Tuesday, July 4, 2017

TheList 4492


The List 4492
To All,
I hope that you all have a great fourth of July. Great story at the end.
This Day In Naval History - July 4
1776 - American colonies declare their independence from Great Britain
1777 - John Paul Jones hoists first Stars and Stripes flag on Ranger at Portsmouth, NH.
1801 - First Presidential Review of U.S. Marine Band and Marines at the White House.
1831 - U.S. concludes indemnity treaty with France.
1842 - First test of electrically operated underwater torpedo sinks gunboat Boxer
1863 - Confederates surrender of Vicksburg, MS, gives Union control of Mississippi River.
American Revolution
Today in History July 4
12 slaves are executed for starting an uprising in New York that killed nine whites.
The amended Declaration of Independence, prepared by Thomas Jefferson, is approved and signed by John Hancock--President of the Continental Congress--and Charles Thomson, Congress secretary. The state of New York abstains from signing.
Construction begins on the Erie Canal, to connect Lake Erie and the Hudson River.
Two of America's founding fathers--Thomas Jefferson and John Adams--die.
The fifth president of the United States, James Monroe, dies at the age of 73.
Henry David Thoreau begins his 26-month stay at Walden Pond.
Walt Whitman publishes the first edition of Leaves of Grass at his own expense.
Charles Dodgson first tells the story of Alice's adventures down the rabbit hole during a picnic along the Thames.
The Confederate town of Vicksburg, Mississippi, surrenders to General Ulysses S. Grant.
Billy the Kid is shot dead in New Mexico.
After seizing power, Judge Stanford B. Dole declares Hawaii a republic.
The poem America the Beautiful is first published.
William H. Taft becomes the American governor of the Philippines.
Race riots break out all over the United States after African American Jack Johnson knocks out Jim Jeffries in a heavyweight boxing match.
Novelist James Joyce and Nora Barnacle are married in London after being together for 26 years.
Boxer Joe Louis wins his first professional fight.
The United States grants the Philippine Islands their independence.
The 50-star flag makes its debut in Philadelphia.
An Israeli raid at Entebbe airport in Uganda rescues 105 hostages.
Thanks to Chuck
4th of July Fireworks U.S. Navy Style - YouTube
We should be very proud of U.S. history
Posted: 03/12/15, 10:05 PM PDT Updated: on 03/12/2015
By Andy Logar
The "My Word" article entitled "Our history is nothing to be proud about" (Times-Standard, Feb. 4, Page A4) by Sylvia De Rooy deserves a rejoinder because it is a catalogue of only the bad — deplorable actions and events that stain America's history. Some of them no doubt may be true, some perhaps open to interpretation or even direct refutation. Instead of addressing the charges made I'll address only the commendable, the good that America has done and stands for, and let the reader decide on balance what to believe. It's perhaps because I am a very grateful and proud naturalized American, an immigrant from a country once occupied by Nazis, and then taken over by communists, that I perhaps offer a broader perspective of America's laudable history.
Since the 1776 Declaration of Independence, America has grown from a population of about 3 million to over 320 million people in 2015, from 13 states to 50, spanning the continent and including Alaska and Hawaii. To gain and keep freedom, Americans fought and won the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Without delving into the justifications for the Mexican-American or Spanish American wars — the end result of these was a nation with enormous geographic and strategic advantages that would eventually propel America to superpower status. This proved critical in the 20th century because it was predominantly America that rescued the world from tyranny — fascist, Nazi and Communist.
America has led the world in innovation, bringing to the fore such breakthroughs as the: cotton gin, steam boat, telegraph, telephone, incandescent lighting, DC and then AC electric power, mass production, aviation, radio, television, nuclear energy, the transistor, the computer and the current revolution in information technology. And almost as an aside, America sent men to the moon 46 years ago and brought them back safely — six times. In high technology, America is the envy of the world and is the nation that brilliant innovators from the world-over gravitate to in order to best pursue their dreams and build their fortunes — which enrich us all. American innovative preeminence is further evidenced by the fact that native, or foreign-born Americans, have consistently won the lion's share of Nobel prizes in science, technology and economics.
In the realm of governance America has delivered the world a unique and longest lived democracy — with an amendable constitution that we the people can modify to accommodate the needs of a continuously evolving society. To expunge the evil of slavery the Civil War was fought during which over 600,000 American lives were sacrificed — but the end result was ultimately a better, still evolving nation. Almost a century after the end of the Civil War blacks and minorities were finally granted full democratic participation through the epochal Civil Rights Act of 1964 followed by then the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Undoubtedly some racial discrimination remains, but much diminished, as evidenced by the 2008 election of Barack Obama, the first black president.
During the Cold War it was patently easy to determine whether the Communist East or Democratic West were the models to follow. All one had to do was note the refugees' direction of travel — their feet would unerringly vote for the West — and for America. Today, the Cold War over, now noting the direction of current immigration flow is key, essentially all of it proceeding into, and not out of, the United States. Therefore, America must be doing something right, past warts and all.
Currently, America allows into the country over 1 million immigrants a year — more than all the world's nations combined. In so doing, 60 percent are allowed entry on the principle of family reunification — not on the basis of skills the nation's needs — an overly generous policy insofar as 20 years after arrival, 43 percent of immigrants are still on welfare, according to a 2012 report from the Center for Immigration Studies. This is a compassionate nation.
America is a magnificent yet still unfolding experiment, one which has not yet attained its evolutionary zenith, but certainly a nation like none other. Since our founding we've made mistakes but have corrected them as we've gradually evolved into an ever better country. Thankfully, and incontestably, we remain the shining city on a hill and the last best hope of mankind. Be very proud of America.
Andy Logar resides in Santa Rosa and can be contacted at alogar@sbcglobal.net.
Thanks to Chuck
VIDEO: Citizens Don't Know What Country We Seceded From In 1776Happy 4th of July.... sigh.
Today on Fighter Sweep
Watch: Su-35 Shows Off at The Paris Air Show!
Russia's state technology corporation Rostec will showcase an engine for its famous Sukhoi Su-35 (Flanker-E) at the world's oldest air show in France, the company said on Monday. Some 37 Russian organizations are expected View More ›
US Congress May Approve Supersonic Flight Over Land With New NASA 'Quiet' Technology
Congress is considering lifting the ban on supersonic flight over land due to dramatic new developments in 'quiet' supersonic flight technology. They are including directives in the FAA re-authorization bills to View More ›
Thanks to Chuck
RT Intruder: 44 Years Later, Efforts to Find SOG Recon Team Continue | SOFREP
Thanks to Robert
Each year I am hired to go to Washington , DC , with the eighth grade class from Clinton ,   WI where I grew up, to videotape their trip. I greatly enjoy visiting our nation's capital, and each year I take some special memories back with me.  This fall's trip was especially memorable.
On the last night of our trip, we stopped at the Iwo Jima memorial. This memorial is the largest bronze statue in the world and depicts one of the most famous photographs in history -- that of the six brave soldiers raising the American Flag at the top of a rocky hill on the island of Iwo Jima , Japan , during WW II.
Over one hundred students and chaperones piled off the buses and headed towards the memorial. I noticed a solitary figure at the base of the statue, and as I got closer he asked, 'Where are you guys from?'
I told him that we were from Wisconsin .  'Hey, I'm a cheese head, too! Come gather around, Cheese heads, and I will tell you a story.'
(It was James Bradley, who just happened to be in Washington , DC , to speak at the memorial the following day.  He was there that night to say good night to his dad, who had passed away.  He was just about to leave when he saw the buses pull up.  I videotaped him as he spoke to us, and received his permission to share what he said from my videotape.  (It is one thing to tour the incredible monuments filled with history in Washington, D. C., but it is quite another to get the kind of insight we received that night.)
When all had gathered around, he reverently began to speak.  (Here are his words that night.)
'My name is James Bradley and I'm from Antigo, Wisconsin .  My dad is on that statue, and I wrote a book called 'Flags of Our Fathers'.  It is the story of the six boys you see behind me.  'Six boys raised the flag.
The first guy putting the pole in the ground is Harlon Block. Harlon was an all-state football player. He enlisted in the Marine Corps with all the senior members of his football team.  They were off to play another type of game.  A game called 'War.'   But it didn't turn out to be a game.  Harlon, at the age of 21, died with his intestines in his hands.  I don't say that to gross you out, I say that because there are people who stand in front of this statue and talk about the glory of war.  You guys need to know that most of the boys in Iwo Jima were 17, 18, and 19 years old - and it was so hard that the ones who did make it home never even would talk to their families about it.
(He pointed to the statue) 'You see this next guy?  That's Rene Gagnon from New Hampshire .  If you took Rene's helmet off at the moment this photo was taken and looked in the webbing of that helmet, you would find a photograph...a photograph of his girlfriend.  Rene put that in there for protection because he was scared.  He was 18 years old.  It was just boys who won the battle of Iwo Jima .  Boys.  Not old men.
'The next guy here, the third guy in this tableau, was Sergeant Mike Strank.  Mike is my hero. He was the hero of all these guys. They called him the 'old man' because he was so old.  He was already 24.  When Mike would motivate his boys in training camp, he didn't say,  'Let's go kill some Japanese' or 'Let's die for our country'.  He knew he was talking to little boys.. Instead he would say, 'You do what I say, and I'll get you home to your mothers.'
'The last guy on this side of the statue is Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian from Arizona .  Ira Hayes was one of them who lived to walk off  Iwo Jima .  He went into the White House with my dad.  President Truman told him,  'You're a hero'.  He told reporters, 'How can I feel like a hero when 250 of my buddies hit the island with me and only 27 of us walked off alive?'  So you take your class at school, 250 of you spending a year together having fun, doing everything together.  Then all 250 of you hit the beach, but only 27 of your classmates walk off alive.  That was Ira Hayes. He had images of horror in his mind.  Ira Hayes carried the pain home with him and eventually died dead drunk, face down, drowned in a very shallow puddle, at the age of 32 (ten years after this picture was taken).
'The next guy, going around the statue, is Franklin Sousley from Hilltop, Kentucky .  A fun-lovin' hillbilly boy.  His best friend, who is now 70, told me, 'Yeah, you know, we took two cows up on the porch of the Hilltop General Store.  Then we strung wire across the stairs so the cows couldn't get down.  Then we fed them Epsom salts. Those cows crapped all night.'  Yes, he was a fun-lovin' hillbilly boy.  Franklin died on Iwo Jimaat the age of 19.  When the telegram came to tell his mother that he was dead, it went to the Hilltop General Store.  A barefoot boy ran that telegram up to his mother's farm. The neighbors could hear her scream all night and into the morning.  Those neighbors lived a quarter of a mile away.
'The next guy, as we continue to go around the statue, is my dad, John Bradley, from Antigo, Wisconsin , where I was raised.  My dad lived until 1994, but he would never give interviews.  When Walter Cronkite's producers or the New York Times would call, we were trained as little kids to say 'No, I'm sorry, sir, my dad's not here.  He is in Canada fishing.  No, there is no phone there, sir.  No, we don't know when he is coming back.'  My dad never fished or even went to Canada .  Usually, he was sitting there right at the table eating his Campbell 's soup.  But we had to tell the press that he was out fishing.  He didn't want to talk to the press.  'You see, like Ira Hayes, my dad didn't see himself as a hero.  Everyone thinks these guys are heroes, 'cause they are in a photo and on a monument.  My dad knew better.  He was a medic.  John Bradley from Wisconsin was a combat caregiver.  On Iwo Jima he probably held over 200 boys as they died.  And when boys died on Iwo Jima , they writhed and screamed, without any medication or help with the pain.  'When I was a little boy, my third grade teacher told me that my dad was a hero.  When I went home and told my dad that, he looked  at me and said, 'I want you always to remember that the heroes of Iwo Jima are the guys who did not come back.  Did NOT come back.'
'So that's the story about six nice young boys.. Three died on Iwo Jima , and three came back as national heroes.  Overall, 7,000 boys died on Iwo Jima in the worst battle in the history of the Marine Corps. My voice is giving out, so I will end here.  Thank you for your time.'
Suddenly, the monument wasn't just a big old piece of metal with a flag sticking out of the top.  It came to life before our eyes with he heartfelt words of a son who did indeed have a father who was a hero.  Maybe not a hero for the reasons most people would believe, but a hero nonetheless.
One thing I learned while on tour with my 8th grade students in DC that is not mentioned here is . . that if you look at the statue very closely and count the number of 'hands' raising the flag, there are 13.  When the man who made the statue was asked why there were 13, he simply said the 13th hand was the hand of God. 
Great story - - worth every American's time.  
Thanks to Carl
Rare photo shows crow riding atop a flying bald eagle
A crow rides atop a flying bald eagle, "as if it was taking a free scenic ride." Photo: Phoo
July 4th
Let' s get this started ,NOW!

So it will be out there on the fourth!

For all of our other military personnel, where ever they may be.
Please Support all of the troops defending our Country. 
And God Bless our Military  
who are protecting our Country for our Freedom.
Thanks to them, and their sacrifices, we can celebrate the 4th of July.
We must never forget who gets the credit for the freedoms we have,  of which we should be eternally grateful. 
I watched the flag pass by one day. 
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it, 
And then he stood at ease. 
I looked at him in uniform; 
so young, so tall, so proud. 
With hair cut square and eyes alert, 
he'd stand out in any crowd.

I thought how many men like him 
had fallen through the years. 
How many died on foreign soil; 
how many mothers' tears?  

How many pilots' planes shot down? 
How many died at sea? 
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves? 

I heard the sound of Taps one night, 
when everything was still. 
I listened to the bugler play 
And felt a sudden chill. 
I wondered just how many times 
That Taps had meant 'Amen.'
When a flag had draped a coffin 
of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children, 
of the mothers and the wives, 
of fathers, sons and husbands 
With interrupted lives.

I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea.
Of unmarked graves in Arlington . 
Enjoy Your Freedom   and 
God Bless Our Troops.
When you receive this,  
please stop for a moment 
and say a prayer for our servicemen
Of all the gifts you could give a 
U.S. Soldier, prayer is the very best one.
God Bless all!
This is such a terrific story and so damn well written it is a MUST READ!!!
As we go into July 4th, remember those that gave us our freedom; and those that are still out there on the front lines......
The following story in a previous List was provided by Chuck who said that this is such a terrific story and so damn well written it is a MUST READ!!!
The following story My Last Combat Mission is about Billy Reid Sparks. I received a couple of email from those that read the article and knew him.
Keefer provided the following
Billy Reid Sparks, I'm proud to say, was my close lifelong friend.  I heard the tape of this mission a dozen times in his living room over very good scotch.  In my presence General Robin Olds called him, "the bravest man I've ever known".  Sparky was a helluva guy, in on the ground floor of the Wild Weazel force that led the Air Force strikes over Thud ridge into Hanoi.  As one of his friends said at his funeral last year, "We were scared, but it was always a lot better with Olds and Sparky up front."  Fair Winds.........
As we go into July 4th, remember those that gave us our freedom; and those that are still out there on the front lines......
My Last Combat Mission
November 5, 1967
I flew my 145th and last combat mission 5 Nov '67, not by choice. I had arrived at Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base on March 15, 1967 after completing the Wild Weasel School at Nellis. I talked to my boss, Lt Col Obie Dugan, who was commander of the 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron and our deal was that I would fly 100 missions as a Wild Weasel and then complete another 37 missions as a strike pilot. This would make me one of the first guys to get 200 missions in North Vietnam in an F-105, since I had flown 63 missions in '65 when the 563 TFS had been at Takhli for 4 months. In fact it would make me one of the first to get 200 in anything, since Carl Richter at Korat would be the first to finish 200 in September. My Boss sent me up the command chain. The Deputy for Operations for the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing (355TFW/DO), Colonel Bob White agreed as well. My next stop was with the Wing King of the 355 TFW, Colonel Bob Scott, Colonel Scott also agreed and I was off to the races.
By late October '67 I had flown 77 missions as a Wild Weasel and Carlo Lombardo and I had become a hell of a fine Weasel Crew. In October of '67, Colonel White was reassigned to Saigon to become the Director of Operations for all Out-Of-Country missions. He was the first director to have ever flown in the North and that, along with his excellent other qualifications, made him the best man for the job. All of us who flew in North Vietnam really needed someone who could walk and chew gum without gagging in that shop. We needed all the help we could get and Colonel White promised to be an absolute treasure. The only problem was that he needed an Electronic Weapons Officer (EWO) in his shop and wanted Carlo. Carlo Lombardo was easily the best choice for the job, but it would break up our team and I was selfish enough to want to keep him. Colonel White actually asked me, a lowly Captain, if he could take Carlo. I was forced to smile and be a nice boy. I became an instant Strike Pilot and also "D" Flight Commander instead of "E" Flight (Weasel) Commander.
Colonel White took me in to see our Wing Commander, Colonel Giraudo, who had replaced Colonel Scott in the summer. Colonel Giraudo, AKA The Great Kahuna, reluctantly agreed to let me finish out my remaining 60 missions for the magic 200. Carl Richter had been killed recently with only a couple to go for 200 and the all of the Brass were a bit nervous about allowing anyone to try for the 200 mark. I would rather have been a Weasel, however, Captains take what they can get. I took over "D" flight and started to relearn how to lead a Strike Flight. I flew my first Strike Flight Lead to Kep Airfield and my second to Phuc Yen. My third was to Kep again and I was back in the saddle. Three Route Pack Six missions in three days are a good way to get back in shape.
I managed to slow myself down in the Takhli Stag Bar by dislocating my right shoulder while rolling for drinks. A "Roll" consists of several staid, sober, careful folk looking at each other and yelling, "Last one with his feet on the bar-rail buys!" Everyone does a front roll and the last one to whack his feet on the bar rail buys a round for the mess. I tripped, dislocated my shoulder, AND had to buy for the bar. Not a very swift way to "Roll" for drinks. Ted Moeller took me over to the Hospital and had my arm taped to my side for 10 days.
I spent the next fortnight being Supervisor of Flying (SOF), a job that ranks somewhere near dental work without anesthesia. I also heard a whole bunch of my "Friends" offer to "Roll" for drinks. I finally got the shoulder working at about half speed and flew an engine change test hop to prove I was ready and went back on the schedule.
One of the reasons I had been reassigned as a Strike Pilot was that all of the Squadrons were short of Mission Commanders. My Squadron, the 357 TFS, had only two, Lieutenant Colonel Tom Kirk, our boss, and Captain Neely Johnson. Neely and the Boss were both outstanding; however, we really needed at least 2 more to keep the workload down. While I was SOF for 10 days, Tom Kirk was shot down over Hanoi, not recovered, and Neely was the sole Mission Commander in the Squadron. I was scheduled to become a Mission Boss after my first 3 missions, but the dislocation put that on hold. I was scheduled for two more to see if the shoulder would work before I would be certified as a Mission Boss.
I led a flight to Kep the first day back and the next day, November 5, 1967, I led to Phuc Yen again. My call sign was Marlin and we were to be the last flight to roll in (Tail End Charlie). Flying a raid against Phuc Yen is about like being in hell with your back broke. The only thing worse is to be Tail End Charlie at Phuc Yen. The bad guys kept all of their MIG-21s there and objected rather firmly when we hit the airfield. As I remember, there were over 1,000 37 mm and larger guns surrounding the place and it was covered by between 6 and 16 SAM sites. Not exactly the best spot for a sight seeing trip.
The briefing for Marlin flight was a bit different on that day because I was checking out Major Frank Billingsley as an element lead. Frank was over 40, had come to the F-105 from C-141s, and had never flown any single-seat aircraft since he went through pilot training. Frank had been one of our students at McConnell and I had given him a couple of check flights before I went to Weasel School. He asked me to cover Rescue Procedures (RESCAP) during the mission briefing at the squadron. I asked why and he told me that if he were to really be an element lead, he might have to run a RESCAP. I told him that I would run the RESCAP if required. He said, "Not if you're the one on the ground." I covered RESCAP for at least 15 minutes and asked for questions. There were none and we suited up.
All of the ground routine went smoothly. Taxi, takeoff, join-up, refueling, pod formation, and all of the other aspects of an RP-6 mission were routine. The Strike Force held a good pod position as we made our way through Laos and North Vietnam to the Red River crossing point about 10 miles downstream from Yen Bai. From there toward Phuc Yen, the Strike Force flew at about 6,000 feet and 540 knots until we neared the MiG base and started our afterburner climb to roll-in altitude. For some reason the 3rd flight hung it high and waited way too long to start their attack which caused Marlin to be almost at 18,000 before we could head down the slide. Our attack heading was almost east instead of southwest because of the delay and it seemed as though it took a week to fly down to release altitude of 7,000'. Since our target was the last standing hangar on the airfield, it was easy to spot. The normal problems caused by the flack bursting in layers caused us to lose sight of the hangar two or three times, but it didn't move and was there when we got to our release parameters of 7,000', 45 degree dive, and 540 knots. The pass looked good at the time and, the next day when I saw the Bomb Damage Assessment photos (BDA), we had put 18 of our 24 M-117 750# bombs through where the roof had been. Not too shabby for manual bombing.
I reefed my bird hard up and left at 5+ "G" and did my normal roll right and then left to allow my wingmen to see me for the rejoin. Our problem was that we were now headed almost directly toward Hanoi and really had few options to avoid the vast amount of flack. I took the easiest way out by flying a loose left, jinking turn around Phuc Yen in order to fly on the north side of the complex and head for Thud Ridge. There were fewer guns on the north side. It took over a minute to rejoin. Before the flight could get into pod formation for SAM protection, we had 3 missiles launched at us from our six o'clock.
My choices were not very good. I could turn right and over-fly the north railroad and dodge the missiles while in the flack from the rail lines, I could turn left and fly back over Phuc Yen dodging missiles in even worse flack, or I could put the flight down in the weeds supersonic and haul for the ridge below 50'. I chose to mow the grass. Red-Dog, the Weasel flight, called the launch and told me which SAM site it was from. I jerked the bird around enough to catch sight of the first SA-2 Guideline missile and watched it hit the deck. My wingmen were almost in formation by now as I saw the second missile loose guidance commands and go up out of sight. At about the time I heard Red-Dog 3 call that he was hit and burning, I caught sight of the 3rd missile as it went into some houses and exploded. I decided to come up out of the grass and started a climb as Marlin Flight got into good pod formation. We were at 750 knots and were below 100' above the rice paddies as I came out of after burner and continued to climb.
As I passed through about 100' altitude, I saw several rounds zip by me and three hit my aircraft. I took three 57 mm hits almost simultaneously. The rounds came from a 57 mm site almost a mile north of us and were optically fired. These were the same guns that had hit Red Dog. One round hit the afterburner section just above the right slab, one was in the bomb bay directly under my feet, and one was in the Air Turbine Motor (ATM) compartment just in front of my right knee. I kept climbing at near military power and the cockpit instantly filled with smoke. I heard Red-Dog 3 calling that he was on fire and also heard his element lead tell him that he was in "Great Shape", a big fat lie.
Red-Dog 3, Dutton and Cobiel, bailed out over a rail yard less than 20 miles away and were put in the Hilton. Dick made it out in '73; however, Ed Cobiel died from torture he received from Fidel, the Cuban torture specialist at the Hilton.
I couldn't see anything because of the smoke and decided to blow the canopy. I flat could not find the canopy ejection handle on the left console and pulled some knob off trying, so, I flipped the manual canopy unlock lever under the canopy rail and the canopy went like it had been blown off. I was now in a convertible at 695 knots, still supersonic, climbing through 300'. I got two or three radio transmissions out before the radio died and everything else decided to quit. It was probably a good thing the radio failed or everyone could have heard me squealing. The fire from the AB section caused the Fire and Overheat Lights to both come on and then quit. I checked the circuits and they didn't test (just like the good book says can happen when a big fire is on board). All three hydraulic gauges started down, bounced a few times, the utility gauge went to zero followed by primary flight gauge #2 (P2). P1 (primary Flight #1) went slowly down and then dropped to zero. The oil pressure gauge went to visit the hydraulic gauges and every light on the peek and panic panel came on and then all of them quit.
Shortly after the radio quit, I had a complete electrical failure followed by the failure of all pitot static flight instruments. The only thing in my Thud what worked was the Whiskey Compass and I think it was leaking alcohol.
I was still flying and heading up Thud Ridge away from Hanoi. I still had smoke coming into the cockpit and swirling around before the truly tremendous slipstream sucked it out. I caught myself reaching up and fanning the compass mounted on the canopy to see what heading I had. Now that is very stupid. I am in a 450-knot convertible fanning a compass. If my arm had gotten caught, I would have been sans arm. I started to laugh at my stupidity until I noticed that the right front quarter panel of the windscreen was starting to melt. I reached as far forward as I could and felt extreme heat from the fire in the ATM compartment. I am sure that the utility hydraulic reservoir had ruptured and was burning. The right quarter panel melted almost completely and shortly thereafter the right rudder pedal collapsed and dangled from the cables. I was now over half way up Thud Ridge and had turned for the Red River crossing. That was pure reflex, I guess. I then had an explosion in the bomb bay, which blew the doors off and a small amount of fire came into the cockpit below my left foot. I had to hold my left foot up to stay clear of the flame. It wasn't all that hot due to the suction from the canopy area.
I had a couple more minutes to get to the river. I held what I had, trying to be the smoothest pilot in the world since I didn't have the foggiest how much hydraulic fluid I had in P2. The fire burned up from the AB section and the aft fuel tank blew leaving only the aircraft struts showing. The fire also burned up the right side of the aircraft, out into the right wing and the right main tire blew causing the right main gear to smack down into the slipstream and be ripped off the aircraft. All three of my wingmen looked like the Thunderbirds at an Academy Graduation. I had no right rudder pedal, no right gear strut, my bomb bay doors were missing, no lid on my cockpit, a melted hole in the windscreen, my left foot up, sundry other things disastrously wrong, BUT, I was coming up on the Red River. I found out afterwards that I had been called out as a SAM twice by other aircraft as I burned my way up the ridge. Marlin Three only said, "That's no Sam, that's Sparky" I started to think I had it made until the controls went and I became a passenger.
I still had 5 miles or so to go to cross the river when all of the controls went south. The bird pitched up, shuddered, rolled right like it was going to spin, and the started another pull-up. It was still going my way, so I held on to the stick to keep my arms from getting outside and stayed with my Thud. It would pull up sharply, shudder, shake, and snap right as if it were going to spin, and then start another pull-up. It did this three times until I was over the Red River. The last time it did snap into an inverted spin entry and I decided that it had taken me as far as it could go and pulled the handles up and squeezed the triggers. Only an F-105 could have taken that amount of punishment for 7 ½ minutes and deliver the driver to the river.
I still had one of my wingmen trying to fly formation and saw him flash by as I ejected. I had no idea what my altitude, airspeed, or attitude was since nothing worked except the Whiskey Compass. I learned that I was at 24,000', 270 knots and entering an inverted spin, BUT I was over the Red River. Being over the river was wonderful since the rescue Jolly Green Giants were not allowed to cross the Red River for a rescue.
I fell about a week subjective time waiting for the 'chute to open at 10,000' and remembered that the last time I had ejected I had caught the risers under my chin and really put a Raspberry on my neck. I was at least not going to do that again. I stabilized on my back in a head down position that didn't spin and when I heard the spring motor in the parachute whir, I snapped my chin down just in time to catch the risers under it. I put another Raspberry on my neck. When I looked down I was not quite across the river, so I hauled on the front risers and slipped across. I then saw that I was going to land near a small group of houses, so I went back up the risers and turned the 'chute and headed down stream. I pulled the front risers down and then got my knee in the riser "Y" and did front riser slips to put as much distance between me and the houses until I was at about 200 feet or so above the jungle. I had come almost 4 miles and had two ridgelines between me and the nearest house or road. I looked down and decided that I needed to stop the slip and land in what I thought was "Elephant Grass". I landed in 75' tall bamboo.
I smashed into the bamboo and the 'chute caught with me at least 40 feet up. The bamboo broke and I fell the last 40 feet and landed like a sack of feed on a fairly steep hillside with no place to do any kind of a parachute landing fall (PLF). I didn't even do a Fighter Pilot PLF of heels, ass, and head; instead I just crumpled into a mound of goo. I broke my right patella, chipped a bone in my right elbow, dislocated my right shoulder again, had hairline fractures in several small bones in both feet, and landed on the family jewels with a mighty thump. I was down and across the river.
I moaned some, cursed even more, and managed to get the beeper from my parachute and shut it off. I pulled out my primary survival radio and found that the radios were very weak. Not to worry, I had two survival radios, three sets of batteries, the 'chute beeper, and a partridge in a pear tree. I drank one of my 6 baby bottles of water, contacted Frank Billingsley who was running the RESCAP in an exemplary fashion, and started to move down the hill and find a place I could see the sky.
If you have never been in bamboo, don't go. It is not a nice place. I would end up several feet in the air trying to squeeze through the bamboo and have to break my way back down. I moved about 200 yards in about 15 minutes and worked my way into 25 foot tall ferns that made the bamboo look like a good place. It took another 10 or so minutes to wiggle out of the fern thicket and get under a huge tree. I tried to find a better place and gave up since the whole area was bamboo and/or ferns. I talked to Frank and vectored him in to my tree and asked him to check his fuel. He in informed me that he was running this show and to shut up. He also told me that he had a better view than I did, had sent the wingmen out for fuel, and was about to have to leave for a while. I found out that he left my tree, 75 miles northwest of Hanoi, with less than 2,000 pounds of fuel. He went to a tanker and was back in 29 minutes. The tanker could not have been in Laos. Everyone was trying his best to pick my worthless butt up.
I sat under my tree for almost 20 minutes; it seemed like a week, until I heard a burner light. I came up on the survival radio and had a call from Ozark; a flight of four from Korat who had my cap until Frank got back. I vectored them into my tree and they set up a cap away from me to keep the bad guys guessing. Frank called back a few minutes later with the rest of Marlin Flight and took back the RESCAP duties. I was starting to get lonely and had finished two of my baby bottles when Frank told me that the Sandies were inbound. I had been on the ground for only a bit over 2 hours clock time or a month subjective time. I started to believe I had a chance. I inventoried my stuff and put everything I was going to take out away. Pistols, spare radio and batteries, the beeper, all seven knives I carried, my Medical kit, and my trade goods kit. I kept out several flares and two pen-gun flare kits.
The Sandies called shortly thereafter, at about 1630 local time, and I managed to vector them in to my tree. They left to set up an orbit away from me and I waited very anxiously for the HH-3 to arrive. I listened to the Jolly call in and then all hell seemed to break loose. Some MIG-17 showed up and the Sandies became most nervous. The Jolly tried to calm things down and the Low Sandy came by to mark my position with a Willy Pete (White Phosphorous) bomb. The Sandy then marked another location for some reason and the Low Jolly went there. I had 17 aircraft in my CAP and everyone started to talk at once. The Jolly went to the wrong place and then headed back to me. All this time I could see a little patch of sky only about 30 feet in diameter. Frank made a pass at the Low Jolly and turned him towards me and shouted for me to, "Do something!" I pulled out my pen-gun flare and fired and reloaded as fast as possible. I bounced a flare off his canopy and saw the pilot jump and then hover in my tree.
The radio went absolutely Able Sugar with people shouting out MiG calls and as I watched the penetrator come down towards me. I had stowed my radio and did not hear a transmission from Harry Walker who was told that there were MiGs in the area. His answer was, "Keep them off my ass, I've got better things to do!" and stayed in the hover with his rotor blades whacking the tree well below the top. I backed out to see the cable operator, but the open space was so small I couldn't see squat. The cable stopped a few feet above me and then came down some more and was level with me a bit down a steep slope. I couldn't jump because of my ankles and knee and then it swung towards me and I let it hit the ground and discharge a huge spark. I then unzipped the straps, pulled down on the folding seat, put my legs around the penetrator, really tightened the straps around my body, and yanked on the cable as hard as I could. I was pulled off the ground and up about 50 feet or so. The HH-3E pivoted 180 degrees and started to pull me up and through the tree as it accelerated to his max speed. It was a very wild ride for a while. I broke out of the canopy at top speed for the Jolly as the winch hauled me up. The door gunner was firing his mini gun at something; so, I whipped out my 38 and shot the jungle. I figured I could get off six rounds and make everything lighter.
I was pulled in the door and hugged by the crew. I thought I would be the happiest man in the world, but the crew of Harry Walker's HH-3E were happier than I was. The whole crew was laughing like mad, so I asked what was funny and was told that Harry had just said, "Tell the SOB not to die until we get him to a hospital. We need a live one for a change." I had problems standing and the Paramedic (PJ) sat me down and started to check me out. The first thing he did was to strap a parachute on me. I sure as hell didn't want to use one of those again for a while. He asked if I was hurt and I told him I had some small problems. He them put me on a stretcher and gave me a good once over. It was noisy as all hell in the Jolly and since I didn't have a headset I had real problems hearing. He pulled out a Morphine Styrete case and I said NO. He grinned and showed me a miniature of Jack Daniel's Black Label that was in the tube. It was exactly what the doctor ordered.
I guess I was beat up worse than I thought since I went into shock for a while. The whole crew took off their jackets and piled them around me to keep me warm. I straightened out in time to watch the Jolly refuel on the way back. The PJ and the flight engineer helped me up to the cockpit and I sat on the jump seat as the C-130 came over us, stopped just in front and then let down until the hose was only 50 feet or so in front. We were in Laos with all of the Low Level Fuel lights on, it was just after sunset. There were layered clouds that were black with a blood red sun shining from below up through and between them. It was incredible. Harry moved the big HH-3E up to the hose, stuck it, and took gas. It was all very smooth, very easy, and very beautiful. I was the second furthest north rescue in the whole war. The whole crew of very brave men had risked their lives to pull me from the jungle. Harry did understand what "We Band Of Brothers" meant.
We went to Nakon Phanom (NKP), AKA Naked Fanny, and landed about 2100 hours. I was on a stretcher and really couldn't walk. I was treated like the crown jewels and rushed to the hospital for a check up. I was on the x-ray machine that was broken when Brigadier General McBride came in. Willy P. had been my Wing Commander at Spangdahlem and was a very nice and very funny man. He went into a routine about having given me a perfectly good F-105 and I had dumped it! He was not going to give me any more. He also brought a bottle of Old Overshoes Rye Mission Whiskey and a six-pack of warm Miller beer. We both sat on the x-ray and drank the Old Overshoes neat with warm beer chaser. He also told me that The Great Kahuna had sent the Takhli Gooney Bird for me and it was inbound.
I was taken from the Hospital, never having seen a Doctor, and loaded on the C-47 in my stretcher. When we were airborn, the pilot came back and put my going home ration from Colonel Giraudo on my chest, a bottle of Chivas Regal, a glass, and a bucket of ice. The Chivas was to get me back to Takhli in good humor. It did a very good job. When we landed the crew turned the stretcher so I could see what was happening. I was met by the fire suppression helicopter, fire trucks, over 1,000 folk, and was treated to a Hundred Mission Parade at near midnight Tahkli time.
When we stopped, the doors of the Gooney Bird swung open and The Great Kahuna jumped into the C-47 and hollered, "Throw her up!" A very shapely female came flying through the air and landed in Colonel Giraudo's arms. He came over, dumped her on me and said, "Welcome Home Sparky, look what I brung ya!" The lady, Vicky Nixon, had just arrived that day and was the first female on the base. She was his brand new secretary, very sharp, and she was scared spitless. I was laughing like a hyena and decided to try and calm her down since she was actually shaking. I whispered in her ear, "I just fell out of a tree, landed on my jewels, and there isn't a thing I could do to you!" She looked at me, started to cry, really hugged me, and said, "You poor baby!" We were placed in the back of Colonels G's pickup, still on my stretcher, and given a tour of the base. Neely Johnson who I was supposed to relieve as a Force Commander, met me with the Flight Commanders for the morning go and saluted me from the C-47.
I was grounded and that was my last combat mission. I tried to talk the Boss out of his decision, but I went home. I was the first guy from Takhli that was picked up from North Vietnam in over nine months that made it back to Takhli. Frank Billingsley did a perfect job the first time he ran a RESCAP and I am the most fortunate person in the world. I never did get to help Neely out. He finished his tour after having led over one third of his total missions into Route Package Six.

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