carrying more weight, but our gross weight was less than theirs.

I passed on every chance to fly the Rhino. Something about single-seat, single-engine has always appealed to a warrior. The knights of old had one heart, and they rode a beast with only one heart. Somehow, that poetic concept gets to ya, doesn't it?

I truly respect the Snake, and it's funny, but the day we got to Korat in 1972 a wild man was buzzing the field. Whazzup? A double-ugly puke says, the guy just got a Mig kill. Ohhh, neat. Turns out it was the Snake, heh heh.

Let's face it, the Rhino carried the load for many years and has a special place in history and our souls.

That being said, the plane depends upon the environment. I would take the Dragonfly any day in 'ghan. Over Iraq I would like the Viper. But when distance to tgt is 300 miles ( no tankers around) and you have to drop a ton of eggs, I'd take the SLUF.


Gums sends ...

Unread postPosted: 07 Mar 2008, 19:26
by Snake-1

You are right---- there is nothing at all like a single seat "go fast machine" with lotsa stuff to let loose on the bad guy.
But in that era long long ago up over the north going in with an eight hundred pound gorilla and gomer throwing everything at us, including the kitchen sink, there was nothing better then that second set of eyeballs, and Billy was the best there was, to spot what you missed.

I also agree with your follow on set of birds for the Iraq, Afgan area.

That little super Tweet was a Hellava bird to fly and the last of the man and machine era (now--- man, computer, machine). What was great to see at Bien Hoa in 72, when we did a sortie recovered at Bien Hoa and then flew another sortie home was the ramps in front of the "Ramrods, Buzzards, and Dice" were now A-37s and no more F-100s. Must have driven those Hun drivers crazy to transition into a bird that gave alot of S&*@ to.


By the By you missed a grerat reunion---- the best yet.

Thread worth reading for history buffs

Unread postPosted: 29 Apr 2012, 19:20
by Gums

Had to do some research and remembered this one.

Gums sends...

Unread postPosted: 04 Aug 2012, 07:54
by maddog2840
Here's some Keith Ferris Artwork.

Unread postPosted: 04 Aug 2012, 07:57
by maddog2840
The River Rats. The Red River Flying Club. What others?

Unread postPosted: 04 Aug 2012, 08:02
by maddog2840
RoAF wrote:I've just come across this picture (or still) on the net, no explanations attached, just that it's from Vietnam. Could someone explain what's in the image?
Looks to me like a SAM just missing that F-105...

This picture (on page 17) solves the discussion about the MDS with the bombs on the rack. Not jettisoned. Just hanging on the centerline with the Thud doing about a 90-135 to the right.

Unread postPosted: 04 Aug 2012, 19:09
by outlaw162
Interesting thread.

And the lower wing loading made the 4 much more maneuverable.

(quote compares F-100 to F-4)

That's incorrect. 7.33 g corner for the clean F-100 was ~50 knots lower than the corner for the clean F-4.

And at slow speed (below 300ish) the F-4 was not only no match for an F-100 in a turning fight, but had the same considerable difficulty with the A-7. :shock:

Unread postPosted: 07 Aug 2012, 07:16
by Roscoe
Just finished "Palace Cobra: A Fighter Pilot in the Vietnam Air War " by Ed Rasimus. He flew Thuds in his first tour (See his book "When Thunder Rolled: An F-105 Pilot Over North Vietnam") and went back for a second tour flying F-4E out of Korat.

Recommend both books highly.

Unread postPosted: 07 Aug 2012, 13:24
by southernphantom
I haven't read When Thunder Rolled, but Palace Cobra was fantastic. I have to reccommend it highly as well; that book served as a lot of the technical reference for my writing (and still does for tactics/operations) until I got into the highly technical stuff out of the 1F-4C-1.


Unread postPosted: 28 Jan 2014, 05:31
by sorrydog
RoAF wrote:I've just come across this picture (or still) on the net, no explanations attached, just that it's from Vietnam. Could someone explain what's in the image?
Looks to me like a SAM just missing that F-105...

I remember looking at this picture for a while a few years ago trying to figure out what kind of plane it was, but finally came across the details of the origin from Bob Smith's autobio. It was filmed by a weasel crew who had just fired a shrike. Many of the Thuds carried a 70mm camera on the belly that activated on bomb or missile release. Obviously that is the centerline MER up close in the pic. The plane hit was D model Thud flown by Capt. Bob Elliot, and quite sadly was never found. The the strike was for the Doumer bridge, and the date is Feb 14, '68.

Considering the missions that they flew, I am amazed at the amount of respect they deserve.

Re: Air tactics during the Vietnam War

Unread postPosted: 18 Feb 2014, 01:28
by ruderamronbo
Shows how times, and people, change... ... iends.html

"Fifty years ago, they were trying to kill each other in Vietnam. Now they hang out "

Re: Air tactics during the Vietnam War

Unread postPosted: 18 Feb 2014, 07:49
by edpop
Speaking of air tactics in Vietnam, I was a ground guy who was there in 1967 who really appreciated all the close air support we got from the Air Force and the Marines. Nothing like seeing an F-4 rolling in throwing Zuni's out the front and then coming back and making a second pass and dropping napalm out the back. Many guys owe their lives to these guys and their ability to put metal on the target!!

Re: Air tactics during the Vietnam War

Unread postPosted: 19 Apr 2014, 13:48
by zaltys
I have read entire thread with great enjoyment. Thank you everyone!

Re: Air tactics during the Vietnam War

Unread postPosted: 31 May 2014, 20:50
by ruderamronbo
Two former Vietnam War foes were re-united for the online show, “Old Guys and Their Airplanes.” Col. John Stiles (Ret) of the United States Air Force and Lt. Nguyen Hong My (Ret) of the North Vietnamese Air Force tell their story of combat and the unlikely friendship that has come about, over 40 years after the war ended.!

Nguyen Hong My is credited with shooting Stiles’ RF-4C Phantom jet down on January 20, 1972. Yet, the two men have learned how to reconcile their dramatic moments and turn it into a surprising friendship.“Old Guys and Their Airplanes,” a popular online show featuring the interviews and artwork of historian/ artist John Mollison, flew Stiles to Hanoi, Vietnam, this past March to re-unite with Hong My on what was once “enemy soil.” The result is an episode that is at once informative and inspiring.

Source: ... ilots.html