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FOUNDATION, INC.

Winter 2012-2013

Vol. 35 No.4

The Magazine of the Air Force Museum Foundation • www.airforcemuseum.com

Featured Articles Last Flight With Misty 7

11 The Lance Sijan Story 17

The Bravest of The Brave

In 2012 you helped us...

INSPIRE

Young Minds

HONOR

Those Who Serve

PURSUE OUR DREAMS For the Museum Expansion

THANK YOU!

The Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc. is a private organization. It is not part of the Department of Defense or any of its components, and it has no government status.


THE AIR FORCE MUSEUM FOUNDATION, INC. BOARD OF MANAGERS

Col “Scoop” Cooper, USAF (Ret.) Executive Director, Air Force Museum Foundation

Competition. Teamwork. Friendship. As we move out of the old year and into the new, it’s a good time to reflect on the qualities that ground and refuel the spirit. Gen Tom Stafford, USAF (Ret.) Apollo 10 astronaut, former SAF/AQ for the Air Force, and Air Legacy Ace with 8 kills!

In many ways, it has been a WOW year! Everthing from our fundraising efforts for the Expanding the Legacy program for the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force® to the addition of two new interactive flight simulators. As you can see below, the skies over Dayton were ablaze in our first annual Air Legacy Competition, which brought out the best in individual and team flying skills. Teamwork was demonstrated with Museum special events, such as the spectacular 70th Anniversary Doolittle Tokyo Raiders celebration, as well as the presentation of NASA’s first space shuttle crew compartment trainer (CCT) in one of several Membership Appreciation events. Finally, Friendship. Every day at the Museum, I witness friendship in action as friends and family meet in the atrium for a day in the Museum or to purchase a Legacy Data Plate for the Museum’s Wall of Honor. As you think back on the past year, we hope you have your own stories of competition, teamwork, and friendship to reflect upon. Remember to keep your eyes on the skies and in the pages of the Friends Journal as we move into 2013. We have many good things in store, including the transition from film to digital 3D in the Air Force Museum Theatre (it’s going to be awesome!), the rollout of the new shuttle CCT exhibit, and a new round of Air Legacy Competition—this time including air-toground gunnery featuring the A-10! Wishing all our Friends a healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year! Email: lcooper@afmuseum.com Website: www.airforcemuseum.com

Scoop

AIR LEGACY COMPETITION RESULTS

Thanks to all who competed in the first annual Air Legacy Competition which ran for the month of November at the Interactive flight Simulators in the Museum’s second hangar. Competitors “flew” the F-15 Eagle in exciting air-to-air combat. The winners below all achieved ace status and excelled in their respective categories in the friendly competition. Solo Champion - Matthew Nenzoski with an average of 14.5 kills. Two-Person Crew Champions - Annie and Keith Pollcano with an average of 21 kills. Organizational Champion- Levin Porter and Associates, led by Steve Byington with an average of 9 kills. Annie & Keith Pollcano

Matt, Annie and Keith each won an Air Legacy coin, t-shirt, theatre tickets, and a one-year AFMF Membership. Levin Porter and Associates team members received Air Legacy coins and a 10% one-time discount in the Museum Store. Additionally, the organization will receive a special group screening at the NEW digital 3D Theatre!

Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Richard V. Reynolds - Chairman Mr. Gregory G. Lockhart - President Mr. Gary G. Stephenson - Vice President Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Charles S. Cooper III - Secretary Mr. Robert J. Suttman II, CFA - Treasurer Gen. (Ret.) William J. Begert The Hon. Claude M. Bolton, Jr. Col. (Ret.) Mark N. Brown Dr. Thomas J. Burns, PhD. Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Charles H. Coolidge, Jr. Ms. Frances A. Duntz Mr. David C. Evans Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Lawrence P. Farrell, Jr. Mr. Charles J. Faruki Col. (Ret.) Michael B. Goetz Maj. Gen. (Ret.) E. Ann Harrell Col. (Ret.) William S. Harrell Mr. Jon G. Hazelton Mr. Charles F. Kettering III Mr. Patrick L. McGohan Col. (Ret.) Pamela A. Melroy Gen. (Ret.) T. Michael Moseley Col. (Ret.) Susan E. Richardson Gen. (Ret.) Charles T. Robertson, Jr. Col. (Ret.) James B. Schepley Mr. Scott J. Seymour Mr. Philip L. Soucy Mr. Harry W. (Wes) Stowers, Jr.

Friend or Foe?

This was one of many questions on the concerned minds of Americans following the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. The ability of servicemen to identify “friend or foe” in an instant was crucial to combat survival, and the subject of recognition was taught in just about every World War II service school. Servicemen and patriotic civilians alike quickly rose to the challenge of learning how to identify enemy from allied aircraft. One of the most effective training methods was to provide classrooms with airplane models painted black to simulate the silhouette seen from the ground or while in the air. The airplane pictured here, a scale model of the P-40, was hand-carved by Mr. Howard L. Richardson to teach aircraft spotting for Civil Defense in Maine. It is part of a collection of 47 models donated in 1977.

The models were purposely devoid of details such as propellers, extended landing gear, and control surface outlines, and they were required to be finished with “non-gloss” black paint. The effort even made the cover of Life magazine, with an article entitled “How to Make Plane Models.”

As promoted in the June 1942 issue of Flying Aces, “Your country needs scale model planes for the emergency. They won’t be used in a display gallery or to show the handiwork of one’s leisure time. They will serve a definite purpose. They will be used for training military personnel in aircraft recognition and range estimation in gunnery practice. These models likewise will be important in the training of civilians in enemy plane detection, an essential element in civilian defense.” Established model building companies like Comet and Strombecker likewise stepped up for the war effort, providing premade official identification model building kits.

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE U.S. AIR FORCE Lt Gen (Ret.) J. H. Hudson, Director Terrill Aitken, Senior Curator

FOUNDATION

Executive Director - Col. (Ret.) “Scoop” Cooper Chief Development Officer - Ms. Lin Erickson Membership Manager - Matt Lynch Development Coordinator - Charlene Wells Membership Coordinator - Michele Giefer Membership Office: 1-877-258-3910 (toll free) or 937-656-9615

Friends Journal

Editor - Peggy Coale Art Director - Mark A. Riley Editorial Assistants - Bill Hughes, Robert Pinizzotto, Dave Menard, Herman Engle Editorial Office: 937-656-9622

The Friends Journal is published quarterly by the Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to the expansion and improvement of the National Museum of the United States Air Force and to the preservation of the history of the United States Air Force. Authors retain all rights to further publication or use. Author’s views expressed in the Friends Journal do not necessarily represent those of the Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc. or those of the United States Air Force. Printed in the USA. USPS Standard ”A” rate postage paid at Dayton, OH. Subscription to the Friends Journal is included in the annual membership of the Friends of the Air Force Museum. All materials are Copyright 2012 and may not be reproduced without permission from the Air Force Museum Foundation. Submission of material for publication and correspondence concerning contents should be addressed to The Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 1903, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433-1903, and marked in the corner of the envelope “ATTN: Editor.”

to schools participating in the National School Model Building Program around the country. The use of a 1:72 scale likely stems from its use in British commercial model-making kits. It worked out nicely, though, to let one inch in model dimension equal the height of a sixfoot man—or 72 inches. The effect was that a model viewed at a distance of 35 feet would appear the same size as the actual airplane would at approximately a halfmile distance. Many of today’s aircraft model kits retain the 1:72 scale initiated during World War II.

Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Office of Education put out a call to model builders — particularly schoolboys — to construct half a million airplane models just like this one. Initially, the Bureau of Aeronautics Special Devices Division had employed skilled model builders from the Navy. These enlisted men built models of enemy airplanes that they had never even seen before, often relying only on the information found in blurry photographs taken at crash scenes. By February 1942, the first set of 1:72 scale official patterns for planes had been devised and distributed

It is estimated that within the first nine months of 1942 more than 200,000 of these wooden aircraft models were constructed by high school students across the country. Not long afterwards, highly accurate and easily-produced plastic models became widely available thus ending the need for the student-made models. The age of wood recognition models was short-lived but, as the author of the story in this Journal will testify, not quite forgotten. Source: www.collectair.com


Contents Winter 2012-2013 Vol. 35 No. 4

ARTICLES 4 MISTY—A Difficult Task in a Terrible War by Maj Gen Don Shepperd, USAF (Ret.) LTC Bill Douglass, USAF (Ret.) Col Bud Day, USAF (Ret.)

7 Last Flight With Misty by Ed Risinger

EVENTS

Events Rally Support for Museum Expansion

11 The Bravest of The Brave by Maj Gen Don Shepperd USAF (Ret.) 13 U-6 Mission in Vietnam by Maj Walt Hoy, USAF (Ret.) 17 The Indomitable Spirit of Man: The Lance Sijan Story by Guy Gruters Misty 29 22 Building Spotter Models For the War by Wilfred M. Husted 24 Jolly Green 22: Preserving The Legacy by Raymond L. Robb 28 Classic Aircraft Of The National Museum Of The U.S. Air Force®

Dayton, Ohio at the Museum

31 Glimpses Back From a B-24 Pilot by George T. Henry 36 The LRRP Nightmare by Lt Col Ray Janes, USAF (Ret.) 39 Unlucky 13 by Peter Kassak and Charles G. Jarrells

DEPARTMENTS 2 Editor’s Notes and Feedback

42 New Exhibits

43 Activities and Events

Colorado Springs, CO at The Club at Flying Horse

44 Restoration Update Go Behind The Scenes 45 Education Museum’s Education Division Participates in Community STEM Event

46 Major Donations and Contributions

51 Reunions

53 The Museum Store Washington, D.C. at the home of Maj Gen E. Ann Harrell, USAF (Ret.) and LTG William T. Grisoli, USA

Winter 2012-2013 • Friends Journal

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EDITOR’s

NOTES

E

verybody needs a wingman, that fellow Airman, friend, or coworker who always has your back and stays with you through the worst of times. The official Air Force definition of a Wingman is the pilot flying the plane beside and slightly behind the lead plane in an aircraft formation who protects the lead by “checking his six.” Unofficially the word has taken on much greater significance, as it refers to the commitment between all Airmen— including Air Force civilians—for mutual support. When you designate someone as your wingman, it means you know they’re always going to be watching out for you, helping you complete your mission. Airmen at war develop a strong bond of mutual support and trust, perhaps like no other. You don’t always know where you’re going to get a wingman contribution. For many unfortunate airmen and soldiers in Vietnam—in imminent danger of capture—it was from an F-100F Fast Forward Air Controller, who would remain as on-scene commander until A-1 and HH-53 “Jolly Green” helicopters arrived. These rescue ship aircrews, of course, had everybody’s back during the war. Sometimes it’s from a stranger who doesn’t speak the same language but is fighting for a common cause. Or an Air Force Academy classmate who turns up unexpectedly beside you in a North Vietnamese POW camp. It might even be a 13-year-old high school student in 1942, working carefully in shop class to craft wooden aircraft recognition models to support the war effort. We tell these tales and others in this Friends Journal issue. We are grateful to the Airmen who lived these stories and served our country so faithfully—our nation’s Wingmen! Peggy Coale, Editor “Wars are not won by individuals. They’re won by teams.” Col Francis “Gabby” Gabreski

Cover Illustration: Original art by Lou Drendel, designed especially for this issue, portrays a scene from

“Risinger’s Raid,” a Misty FAC mission detailed in both Misty and Bury Us Upside Down. Lou’s work can be viewed at www.aviation-art.net. Three stories from Misty, edited by Maj Gen Don Shepperd, USAF (Ret.), are reprinted in this issue with his permission: “Last Flight with Misty,” “The Bravest of the Brave,” and “The Indomitable Spirit of Man.”

The Air Force Mary Bruggeman Chief of Theatre Operations

T

he Air Force Museum Theatre will host its first annual Reel Stuff Film Festival of Aviation as part of our newly renovated, digital theatre opening. The festival will open with a VIP Red Carpet reception on Thursday, April 11, followed by an incredible three-day event celebrating the wonder, history, and people of flight as presented on the big screen. From classic films like Wings to Air Racers 3D, each invited production will be presented by someone closely affiliated with bringing it to the silver screen. These include every type of talent; from actors, producers and directors, writers, historians, aerial cinematographers and stunt pilots. Among them will be producer Catherine Wyler to present both her 1990 feature film, Memphis Belle, and her late father, William Wyler’s, 1944 documentary of the same name. We are working with Ron Kaplan, founder of the Reel Stuff Film Festival of Aviation, to make this an event to remember. For the most up-to-date information on ticket availability and film schedule, check the Foundation website at www.airforcemuseum.com or http://reelstufffilmfest.com in the upcoming months.

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Friends Feedback You Have No Rudder In the latest Friends Journal you included an article by Capt John Irwin, “You Have No Rudder.” In the article John remarks that in the aftermath of the incident he failed to log the flight in his logbook and did not get a photo of the T-6. I was a classmate of John and happened to be on the flight line after my training flight that day. I had my new camera, and after reading his article, I thought I had a photo of the rudderless airplane. After a little digging I found the picture and have enclosed it. Brig Gen Monroe G. Mathias, USAF (Ret.) We have forwarded the photo to John Irwin

Navy Brat John Pittman’s story “Growing Up An Air Force Brat” brought back memories of my childhood as a Navy dependent. My earliest recollections are of duplex housing in Long Beach. We later lived in Quonset Huts near what was then known as the Destroyer Base in San Diego. After a year or so living off base near San Diego, we followed my father to Guam, again living in Quonset Huts. We were only there a few months before I contracted polio, in September 1951. By December I was stable enough to be flown home to San Diego, which is really the point of my story. At the age of 8, accompanied by my father, I was put aboard a MATS plane filled with Korean War wounded. I understood the plane started out in Seoul, stopping in Manila before it arrived in Guam. It seems to me we stopped in Kwajalein and Eniwetok enroute to Honolulu, where I spent a few days in Tripler Hospital. Then it was on to Travis AFB, where we were transferred to a C-47 for the flight to San Diego. I recently came across a couple of snapshots my father took at the beginning of the trip. I would be interested in hearing from anyone who might have been on that flight or flew missions such as mine in December 1951. John Fry P.O. Box 9444 San Diego CA 92169 mail@johnfry.com

Clarification needed On page 15 of the Fall 2012 issue, the photo caption reads: “Yak-9s on a Russian flightline. These were the type of fighters often assigned as escorts to Allied bombers flying shuttle missions to the USSR from European bases.” I have read about and researched those USAAF missions in considerable detail…I can assure you that Russian fighters did not escort American bombers on any of the earlier missions in which the latter participated, from and to England, Italy and Russia (the Ukraine), as they had their own escorting P-5ls on all of them. There were Russian fighters at Ukrainian bases utilized by the USAAF during these shuttle missions, from June to August 1944, but their only connection to the American aircraft would have been in the role of local airfield defense. Steve Blake Membership Chairman, Historian, and Lightning Strikes Editor P-38 National Association

All long-range fighter escort was indeed accomplished

by American fighters; however, local base defense and escort over Soviet occupied-territory was handled by Soviet fighters. The following is transcribed from the “Frantic Joe” Standard Operating Procedures: “Soviet defensive fighters will relieve offensive fighters at front line and escort our bombers to bases and provide area support. Soviet defensive fighters will give close-in and escort support on missions departing Russia.” Later, it was decided that the Soviets would provide area protection from rising interceptors by flying below 15,000 feet. They would not attempt close support of the bombers so as to eliminate confusion. The Soviets would also attack German airdromes near the corridor of entrance. Furthermore, Soviet press releases transcribed in the final report state: “The American bombers were met over Soviet territory by squadrons of our “Yak” fighters, which escorted them to the bases.” My conclusion from the primary source documentation: Soviet fighters did not escort the American bombers to target, but did provide fighter escort over Soviet territory. I can confirm on some missions from Italy to Russia, American fighter escort returned home after the bombers crossed into Soviet territory. From Brett Stolle, Museum Research Division:

Correction In the 2013 National Museum of the U.S. Air Force calendar, the November photo was incorrectly attributed. It should read “Photo by Jerry Herbert.” Our apologies to Mr. Herbert!

John Fry, at age 8, on middle bunk surrounded by Korea War wounded.

Winter 2012-2013 • Friends Journal

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MISTY—A Difficult Task in a Terrible War By Maj Gen Don Shepperd, USAF (Ret.) LTC Bill Douglass, USAF (Ret.) Col Bud Day, USAF (Ret.) The following material is excerpted from the book Misty, edited by Maj Gen Don Shepperd, and is a compilation of stories written by Gen Shepperd, LTC Bill Douglass, and Col Day. “Misty” was the radio call sign used by the F-100F Forward Air Controllers, Fast FACs, during the Vietnam War. USAF There were 157 pilots officially Misty missions were flown with two pilots. The assigned to fly frontseater usually flew the aircraft while the missions over backseater navigated and observed. North Vietnam from June 15, 1967 to May 19, 1970. Another 21 attached pilots flew occasional missions. There were also Intelligence Officers, Flight Surgeons, and Maintenance Officers assigned. It was a small, tightknit group of special people given a difficult task in a terrible war. Of the 157 Mistys, 34 were shot down, and two were shot down twice. Eight others were shot down when not flying with Misty, for a total loss rate of 28 percent. There were seven killed in action, four prisoners of war, and 33 are now deceased. There was also one Medal of Honor recipient, two Air Force Chiefs of Staff, eight general officers, an Air National Guard Director, two astronauts, a winner of the Collier Trophy, the Louis Bleriot Medal, the Presidential Citizen’s Medal of Honor, the first man to fly non-stop, un-refueled around the world, and one who ran for Congress. By any measure this was an unusual group of men. The Misty mission was to interdict men and materials headed to South Vietnam and to prevent SAM deployment in the area of responsibility. Between 1965 and 1967, as the result of a build-up of U.S. forces in Vietnam, the North Vietnamese attempted to move massive amounts of men and material to the South.

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Airstrikes were employed against the infiltration routes running south from Hanoi and Haiphong. These routes ran along the coastal plain in the southern part of North Vietnam and through mountain passes into Laos. The air campaign against the infiltration routes in Laos was known as “Steel Tiger.” B-52s flying from Guam and fighters flying from bases in Thailand were employed against roads, bridges, and suspected marshaling areas in the southern panhandle of North Vietnam and in southern Laos and the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) dividing North and South Vietnam. To prosecute the air war against North Vietnam, planners divided the country into six “Route Packages.” Route Pack 6 encompassed Hanoi and Haiphong, while Route Pack 1 was the southern Map showing Route Packs in Vietnam panhandle of North Vietnam from just south of Vinh to the DMZ. Route Packs 2, 3, 4, and 5 encompassed the remainder of the country. The Air Force was assigned primary responsibility for Packs 1 and 5, while the U.S. Navy was assigned Packs 2, 3, 4, and 6. Route Pack 6 was later divided into Packs 6A and 6B with the Air Force being given 6A and the Navy 6B. Early in the war, propeller-driven FACs in O-1 and O-2 aircraft (Slow FACs) were used to control airstrikes in Route Pack 1, the DMZ, and southern Laos. As infiltration rates increased, air defenses intensified,


MISTY

and losses of the Slow FACs increased dramatically—enter the Fast FACs and Misty. A decision was made to employ two-seat F-100F Fast FACs in Route Pack 1 and southern Laos.

four hours and thirty minutes, with two and a half to three hours spent over Route Pack 1. We normally landed “Minimum Fuel,” with less than 1,000 pounds remaining. Missions of longer duration Misty began with 16 with recovery at pilots and four aircraft Ubon, Udorn, or Da as Detachment 1, Nang were common. 416th Tactical Fighter We needed our own Squadron, Phu Cat tankers because we Air Base, Vietnam had to use “probe and on June 15, 1967. drogue” refueling. Mario Candia via NMUSAF Its official name was Most other aircraft “The Commando could use boom in 1967. Maj Bud Day, first Misty Commander, is Sabre Operation.” The original 16 Misty FAC pilots, refueling, so it was a center front, kneeling. Major George “Bud” little bit complicated Day was the first commander, and the first Ops initially. Eventually they gave us our own tanker on a Officer was Major Bill Douglass. Bud was shot down track in northwest Thailand. Occasionally, we refueled on August 26, 1967; he was captured and remained a offshore, but basically we settled into the Thailand POW until February 1973. Phu Cat was an old French routine. The tanker support was great, although I’m airstrip on top of which the Corps of Engineers laid not sure the tankers ever figured out what we were down a modern runway carved quickly out of the red doing. The missions got a little tense at times, and the clay of Binh Dinh province. The first Misty pilots refueling gave us a little bit of a welcome coffee break. designed the basic tactics and techniques used by follow-on Misty generations. Two pilots flew on each After refueling, Mistys proceeded back to Pack 1, mission. The front seat pilot flew the aircraft while the or Laos, and located and marked targets, controlled backseater handled the radios and carried maps and a fighters against targets sighted during the first cycle, hand-held 35mm camera with telephoto lens. and continued reconnaissance. The Mistys also worked any Search and Rescues (SARs, also called A typical Misty mission briefed two and a half hours prior to takeoff. Pilots studied targets and photos supplied by Intel and previous Misty flights; went over the daily “Frag Order;” and received intelligence briefings on matters of significance, such as aircraft and crews lost the previous day, latest known Anti Aircraft Artillery (AAA or “triple-A”) locations, and weather. Aircraft configuration was 2x335 gallon fuel tanks; two pods of 2.75” white phosphorous (Willie Pete) smoke rockets (14 total), and 220 rounds of 20mm ammunition loaded in two 20mm cannons. The flight profile was: depart from Phu Cat; about 30 minutes south of the DMZ check in with our controlling agency, the Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center (ABCCC-pronounced “AB triple C”) and enter the area to work for approximately 45 minutes, possibly a little longer; go out to the tanker and refuel; come back, work, refuel again, work again, and then return to Phu Cat. Mission duration was about

Mario Candia

Misty pilot P.K. White returns to Phu Cat Air Base.

RESCAPs) for downed aircraft, usually capping as On-Scene Commander, until A-1 “Sandys” and HH53 “Jolly Green” rescue helicopters arrived. In 1967-

Winter 2012-2013 • Friends Journal

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MISTY

1968 about every third flight turned into a RESCAP. After the second cycle, Mistys generally proceeded home to Phu Cat; however, if lucrative targets were sighted, Misty often returned to the tanker for a third, or even fourth cycle. Mistys normally conserved their 20mm ammunition for RESCAPs. Strafing was not encouraged; however, at the end of a mission Mistys often strafed trucks, or petroleum, oil, and lubricants (POL) sighted during the flight. Several aircraft were lost strafing. We flew four flights a day, so we could provide complete coverage during the daylight period. The flights overlapped so that we could communicate in the air and also with the next flight prior to their takeoff. We relayed information to keep a coordinated effort going and to identify any hot targets. We also had support from the Seventh Air Force. They would, on occasion, drop off photography, and the ABCCC would advise us of areas where there had been significant activity detected overnight. The results from Misty for the first two or three weeks were pretty marginal. The reason was that, even though we’d flown in-country for a long time, our eyes were not properly trained to detect camouflaged targets. So for the first two or three weeks, we primarily got ourselves oriented in the area and sharpened our skills and awareness as we worked our first few strike flights. Those who flew in the North know that the camouflage was terrific. You needed to look for the “hand of man,” that is, just a little different shade of color, a little dust on the foliage, a straight line or a curve or circle—anything that showed man’s involvement. Our opponents were using the resources they had at hand, and they were very, very good at it. We did our own handheld photography, and I think this helped to accelerate training of our visual skills. Using two copies of the same picture and a stereoscopic viewer, we generated a three-dimensional image that often revealed exactly what we were looking for. The general tactics employed by early Mistys included staying fast — 400 to 450 knots—and continually “jinking” — changing flight path direction every five to seven seconds (the flight time for a 37mm round). We also flew at 4,500 feet or above, unless marking targets, participating in a RESCAP, or taking a close look at a particularly important target. Violating any of these rules dramatically increased chances of being shot down; observing them was no guarantee. The majority of North Vietnamese AAA defenses faced by the Mistys included small arms, 50 cal., 14.5mm, 23mm (came later in the war), 37mm, 57mm, and occasional 85mm and 100mm AAA guns. In 1968 the North Vietnamese repeatedly attempted to deploy SA-2 SAMs into the area, and later in 1969 the shoulder-fired infrared missile began to proliferate,

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particularly in Steel Tiger (Laos). The NVA confined MIG aircraft to the Hanoi and Haiphong areas. No MIGs were encountered by Mistys in the southern Route Packs. By far the greatest threat to Misty was the 37mm AAA gun. The great majority of Misty losses were attributed to this gun. Misty was a dangerous mission. The loss rates were high. For this reason the tour length was adjusted to four months (50-60 missions), after which the pilots returned to complete their tours with a unit flying in South Vietnam. Twelve Mistys completed 100 or more missions. The high loss rate was no badge of honor but was due to the extended time spent over the North and repeated exposure to guns at low altitude. A typical mission entered North Vietnam two to three times and spent two to four hours at low altitude exposed to guns. Some missions lasted up to eight hours, usually associated with a RESCAP. The single-engine F-100 was particularly vulnerable and drew intense gunfire while marking targets. RESCAPs were extremely hazardous. All stops were pulled out and rules were set aside to rescue downed pilots. The Mistys who volunteered were among the most talented, hard working, courageous men I have ever encountered. To a man they were remarkable pilots. They worked long hours, days on end, to get the program started. During the early missions we were consumed with establishing procedures, deciding on tactics, constructing our maps, testing various equipment and aircraft configurations, and learning the area. It was really hunt and peck and trial by fire. Those early Misty missions were really hairy as we experimented with how to survive in a dense AAA environment while marking targets and directing strikes. Although FACing was not a new concept— the USAF had employed FACs since WW II—Fast FACing was new and we were truly plowing new ground. We had to learn to operate and survive in a very dense threat environment while operating for extended periods at low altitude—dicey stuff! I cannot emphasize too strongly the courage of the first group of men who raised their hands. They were going where no jet pilot had ever been before to do dangerous things no one had ever done. President Johnson declared a bombing moratorium over North Vietnam in November 1968 in an attempt to bring the North Vietnamese to the peace table. Misty continued to operate over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. In April 1969 when Phu Cat became an F-4 base, Misty operations were transferred from Phu Cat to Tuy Hoa, the nearest F-100 base. Tony McPeak, Misty 94, was the last commander at Phu Cat. From Tuy Hoa, Mistys operated in Steel Tiger (Laos) while F-4 Fast FACs assumed responsibility for Route Pack 1. Tactics at Tuy Hoa changed, and the Mistys operated at lower altitudes and higher speeds. High loss rates continued. The Misty program was terminated in May 1970.


Sample journal winter 2012