1968

January

The 8 TFW added two more MiG-17 kill stars to their tally board on 3 January. LCOL Clayton K. Squier, pilot/1LT Michael D. Muldoon, WSO, in 435 TFS F-4D 66-7594, call sign Olds 01, used the AIM-4D Falcon AAM to down their MiG-17 (second for the AIM-4); MAJ Bernard J. Bogoslofski, pilot/CAPT Richard L. Huskey, WSO, in 433 TFS F-4D 66-7748, call sign Tampa 01, used the SUU-23 20-mm centerline gun pod to down their MiG-17.

On 9 January the 497 TFS lost F-4D 66-8729 (65 hours), call sign Crow, on a 2000-hours LAMP LIGHTER MISSION OVER steel tiger Section E, Laos, when hit by 38-mm AAA (possible) during a dive on the target (16-45'N/106-09'E). Witnesses reported that during a CBU delivery run there was a big flash and resulting fire about 1-mi/1.6 km from the target (16-45'/106-09'E). LCOL Norman M. Green and 1LT Wayne C. Irsch were killed. A typical night flight involved a two-ship formation with the Lead aircraft loaded with Mk.24 flares and support ordnance. No. 2 aircraft was the primary shooter. Darkness allowed the flight to operate at lower altitudes with a certain margin of from enemy gunners; ECM pods helped negate the radar-guided AAA and SAMs.

18 January was a mixed bag with one MiG kill and three F-4 losses. The 435 TFS lost two F-4D during ROLLING THUNDER 57 Strike on the Bac Slang Thermal Power Plant, RP-VIA. Both aircraft were at 7,000-ft/2,134- over the target when they engaged with MiG-17 Frescoes. MAJ Kenneth A. Simonet, pilot/1LT Wayne O. Smith, WSO, in 66-8720 (81 hours), call sign Otter 01, used the AIM-4D Falcon AAM to down a MiG-17 before they were themselves shot down by another MiG-17 (at 21-16'N/106-06'E) and captured. The second loss involved F-4D 66-7581 (314 hours). Following the release of glide bombs over the target CAPT R.B. Hinckley and 1LT R.C. Jones were shot down at 21-18'N/165-30'E, and likewise captured.

Beginning in mid-January the Patnet Lao/NVA began a concerted campaign to take out the Lima Site 85 TACAN facility. Within days the enemy force had moved to within 8-mi/13-km of the site. On 22 January Site 179, 17-mi/27-km south of Lima Site 85, was captured as well as a couple of other sites. Lima Site 85 was now encircled by enemy troops with mobile 105-mm Howitzers. The Seventh Air Force launched 165 tactical air sorties during January in defense of the TACAN facility.

Beginning in mid-January the 8 TFW began rotating the entire F-4D fleet through the SMAAR Ubon Logistics unit for the Martin Baker Mk. 7 Zero/Zero ejection seat upgrade (1F-4-663 Egress Seat Rocket Assist). The first inductees: 66-7523, 66-7760 and 66-8725, 20 January through 3 February; 66-7569, 23 January through 4 February. Two other upgrade programs conducted throughout 1968 were the 1F-4-681 Wing Tip Beef Up program and the 1F-4-536 AIM-9 Capability (returning the Sidewinder capability to replace the AIM-4D Falcon AAM).

F-4D 66-7520 was received on 26 January from the 405 FW, Clark AB.

F-4D 66-8728 was received on 28 January from the factory.

6400 TS Detachments

4-5/1: 66-7766

6-19/1: 66-8694

11-18/1: 66-7569

19-25/1: 66-7772

19-30/1: 66-7554

24/1-: 66-8686

Weather was especially bad during the first calendar quarter with an average of only three clear days suitable for visual bombing. February was, as usual, the worst weather month.

February

On 6 February the 433 TFS added a MiG-21 kill when CAPT Robert H. Boles, pilot/1LT Robert B. Battista, PSO, in F-4D 66-8688, call sign Buick 04, used the long-range AIM-7E Sparrow III to knock down a MiG-21.

On 8 February the 555 TFS lost F-4D 66-7769 (156 hours), call sign Hornet, on a 1500-hours Strike mission over the Phuc Yen AF, RP-VIA, where they were hit in the left engine (fire observed) by heavy aimed 37-/57-mm AAA at 21-16'N/105-48'E. CAPT J.A. Corder and CAPT T.K. Dorsett, Jr., nursed their aircraft back over Laos before ejecting at 20-1'N/103-43'E, followed soon thereafter by a USAF helicopter recovery.

The 435 TFS added another MiG-21 kill on 12 February when LCOL Alfred E. Lang, Jr., pilot/1LT Randy P. Moss, PSO, in F-4D 65-8690, call sign Buick 01, employed the AIM-7E Spar5row III AAM to knock down a MiG-21. The 8 TFW added two more MiG-17 kills on 14 February: MAJ Rex D. Howerton, pilot/1LT ^Ted L. Voigt, II, PSO, 555 TFS, in F-4D 66-7554, call sign Nash 03, used the SUU-23 20-mm centerline gun pod; COL David O. Williams, Jr., pilot/1LT James P. Feignay, Jr., PSO, 435 TFS, in F-4D 66-7661, call sign Killer 01, used the aim-7e Sparrow III AAM to knock down the MiG-17s.

By mid-month the tactical air support for Lima Site 85 was increasing to match the increase in enemy activity. The 7.5-mi/12-km parimater around the TACAN site was breached on 2 February. Three battalions of the 766 NVA Regiment were operating in the area. In response to battlefield intelligence of the enemy plan of attack, U.S. Ambassador Sullivan, Laos, authorized Visual Reconnaissance and Armed Reconnaissance missions along Route 602 eastward from Phou Den Din and more targets were authorized around Lima Site 85. Enemy plans and U.S. estimates of the enemy intent were sufficiently serious that on 26 February Ambassador Sullivan sent a telegram to Washington D.C., requesting evacuation and destruction plans for Lima Site 85 be set in moti8on and that the search begin in the same general area for another useful TACAN site.

On 23 February the 497 TFS lost F-4D 66-8725 (161 hours), call sign Honda, following an 0700-hours CAP mission over RP-VIA. While on station over RP-VIA (21-30'N/107-00'E) the aircraft was hit in the aft fuselage by an air-air missile (AAM; MiG-21 probable), crashing at 21-24'N/107-17'E. MAJ J.L. Gutterson (previously shot down on 17 December 1967) and 1LT M.L. Donald were captured.

On 29 February the 435 TFS lost F-4D 66-7528 (441 hours), call sign Buick, on an 0800-hours Strike mission over a truck park in Section E, STEEL TIGER, Laos, when hit by 14.5-mm AA machine-gun fire at 17-07'N/106-04'E. The aircrew was trying to nurse their wounded aircraft home but the loss of PCI/PCII over Thailand (15-14'N/104-52'E) forced them to eject. LCOL C.D. Smith, Jr., was injured when his parachute failed; 1LT F.M. Driscoll is listed as Eject-KIA.

Mk. 7 Ejection Seat Upgrade, SMAAR Ubon:

3-13/2: 66-7771; 3-14/2: 66-0274; 4-16/2: 66-8763; 4-19/2: 66-7748; 11-23/2: F-4C 64-0724; 14-22/2: 66-0239; 15-26/2: 66-7766; 19-20/2: 66-8694; 20/2-: 66-0245; 20-22/2: 66-7562; 20-29/2: 66-7758; 22/2-1/3: 66-0246; 25/2-4/3: 66-7765; -27/2-6/3: 66-7590; 29/2-7/3: F-4D 65-0724

6400 TS Detachments

2-9/2: 66-8722 ; 11-17/2: 66-7750; 19/2-6/3: 66-7523; 25/2-1/3: 66-8736

March

Two attrition replacement aircraft were transferred in from the 366 TFW during the first two weeks: 66-7695 was transferred in on 2 March; 66-7686 was transferred in on 11 March.

Between 1 November 1967 and 10 March 1968 some 1,472 BARREL ROLL Strike missions were flown in the areas around the Lime Site 85 TACAN facility—408 of these missions were TPQ missions controlled by the LS 85 controllers. On 10 March the NVA launched a major assault on the TACAN facility in a wholly unpredicted manner---NVA commandos scaled the vertical face of the mountain and overwhelmed the lightly armed U.S. personnel from the back side. The loss of this navigation capability was critical—up to this point in time a full quarter of all bombing missions over North Vietnam had been controlled from this one site. Between 0001-0700-hours local time three A-26 attack aircraft and five F-4 supported the efforts to rescue survivors under control of the on-site Raven FAC through 2000-hours at which time the aircraft were ordered back to their respective bases. Six Douglas A-1 Skyraiders were readied to support these rescue operations—129 of 203 defenders were successfully evacuated from the site. Heavy ground fighting was engaged around Pon Pha Thi, a village located .9-mi/1.5-km south of the TACAN facility. Site III fell on 12 March; Sites 107 and 239 were abandoned and pressure mounted on Site 84. This was a major enemy victory.

F-4C 64-0723, the last F-4C assigned to the 8 TFW was transferred on 22 March to the 12 TFW at Cam Rahn Bay AB, South Vietnam.

Ordnance Problems

The CBJ-24 munition proved to be an extremely useful weapon against AAA emplacements and vehicles. However, there was a command-wide shortage of these units, being attributed to the over-expenditure of CBU-24 units on diverse targets by the various in-theater tactical units. To combat this shortage problem aircrews were instructed to utilize the CBU-24 only against AAA targets which constituted a threat to the mission.

1968

January

The 8 TFW added two more MiG-17 kill stars to their tally board on 3 January. LCOL Clayton K. Squier, pilot/1LT Michael D. Muldoon, WSO, in 435 TFA F-4D 66-7594, call sign Olds 01, used the AIM-4D Falcon AAM to down their MiG-17 (second for the AIM-4); MAJ Bernard J. Bogoslofski; pilot/CAPT Richard L. Huskey, WSO, in 433 TFS F-4D 66-7748, call sign Tampa 01, used the SUU-23 20-mm centerline gun pod to down their MiG-17.

On 9 January the 497 TFS lost F-4D 66-8729 (65 hours), call sign Crow, on a 2000-hours LAMP LIGHTER mission over STEEL TIGER Section E, Laos, when hit by 37-mm AAA (possible) during a dive on the target (16-45'N/106-09'E). Witnesses reported that during a CBU delivery run there was a big flash and resulting fire about 1-mi/1.6-km from the target (16-45'N/106-09'E). LCOL Norman M. Green and 1LT Wayne C. Irsch were killed. A typical night flight involved a two-ship formation with the Lead aircraft loaded with Mk. 24 flares and support ordnance. No. 2 aircraft was the primary shooter. Darkness allowed the flight to operate at lower altitudes with a certain margin of immunity from enemy gunners; ECM pods helped negate the radar-guided AAA and SAMs.

18 January was a mixed bag with one MiG kill and three F-4 losses. The 435 TFS lost two F-4D during a ROLLING THUNDER 57 Strike on the Bac Siang Thermal Power Plant, RP-VIA. Both aircraft were at 7,000-ft/2,134 over the target when they engaged with MiG-17 Frescoes. MAJ Kenneth A. Simonet, pilot/1LT Wayne O. Smith, WSO, in 66-8720 (81 hours), call sign Otter 01, used the AIM-4D Falcon AAM to down a MiG-17 before they were themselves shot down by another MiG-17 (at 21-16’N/106E) and captured. The second loss involved F-4D 66-7581 (314 hours). Following the release of glide bombs over the target CAPT R.B. Hinckley and 1LT R.C Jones were shot down at 21-18’N/106-30’E, and likewise captured.

Beginning in mid-January the Patnet Lao/NVA began a concerted campaign to take out the Lima Site 85 TACAN facility. Within days the enemy force had moved to within 8-mi/13-km of the site. On 22 January Site 1790, 17-mi/27-km south of Lima Site 85, was captured as well as a couple of other sites. Lima Site 85 was now encircled by enemy troops with mobile 105-mm howitzers. The Seventh Air Force launched 165 tactical air sorties during January in defense of the TACAN facility.

Beginning in mid-January the 8 TFW began rotating the entire F-4D fleet through the SMAAR Ubon logistics unit for the Martin Baker Mk.7 Zero/Zero ejection seat upgrade (1F-4-663 Egress Seat Rocket Assist). The first inductees: 66-7523. 66-7760 and 66-8725, 20 January through 3 February; 66-7569, 23 January through 4 February. Two other upgrade programs conducted throughout 1968 were the 1-F-4-681 Wing Tip Beef Up program and the 1F-4-536 AIM-9 Capability (returning the Sidewinder capability to replace the AfM-4D Falcon AAM).

F-4D 66-7520 was received on 26 January from the 405 FW, Clark AB.

F-4D 66-8728 was received on 28 January from the factory.

6400 TS Detachments

4-5/1: 66-7766; 6-19/1: 66-8694; 11-18/1: 66-7569; 19-25/1: 66-7772; 19-30/1: 66-7554; 24/1-: 66-8686

Weather was especially bad during the first calendar quarter with an average of only three clear days suitable for visual bombing. February was, as usual, the worst weather month.

February

On 6 February the 433 TFS added a MiG kill when CAPT Robert H. Boles, pilot/1LT Robert B. Battista, PSO, in F-4D 66-8688, call sign Buick 04, used the long-range AIM-7E Sparrow III AAM to knock down a MiG-21.

On 8 February the 555 TFS lost F-4D 66-7769 (156 hours), call sign Hornet, on a 1500-hours Strike mission over the Phuc Yen AF, RP-VIA, where they were hit in the left engine (fire observed) by heavy aimed 37-/57-mm AAA at 21-16’N/105-48’E. CAPT J.A. Corder and CAPT T.K. Dorsett, Jr., nursed their aircraft back over Laos before ejecting at 20-21’N/103-43’E, followed soon thereafter by a USAF helicopter recovery.

The 435 TFS added another MiG-21 kill on 12 February when LCOL Alfred E. Lang, Jr., pilot/1LT Randy P. Moss, PSO, in F-4D 66-8690, call sign Buick 01, employed the AIM-7E Sparrow III AAM to knock down a MiG-21. The 8 TFW added two more MiG-17 kills on 14 February: MAJ Rex D. Howerton, pilot/1LT Ted L. Voigt, II, PSO, 555 TFS, in F-4D 66-7554, call sign Nash 03, used the SUU-23 20-mm centerline gun pod; COL David O. Williams, Jr., pilot.1LT James P. Feighny, Jr., PSO, 435 TFS, in F-4D 66-7661, call sign Killer 01, used the AIM-7E Sparrow III AAM to knock down the MiG-17s.

By mid-month the tactical air support for Lima Site 85 was increasing to match the increase in enemy activity. The 7.5-mi/12-km perimeter around the TACAN site was breached on 20 February. Three battalions of the 766 NVA Regiment were operating in the area. In response to battlefield intelligence of the enemy plan of attack, U.S. Ambassador Sullivan, Laos, authorized Visual Reconnaissance and Armed Reconnaissance missions along Route 602 eastward from Phou Dea Dia and more targets were authorized around Lima Site 85. Enemy plans and U.S. estimates of the enemy intent were sufficiently serious that on 26 February Ambassador Sullivan sent a telegram to Washington D.C., requesting evacuation and destruction plans for Lima Site 85 be set in motion and that the search begin in the same general area for another useful TACAN site.

On 23 February the 497 TFS lost F-4D 66-8725 (161 hours), call sign Honda, following an 0700-hours CAP mission over RP-VIA. While on station over RP-VIA (21-30’N/107-00’E) the aircraft was hit in the aft fuselage by an air-air missile (AAM; MiG-21 probable), crashing at 21-24’N/107-17’E. MAJ J.L. Gutterson (previously shot down on 17 December 1967) and 1LT M.L. Donald were captured.

On 29 February the 435 lost F-4D 66-7528 (441 hours), call sign Buick, on an 0800-hours Strike mission over a truck park in Section E, STEEL TIGER, Laos, when hit by 14.5-mm AA machine-gun fire at 17-07’N/106-04’E). The aircrew was trying to nurse their wounded aircraft home but the loss of PCI/PCII over Thailand (15-14’N/104-52’E) forced them to eject. LCOL C.D. Smith, Jr., was injured when his parachute failed; 1LT F.M. Driscoll is listed as Eject-KIA.

Mk. 7 Ejection Seat Upgrade, SMAAR Ubon:

3-13/2: 66-7771; 3-14/2: 66-0274; 4-16/2: 66-8763; 4-19/2: 66-7748; 11-23/2: F-4C 64-0724; 14-22/2: 66-0239; 15-26/2: 66-7766; 19-20/2: 66-8694; 20/2-: 66-0245; 22-22/22: 66-7562; 20-29/2: 66-7758; 22/2-1/3: 66-0246; 25/2-4/3: 66-7765; -26/2: 66-8686; 27/2-6/3: 66-7590; 29/2-7/3: F-4D 65-0724.

6400 TS detachments

2-9/2: 66-8722; 11-17/2: 66-7750; 19/2-6/3: 66-7523; 25/2-1/3: 66-8736.

March

Two attrition replacement aircraft were transferred in from the 366 TFW during the first two weeks: 66-7695 was transferred in on 2 March; 66-7686 was transferred in on 11 March.

Between 1 November 1967 and 10 March 1968 some 1,472 BARREL ROLL Strike missions were flown in the areas around the Lima Site 85 TACAN facility—408 of these missions TPQ missions controlled by the LS 85 controllers. On 10 March the NVA launched a major assault on the TACAN facility in a wholly unpredicted manner—NVA commandos scaled the vertical face of the mountain and overwhelmed the lightly armed U.S. personnel from the back side. The loss of this navigation capability was critical—up to this point in time a full quarter of all bombing missions over North View Nam had been controlled from this one site. Between 0001-0700-hours local time three A-26 attack aircraft and five F-4 supported the efforts to rescue survivors under control of the on –site Raven FAC through 2000-hours at which time the aircraft were ordered back to their respective bases. Six Douglas A-1 Skyraiders were readied to support these rescue operations—129 of 203 defenders were successfully evacuated from the site. Heavy ground fighting was engaged around Bon Pha Thi, a village located .9-mi/1.5-km south of the TACAN facility. Site III fell on 12 March; Sites 107 and 239 were abandoned and pressure mounted on Site 184. This was a major enemy victory.

F-4C 64-0723, the last F-4C assigned to the 8 TFW was transferred on 22 March to the 12 TFW at Cam Rahn Bay AB, South Vietnam.

Ordnance Problems

The CBU-24 munition proved to be an extremely useful weapon against AA emplacements and vehicles. However, there was a command-wide shortage of these units, being attributed to the over-expenditure of CBU-24 units on diverse targets by the various in-theater tactical units. To combat this shortage problem aircrews were instructed to utilize the CBU-24 only against AAA targets which constituted a threat to the mission.

The CBU=28 program, initiated during the first quarter 1968, was temporarily suspended during the second calendar quarter with all units returned to the depot pending notification. The CBU-28, nicknamed ‘Dragontooth’, was a small mine-type munition, which detonates when 30-lbs of force is exerted on it. They were dispensed at extremely low altitude in a level delivery and were emplaced to slow repair work at interdicted road points in an effort to trap road traffic.

New portable bomb stands were locally fabricated, using pallets taken from the incoming 500-lb bombs, to increase the versatility of the Mk.36 operation and to enhance its safety.

Mk. 7 Ejection Seat Upgrade, SMAAR Ubon

2-8/3: 66-8710; 6-14/3: 66-7761; 6-16/3: 66-8691; 9-19/3: 66-8686; 12-20/3: 66-0264; 13/23/3: 66-8736; 16-26/3: 66-8708; 19-27/3: 66-7628; 20/3-1/4: 66-0249; 23/3-2/4: 66-8746; 26/3-3/4: 66-7750; 27/3-5/4: 66-7520.

6400 TS Detachments

1-14/3: 66-7624; 7-14/3: 66-8708; 12/3-5/4: 66-7630; 19-26/3: 65-0724; 22/3-1/4: 66-7704; 27/3-5/4: 66-7764

April

With the latest declared bombing restriction in all areas north of the 19-North Latitude, the 8 TFW was limited to combat missions in RP-I. This limitation also shifted the basic combat tactic from MIGCAP/Bombing to Armed Reconnaissance/Bombing. In spite of the loss of more lucrative targets further north the 8 TFW continued an around-the-clock bombing campaign in RP-I, hitting troop concentrations, supply convoys, POL sites, river traffic, roads, bridges and other suitable targets. Most of these missions were flown under the control of the 23 Tactical Air Support Squadron (23 TASS), assigned to Ubon RTAFB to control strikes throughout Laos and RP-I.

Most 435 missions during April were flown in support of the Royal Laotian government. At the same time many missions were flown in support of the USMC at Khe Sahn Combat Base, Quany Tri Province, I CORPS, and A Shau Valley. Most missions flown in RP-I were flown under control of MSQ radar sites or a COMMANDO NAIL (airborne controlled) radar-controlled drops.

To maintain air-air proficiency the 8 TFW flew numerous practice engagements against the F-80 Avon Sabres of the 79th Fighter Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), assigned at Ubon RTAFB. (Established per the 8 TFW/79 FS RAAF Agreement for Air Combat Training. 22 November 1967) The F-86 performance was comparable to the MiG—17 Fresco. These mock dogfights were pre-planned to give the Sabre pilots the benefit of a GCI environment whereas the F-4 aircrews had to depend on the airborne radar to detect the opponent. The Sabre pilots had the advantage of surprise, though offset by the superior speed and acceleration of the F-4. The major limitation of this training was that the dogfights had to be kept subsonic while over Thai airspace.

The combat evaluation of the AGM-62A WALLEYE continued during this quarter. In the more permissive environment of RP-I, the launch aircraft generally planned to acquire the target at about 6-na,mi./110km, rolling in from 12,000-14,000-ft/3,658-4,267-m with release at about 5,000-ft/1,524-m and 450 >CAS.

During the evening of 6 April Lizard Flight (of two), 497 TFS, had just finished working a road cut with 10 M.117 GP bombs near Tenepone when cleared to reconnoiter up Route 15 from Mu Gla Pass. A convoy of about 40 trucks was sighted and attacked with two CBU-25

4 from each F-4D. Lizard Flight left behind two secondary explosions and a sustained fire from 7 confirmed destroyed trucks. The following afternoon, 7 April, Nash Flight, 497 TFS, worked with FACs Misty 31 and Misty 41 on Route 101, returning home with 4 CBU-24-induced truck kills, 2 more damaged and 4 POL fires.

F-4D 66-0243 was transferred on 16 April to the Ogden AMA depot at Hill AFB, Utah (from whence it was transferred on 2 October to the 366 TFW). Two modified F-4D, 66-8814 and 66-8817, were acquired on 22 April from the USAF Air Proving Grounds unit at Eglin AFB, Florida. These aircraft may have been the platforms for the Project PAVEWAY program to be transferred to the 8 TFW in the next couple of weeks. F-4D 66-7666 was an attrition replacement on 24 April from the 405 FW, Clark AB.

During this time frame the aircrew rotation tour (100 out-country missions, i.e., over North Vietnam) was split for the two cockpit positions. The Aircraft Commander could expect to reach the 100 mission mark within about eight months whereas the PSO/WSO/Navigator normally completed the tour in six-seven months.

On 25 April the 555 TFS added a commitment to fly CAS missions over South Vietnam. A more extensive Night Owl frag was added on 28 April.

The 497 TFS lost two aircraf6t on 25 April. Golden Flight was escorting a Navy Lockheed P-2V Neptune, call sign Caroline 07, on a MUSCLE SHOALS delivery mission. Following sensor drop Golden Flight proceeded to reconnoiter Routes 101-103 in RP-I. Near the intersection of these two routes Golden Flight Leadm with MAJ Bert Mansfield, pilot/1LT Alan Earls, PSO, in 66-7758, was hit by 37/57-mm AAA, ripping a largo hold (18-in/46-cm diameter) through the left wing forward of the main gear well, rupturing the fuel line and internal wing bank. When hit there was 8,000-plus pounds of fuel on board. The aircrew jettisoned all ordnance and diverted for an emergency recovery at Da Nang AB, South Vietnam, with 1,400-lbs of fuel showing on the tape. The damage was sufficient that the aircraft had to be broken down, crated up and shipped on 25 June to a depot Stateside.

Later in the evening (1900-hours Strike mission) Oakland Flight, 497 TFS, was attaching a (15) truck convoy in the vicinity of the Kuan Son Ferry and had destroyed on vehicle before expending all flares. Oakland Flight Lead took up a heading back to Ubon RTAFB while Oakland 2 made a final rocket pass. Oakland Flight Lead lost contact with Oakland 2 (F-4D 66-8736, 271 hours), looking back in time to observe a large fireball on the round. During the pull-up at 17-38’N/106-18’E the aircraft was hit by 37-mm AAA (probable). A McNair report lists the probable cause s the pilot failed to pull out of the dive in time to avoid an accident. MAJ Albert C. Mitchell, pilot/1LT Gregory J. Crossman, PSO, were killed (17-35’N/106-17’E). Oakland Flight Lead returned to orbit over the area but no parachutes were observed and no peepers heard; it was assumed the aircraft had crashed. Alleycat was informed of the situation.

Modification Programs

The ECP-4 (Target Aspect) modification was approximately 75% completed. Progress was normal as modifications were accomplished during scheduled phase inspections. There were no know outstanding modifications which affected the F-4D FCS. The WALLEYE-modified aircraft were performing as expected with a very low failure rate. This section received no notification as to the combat performance of the modified systems.

EMC Pods

A Class I modification (B712009) was initiated to provide sufficient power on the F-4D inboard station to carry the AN/ALQ-87 and QRC-335 ECM pods while utilizing aircraft power. This modification required a substitution of 15 amp circuit breakers for 7.5 amp circuit breakers; one substitution of a snap-on type connector in place of the normal screw-on type in the pylon; and installing dummy nose cones in place of the removed RAM generator. By the end of the second calendar quarter (1968, 8 TFW) 38 aircraft had 15A CBs installed; 21 aircraft had the new snap-on connector; four ALQ-87 pods had been converted for external power (all QRC-335 pods, first of which arrived at Ubon RTAFB on 29 April, were received from the U.S. configured for external power). (The first PAVEWAY flight with an ALQ-87 pod on the centerline was flown on 22 May.)

6400 TS Detachments

6-16/4: 66-7758; 6-17/4: 66-8691; 18-19/4: 66-7764; 18-28/4: 66-7601; 18/4-3/5: 66-7760; 30/4-9/5: 66-8692.

Mk. 7 Ejection Seat Upgrade, SMAAR Ubon

1-10/4: 66-7506; 2-11/4: 66-8696; 3-12/4: 66-7752; 5-15/4: 66-8743; 8-19/4: 66-7594; 19-26/4: 66-7704; 21-28/4: 66-8717; 23-30/4: 66-7695; 24/4-2/5: 66-7686; 26/4-2/5: 66-8697; 28/4-5/5: 66-8685; 30/4-6/5: 66-7546.:

Expended Ordnance

Mk. 82 500-lb/227-kg 8,164; Mk. 84 2,000-lb/907-kg 0; M.117 750-lb/340-kg 3,326; Mk. 36 Seeding Bombs 536; 2.75 FFAR Rockets 300; CBU-2 54; CBU-24 942; CBU-29 24; AIM-7 Sparrow 0; AIM-9 Sidewinder 0; AIM-4 Falcon 0; Mk. 24 Flares 860; Leaflets 0; AGM-62 Walleye 0.

Bomb Damage Assessment

POL 8; Fires Started 212; Secondary Explosions 218; Trucks Destroyed 50; Bridges Destroyed 15; Ferries/Boats 7; Rail Rolling Stock 7; Troop Areas 28; Railroad Cuts 4; AAA Sites Destroyed 73; Road Cuts 305.

May

During the second quarter the 433 TFS added the CAS mission over South Vietnam. The squadron was committed on a total of 84 sorties over South Vietnam during the quarter. They supported operations over the beleaguered Khe Sahn Combat Base, Quang Tri Province, I COPRS, as well as supporting USAR troops in southern A Shau Valley. Ordnance delivery during this mission was markedly different from missions over North Vietnam where bombing was often done from much higher altitudes. During operations over South Vietnam the M.117 high drag bombs were delivered from a very low level and low angle pass. The AGM-62 WALLEYE PGM was used throughout the reporting quarter. Visual Strike sorties often involved two or more ordnance delivery methods, varying from the Combat SKYSPOT (CSS, ground-controlled, 60 missions in April; 36 in May and 19 in June) and COMMAND NAIL (AIRBORNE CONTROLLED, 62 SORTIES IN April; 42 in May; and 15 in June as the weather was clearing for visual delivery) radar-directed bombing and Armed Reconnaissance. The 433 TFS assumed the bulk of the night sorties during the quarter.

On a 2 May night Escort mission over Laos Maj Robert D. Marcont, Maj Joseph S. Lotner, 1lt Frederick E. Russell and 1lt Robert H. Jones, II, were the aircrews in Cobra Flight. the Lockheed C-130 FAC, call sign Blind Bat, was coming under intensive AAA-being unarmed he call in help. Cobra Flight immediately rolled in and silenced three AAA sites. They then bombed a line of trucks travelling with lights. When they completed this attack they left behind a string of secondary fires and explosions. The crew of Blind Bat later send a letter through channels, citing "the best bombing that they had ever seen." (Latter presented by LCOL Gibson to the aircrewmen)

As the weather cleared in RP-I around the first of My the NVA started using routes that traversed the southern panhandle. This activity was accompanied by an upswing in 8 TFW missions in the region.

During May the 8 TFW Tactics Section ran a test of the F-4D Weapons Control and Weapons Release Computer System (WRCS). The stated objective was to see just how much error was in the average system and to test how close the grading of radar film coincided with the actual results. "The test aircraft would acquire the Offset Aiming Point (OAP) on radar and run a full computer problem on it. Just as the bombs released from the aircraft the aircraft was pulled into a slight climb so that it would not get in front of the bombs. The KB-18 camera was going this whole time and the actual impact of the bombs was photographed." (8 TFW History, Second Calendar Quarter, 1968).

As the weather improved there was an accompanying degradation in radar-bombing proficiency. CAPT. Rodney V. Cox, Jr., 433 TFS Squadron Navigator, began work on a program to address this cyclical problem and to serve as a training tool for newly assigned backseaters upgrading to COMMAND NAIL Qualified Status. Practice COMMANDO NAIL missions were flown on every mission over RP-I, complete with Radar Film and scoring for upgrading status. The 8 TFW Radar Bombing Section took the basic program and expanded on it to create the official training program for the 8 TFW.

Calcite Flight;, 497 TFS, made the first drop of ASDID sensors in RP-I on 4 May. (F-4D 66-7721, MAJ Watts/Newberry; 66-7703, MAJ Johnson/Rpss). Calcite Flight was cleared by Crockett to work with Misty 21; the target was four rail cars on a siding.

By the second week of May in-country missions in South Vietnam, were taking a significant portion of the daily frag order. From all of two in-country sorties in April the 497 TFS flew 66 in-country missions in May. Working closely with friendly forces was a new experience for the Thailand-based aircrews. Aircrews from the 12 TFW (F-4C), Cam Rahn Bay AB, South Vietnam, briefed the 8 TFW aircrews, stressing the following points:

  1. Targets must be positively identified.
  2. Location of friendly forces must be known.
  3. Clearance must be received from the FAC before releasing ordnance.
  4. Each aircraft will call "IN" and "OFF" on each run.
  5. When in doubt, DON"T RELEASE. "(To compute safe distance criteria for bombs, each pound of bomb is worth one meter, i.e., MK-82 should have 500 meters separation between friendly troops and impact point)."

On 5 May the 433 TFS had two notable events: CAPT Donald R. Brown, pilot/UNK. PSO, in Machette 2, could not get the refueling door to close following an in-flight refueling outbound on a mission. The tanker boom operator came to their aid by tapping his boom on top of the door, getting it closed so the mission could be completed. Then the 433 TFS lost F-4D 66-3687 (337 hours), Machette Flight Lead, following an Armed Reconnaissance mission. Some documents cite ‘pilot error’ resulted in the loss of the aircraft. Experiencing a high sink rate as they passed through a severe thunderstorm on approach to home plate the aircraft was lost on radar shortly after a "on glide path three miles from the touchdown" GCA transmission was made. At 2125-hours local time, 2.5-mi/4-km from the approach end of Runway 23 the aircrew rode the aircraft into the ground—amazingly suffering only minor injuries and were safely recovered. The 8 TFW history reports that the Aircraft Accident Board assessed the precision approach radar as a contributing factor via equipment deficiency that permitted aircraft target loss in an intense precipitation area 3-mi/4.8-km on final approach to Runway 23. Detachment 3/38 ARRS was scrambled to conduct the search and recovery of the uninjured aircrew.

F-4D 66-7758 was inducted on 6 May into the OOAAR Logistics unit at Da Nang AB from where it was transferred on 25 June to the Ogden AMA depot.

Two additional F-4D were acquired from Eglin AFB, Florida, on 6 May: 66-8815 was transferred from the 33 TFW while 66-8823 was transferred from the Air Proving Grounds Center. F-4D 66-7671 was acquired on 13 May from the 366 TFW.

The current bombing halt was having an impact on aircrew experience over the more lethal target areas in the heart of North Vietnam. Following the bombing halt aircrews continued flying out-country missions over RP-I and rotated back to the U.S. At the beginning of April the 8 TFW had designated 18 Mission Leaders, 22 Flight Leads and 25 Element Leads for operations over RP-V an RP-VI; by 30 June the Wing was down to 2 Mission Leads, 4 Flight Leads and 12 Element Leads with experience in these regions. Projections estimated that by the end of the third calendar quarter there would be no 8 TFW Aircrewmen with experience over the Hanoi/Haiphong target areas. To compensate for this loss of actual combat Strike missions the 8 TFW proposed to 7AF headquarters that four-ship flights be scheduled when mission requirements permitted. This multi-aircraft formation flying allowed aircrews to practice pod formation and give Flight Leads practice in controlling large formations. The 7 AF staff apparently concurred with the need and scheduled an Alpha Strike Force for 9 May and another on 31 May, during which aircrews practiced in-flight refueling, Strike force join-up, formation and Strike procedures. Thereafter the indications were that these training Alphas Strikes would be limited to about one per month.

 

Project PAVEWAY

Project PAVEWY was a joint air force systems command (AFSC) /TAC task force formed for the quickest possible deployment of a guided bomb system into Southeast Asia. When the team deployed on 14 May 1968 to the 8 TFW, Ubon RTAFB, Thailand, they took with them three Aircraft Commanders (MAJ John Camille and CAPT Lester Alford were combat veterans), four pilots, an assortment of maintenance and munitions NCOs and four modified F-4D. The team was attached to the 497 TFS while deployed.

The first ordnance drop was made on 22 May. The first six weeks of the deployment was concerned with the official USAF evaluation of the KMU-342/B M.117 bomb guidance kit, 22 May through 27 June. The 497 TFS expended 35 M.117 bombs with a final average CEP of 30-ft/9-m. Beginning in July the Project would follow up with evaluation of the KMU-351/B Mk.84 bomb guidance kit. Upon completion of the formal evaluation phase of Project PAVEWAY the 497 TFS checked-out the new Aircraft Commanders and pilots in the system.

The 433 TFS Squadron History for this period gave deserved credit to the ‘eyes’, the FAGs.

"These are the guys that fly around in little "bug-smashers", 0-1’s and 0-2’s, big many monitored C-130’s, or hang their necks out diving down in a two seater F-100, ignoring flak to mark the target so that we can put our ordnance where it will do the most good. The FAC is the guy who knows which way every tree looked yesterday so today if it is a little different he suspects something is going on and finds out what. The what is usually enemy activity. A good example of how the FACs work is how a Misty (F-100) helped Golden Flight on 14 May. Golden Flight consisted of Maj. Harold C. Compton and 1st Lt William J. Brown in Golden Lead and Captains Gary V. Sandstrum and Rodney V. Cox, Jr., in 2. Golden Flight had been working an armed reconnaissance of a road in Tally-Ho (area just above the Demilitarized Zone in North Vietnam) when they got a call that Misty 31 had spotted an active Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) site and needed some aircraft to strike it with ordnance. Maj Compton immediately informed him that Golden Flight would refuel and rush back to work with the Misty. After a quick refueling and return to the target area Misty dove into the heavily defended area and marked the target. Golden Flight then began their attack. The weather in the area had turned bad with a thunderstorm which required that both Misty and Golden Flight to use the same attack heading each time. Also the weather dictated that Golden Flight press the attack and recompute attack parameters on each pass. The 37/57mm AAA fire became a barrage and got closer and closer to the aircraft on each pass. The crews were down to their last ordnance when they elected to make a final pass in spite of the heavy AAA and deteriorating weather. As they pulled off the target the Misty dove in behind them to access the damage inflicted. He reported that the site had been destroyed including missiles, launchers, and control vans. Not being satisfied with doing an outstanding job of locating and marking the SAM site as well as directing the strike, the Misty Pilots returned to their base and sent a letter of commendation through channels on the job well done by the crewmembers of Golden Flight. As usual the Forward Air Controllers never leave a job incomplete."

On a 2200-hours reconnaissance mission on 16 May Vespa Flight, 435 TFS, spotted several trucks in the Uuan Son Area, RP-I. CAPT David F. Tippett, pilot/1LT Ronald J. LeBlanc, PSO, Vespa Lead, advised CAPT David J. Ricket, pilot/1LT Gerald J. Crosson, Jr., PSO, in F-4D 66-7630 (437 hours) Vespa 2, to remain high and roll in for an ordnance delivery pass (17-40’N/106-26’E). Vespa 2 acquired the target and Lead cleared them in, stating that Lead was going to hit some other truck movements. Pulling off their second pass Lead saw several flashes at the six o’clock position and turned into them. They observed a small fireball on top of a knoll followed by a large fireball at the base of a nearby karst. Lead was unable to contact Vespa 2 on either of the working frequencies or Guard. CSAR forces were advised as was Resale Flight. Vespa Lead, low on fuel, departed, leaving Resale Flight to conduct an electronic search. All CSAR efforts were unsuccessful in contacting anyone on the ground and were finally terminated. MAJ Rickel and 1LT Crosson were killed in the crash at 17-26’N/106-17’E.


recovery of CAPT Davies’ dog tags. In August 1991 the crash site wad excavated and biological evidence was recovered and returned to the U.S. for analysis. In October 1991 U.S. investigators forwarded information from Bo Trach District combat records recording the downing of an F-4C and death of the aircrew on 18 May. This record was believed associated with this instant loss.

On the no-moon night of 21 May Catsup Flight (CAPT Jimmy Yoshinacka, Flight Lead; 1LT Emmet Peachey, pilot; MAJ John N. Schmidt, Wingman; and MAJ Francis Dyer, Navigator) from the 497 TFS, was on an Armed Reconnaissance mission when reconnoitering Route 137 and sighted 15 trucks in the vicinity of the Kuan Son Ferry—a target area notorious for heavy AAA. Target identification was extremely difficult, made possible by the reduced glare of the enemy vehicle headlights, and required the lead aircraft to fly down the valley bordered by high karsts up to 5,300-ft/1.615-m, looking for truck lights. When lights were sighted Lead would drop a flare and continue down the road several miles. Catsup 02 would then be in a position to attack. On this night Catsup flight began taking ground fire even before dropping flares, which was an indication of a lucrative target in the vicinity. This night was no different with Catsup Flight taking 400 founds of 37/57-mm AAA and 10 rounds of 85-mm AAA. The surprise attack was made before the trucks reached the ‘safety’ of the tree line along the road, effectively blocking the convoy in front and rear with four explosions and sustained fires. With the road blocked CAPT Yoshinaka and MAJ Schmidt turned their attention to the AAA sites, making multiple passes through a heavy barrage of ZPU, 37/57/85-mm fire, silencing two 37-mm guns. Successfully suppressing the AAA the pilots returned to the truck convoy, making three more passes firing rockets and dropping CBU-24 cluster munitions and Mk. 82 GP bombs. They left behind six trucks burning and four secondary explosions lighting the night sky.

F-4D 66-7472 was an attrition replacement acquisition on 21 May from the Ogden AMA depot.

On 22 May 1LT John H. Crews, III, pilot-AC/CAPT Dean P. St. Pierre, PSO, were flying F-4D 66-0246, Dipper 2, 433 TFS, on a 1900-hours Armed Reconnaissance mission targeting a main road in southern RP-I, which the enemy was using to resupply forces attacking Khe Sahn Combat Base. The night was pitch black when they were hit by unknown gunfire (possibly 85-mm AAA) during the roll-in on the target (six trucks) at 17-33’N/106-17’E. At a spot where Intelligence had briefed a POL storage area Dipper Flight spotted a fire started by another Flight’s strike. Dipper Lead pulled off the target and was orbiting high when 1LT Crews radioed that he was rolling in –20 seconds later Dipper Lead saw the ordnance hit the ground followed seconds later by a large fireball about 100-ft/31-m short of the ordnance. Dipper Lead knew that Dipper 2 had impacted. There were no parachutes observed or emergency beepers heard. There was no transmission or contact with CAPT Crews, and CAPT St. Pierre, being subsequently listed as KIA (17-33’N/106-15’E).

On 25 May the 435 TFS lost F-4D 66-7569 (473 hours). CAPT Darrel J. Ankeny, pilot/1LT Armond A. Turner, Cobalt Flight Lead (both on their 98th combat missions), and MAJ Frank C. Lenanan, pilot/1LT Gary E. Robison, PSO, Cobalt 2, were on a 1100-hours Combat EAGLE AGM-62 WALLEYE-delivery mission in RP-I. Following the successful expenditure of the WALLEYEs on the primary target Cobalt Flight was redirected to work with Misty 21 (F-100) FAC. Misty 21 colled in on a POL storage (17-53’N/105-50’E), firing their internal 20-mm cannon in an unsuccessful effort to induce three 37-mm AAA guns to fire on him, thus the flight could pin-point and silence them. The trolling was unsuccessful but Cobalt Lead rolled in on Misty’s target description—like the FAC Cobalt Lead was unable to locate a target and started to pull off—unobserved by either the FAC or wingman, Cobalt Lead was hit at this time. Cobalt 2 was by then rolling on the target description and lost sight of Cobalt Lead. Misty 21 cleared Cobalt 2 back for a second pass. As Cobalt 2 was pulling off the second pass 1LT Robison observed a large fire approximately 1-mi/1.6-km beyond the target along Lead’s run-in heading (ejecting at 17-22’N/105-38’E). CSAR forces were immediately alerted. Misty 21 and Cobalt 2 proceeded to investigate. Although no wreckage was observed in the area a very faint beeper was heard intermittently approximately five minutes after the fire was observed. CSAR forces were just mobilizing when a COMMANDO NAIL FAC reported two parachutes and the impact of an aircraft on the 096 radial, 59-mi/95-km from Channel 89. The FAC reported good radio contact with the aircrew and that both were alright. Within an hour the recovery was made without any enemy opposition—later that night the fallen aircrew returned to Ubon RTAFB and were greeted by their Squadronmates bearing champagne.

Also on 25 May Oreo Flight, 497 TFS, was conducting Armed Reconnaissance up Routes 101-103 from the DMZ to Kuan Son. Six trucks on a secondary road 10-mi/16-km west of Dong Hoi became the sole focus of Oreo Flight with Lead dropping CBU-2 and Oreo dropping CBU-24, damaging or destroying all six vehicles. The road apparently led through a lucrative storage or parking area where the trucks tried to hide—Oreo Flight capitalized on the ‘fringe benefits’, setting off nine secondary explosions and sixteen huge sustained fires.

F-4D 66-8821 was acquired from the 366 TFW on 26 May.

On 27 May LCOL Gibson, Squardon Commander, pilot/1LT William H. Lawson, PSO, and MAJ Roger E. Johnson, pilot/1LT Roger D. Helwig, PSO, 433 TFS, were fragged on an AGM-62 WALLEYE delivery mission against a bridge and tunnel in RP-I. LCOL Gibson/1LT Lawson launched their AGM-62 against the bridge, scoring a direct hit that dropped the bridge into the ravine. MAJ Johnson/1LT Helwig launched their AGM-62 into the mouth of a tunnel. Collapsing the opening. The 433 TFS flew a total of 11 AGM-62 missions during the reporting quarter.

The 555 TFS advance party (5 officers and 13 enlisted personnel) moved to Udorn RTAFB on 19 May, followed by the entire squadron on 28 May. The squadron had launched 8 aircraft on combat missions over South Vietnam on the day of the move, recovering at Udorn RTAFB; 10 other F-4D flew direct from Ubon to Udorn. These aircraft were configured to simulate strike force procedures as much as possible: two external wing tanks; SUU-23 centerline gun pod (unarmed); MAU-12 wind pylon TER; 6 Mk. 82 GP bombs. Hereafter the squadron lost the South Vietnam commitment. Among the new commitment was a daily four-ship strike into BARREL ROLL and two AGM-12 Bullpup missile flights. Aircraft involved in this transfer: 66-7506, 66-7520, 66-7523,

66-7546, 66-7554, 66-7562, 66-7565, 66-7686, 66-7695, 66-7704, 66-7751, 66-7766, 66-8685, 66-8688, 66-8697, 66-8708, 66-8717, and 66-8743.

Effective 30 May the rear-seat Pilot Upgrade Program (see November 1967) was cancelled. More training could be obtained through RTU Program in the CONUS.

The second practice Alpha Strike was flown on 30 May. The 435 TFS contributed Killer Flight for the CAP mission. The mission was indicative of the need to continue these practice missions. During the package rendezvous following initial pre-strike refueling the Strike Force Commander called for a radio check three times before all aircraft acknowledged. The original target area was a series of bridges in the Mu Gia Pass. The Strike Force Commander called that he was experiencing difficulty with his Doppler navigation equipment and asked for a crosscheck from the other members of his flight. The weather was excellent in the target area so visual navigation was possible. When the 435 TFS CAP flight noted that the strike flights were attacking a target south of the originally assigned primary targets the two CAP flights broke off to successfully attack the briefed target.

Weather was seldom a problem during launch/recovery during this period. Opportunities were few for aircrews to flying visual bombing over southern Laos, however, weather improved over RP-I, North Vietnam, as the quarter progressed. Weather during most days in late May and June involved only scattered to broken clouds with bases from 6,000-9,000-ft/1,829-2,743-m.

During a RESCAP for a USN Grumman A-6 Intruder, call sign STREETCAR 304, Banjon Flight from the 433 TFS was first on the scene. (MAJ Anthony Doren, Flight Leader (8TFW); 1LT Robert H. Jones, pilot; MAJ Joseph S. Notner, wingman; and 1LT Robert H. Jones II (yes, there really were two pilots of the exact same name) pilot, manned the 433 TFS aircraft.) Before Banyon Flight arriver on the scene a NAIL FAC 0-2 spotted the wreckage and parachutes and established voice contact with the downed pilot. Banyon Flight was advised that there were numerous active and aggressive AAA sites in the immediate vicinity. The first order of business was flak suppression on these sites by both Banyon Flight aircraft making multiple passes with ordnance release as low as 2,000-ft/610-m. MAJ Lotner made his run on a troublesome 54-mm AAA site, destroying it with a direct hit. Both aircraft made two additional passes, silencing a 37-mm AAA site on each pass. The Navy pilot was subsequently recovered with only minor injuries.

During May the ECM Branch performed modification work on the 79 assigned F-4D to deactivate the AN/APS-107 Equipment Destruct System. The system was retained in place for future use.

Oreo Flight, 497 TFS, was again successful on 30 May when they were cleared for the rather short road segment (about 18-mi/29-km from the intersection of Route 1A and 103 northwest to the Mi Le Ferry. Oreo Flight Lead laid a string of CBU-2 on three lights at the intersection, causing three secondary explosions with sustained fires (suspected POL). Further up Route 103, near the ferry, several more lights were sighted, as well as heavy 37-mm tracer fire. Oreo 2 silenced two of the 37-mm AA sites with CBU-24 ordnance; Oreo Flight Lead dropped CBU-2, setting off a large secondary fire. On a final pass Oreo 2 fired rockets, starting a second fire in the same area.

6400 TS Detachments

3-9/5: 66-8763; 10-18/5: 66-0274; 10-19/5: 66-7763; 20/5-4/6: 66-7752; 29/5-6/6: 66-8739

Mk. 7 Ejection Seat Upgrade, SMAAR Ubon:

2-10/5: 66-8688; 2-13/5: 66-7526; 5-12/5: 66-7554; 6-14/5: 66-7565; 9-16/5: 66-8695; 13-21/5: 66-7655; 14-19/5: 66-7624; 16-23/5: 66-7683; 17-24/5; 66-7515; 19-26/5: 66-7643; 21-28/5: 66-8739; 23-30/5: 66-7703; 24-31/5: 66-7764; 26/5-3/6: 66-7661; 27/5-9/6: 66-7526; 29/5-4/6: 66-7555; 30/5-6/6: 66-8724; 31/5-7/6: 66-8690

Expended Ordnance

Mk. 82 500-lb/227/kg 6,312; Mk. 84 2,000-lb/907-kg 0; M.117 750-lb/340-kg 3,326; Mk. 36 Seeding Bombs 1,754; 2.75 FFAR Rockets 860; CBU-2 138; CBU-24 1,296; CBU-29 79; AIM-7 Sparrow 0; AIM-9 Sidewinder 0: AIM-4 Falcon 0; Mk.24 Flares 2,508; Leaflets 0; AGM-62 Walleye 0.

Bomb Damage Assessment

POL 42; Fires Started 407; Secondary Explosions 256; Trucks Destroyed 231; Bridges Destroyed 23; Ferries/Boats 24; Rail Rolling Stock 15; Troop Areas 52; Railroad Cuts 34; AAA Sites Destroyed 128; Road Cuts 244; Buildings 141.

June

Some published accounts cite the 25 TFS as the first squadron qualified and cleared to use the MUSCLE SHOALS ordnance, however, the 8 TFW history cites the 497 TFS initiated this mission and handed it over to the 25 TFS when they arrived in-theater. Another 25 TFS claim was that as a result of their accuracy the squadron was the only USAF tactical fighter squadron cleared to provide their own FAST FAC to direct their airstrikes. In addition, the LORAN-modified Ff-4D often acted as pathfinders for strike packages.

Per the 21 May 1968 message the 25TFSs was assigned 18 aircraft, of which 16 were ‘OE’ and 2 were NOA modified with the ECP-70.0 and ECP-70.7, to provide LORAN D and mission-peculiar weapons. The squadron deployed with 20 F-4D modified with the ITT/LSI AN/ARN-92 LORAN D sets and five spare LORAN sets. the majority of the LORAN sets were installed within two weeks of the deployment and were all unqualified. many aircraft did not have a complete systems check-out prior to departure. the MER & TERs deployed with the squadron equipment were modified for MUSCLE SHOALS ordnance. Due to late installation of the complete LORAN suite prior to departing the States, in-theater tactics, techniques and procedures will be required. At the time of deployment it was anticipated that aircrews would be day-qualified but additional training would be required for night qualifications. Aircrew training with the SUU-41A dispenser was required in as much as the deploying aircrews had no pre-deployment training with this dispenser system.

Hosted upon arrival at Ubon RTAFB by the 435 TFS the first of three flights arrived on 31 May: flights of 8, 6 and 6 F-4D. Theater indoctrination commenced immediately: 2 June: Group A (Flights C & D); Theater Indoctrination. Group B (Flights A & B) departed for PACAF Survival School, Clark AB, through 7 June; 5 June: Group A commenced Fly-Combat Orientation. On 12 June Groups A & B switched roles with A going to PJSS; B commencing Fly-Combat Orientation. On 19 June the flying schedule was fragged, operating under the call sign ‘Silver’.

From the start the 25 TFS operated under the ‘lead crew concept’ whereby only certain Aircraft Commanders would be qualified to actually drop the sensors with the remainder of the Aircraft Commanders flying the Flak Suppression and Strike roles. The 14 dedicated IGLOO WHITE-drop Aircraft Commanders encountered a number of problems during the first month (July) which had a marked effect on drop accuracies. The allowable accuracy for sensors was 200-m in range/60-m in azimuth as determined by the Defense Communications Planning Group. The Squadron had an average range error of 320-m and an average deflection error of 110-m at the end of the first two months of combat drops. Experience and shake-out procedures during this period resulted in the September averages dropping to an average range error of 200-m/ average azlmuth error of 60-m. The inaccuracies could have been attributed to a variety of problems ranging from use of systems not part of the original training program (SUU-41 dispenser vice the SUU-42 dispenser used in training); inaccuracies in strike camera recording drops; and the practice of running on a target versus running on a point target (scoring range using a pylon target) as was the practice on the training ranges at Eglin AFB. In training at Eglin AFB the plan was to deploy FADSID sensors from the SUU-42 dispenser, in-theater however, the CV-1 ADSIS sensor was deployed from the MER or TER, which created an unfamiliar munition with unfamiliar ballistics and drop procedures.

During the phase-in period the 25 TFS was allowed to utilize up to nine fully qualified and experienced aircrews from 8 TFW in the indoctrinization phase: 497 TFS provide five Aircraft Commanders and three pilots; 435 TFS provided two Aircraft Commanders and three pilots; 433 TFS three pilots per day upon request. The 497 TFS began phasing out the MUSCLE SHOALS/igloo white sensor delivery mission with the actual flight check-outs for the 25 TFS beginning on 7 June with the 497 TFS taking the major role in the training. )CAPT Joe Griffith and LT Sam Sox had been deployed TDY to Eglin AFB, Florida, back on 20 April to brief the 25 TFS on actual IGLOO WHITE operations by the 497 TFS.) During the second calendar quarter the 497 TFS dropped 109 strings of sensors.

The 25 TFS LORAN-modified aircraft were easy to spot by the large single blade external antenna on the center fuselage spine. (Changed to the more noted Chilton ‘towel rack’ antenna in 1969.) Special paint marking was used: yellow around the forward fuselage RAM inlets and the canopy rails were painted white.

25 TFS Transferees: 66-8732, 66-8768, 66-8770, 66-8772, 66-8777, 66-8779, 66-8782, 66-8784, 66-8787, 66-8790, 66-8791, 66-8792, 66-8793, 66-8794, 66-8795, 66-8796, 66-8797, 66-8798, 66-8799.

Following the arrival of these aircraft 18 SUU-23A centerline gun pods were turned into the Gun Services Section for checkout. These pods were completely disassembled and cleaned in order for them to be combat operational.

F-4D 66-7697 was an attrition replacement transferee on 4 June from the 405 FW.

On 5 June 1LT Steven D. Gulbrandson, 435 TFS, a veteran of two F-4 ejections to date, received an unwelcome send-off from the North Vietnamese upon completion of his 100th mission. MAJ Sidney J. Wright, pilot/1LT Gulbrandson, PSO, in Rattler Flight Lead, and CAPT Tony Koncak, pilot/1LT Armond A. Turner, PSO, as Rattle Two, were providing flak suppression for Lizard Flight (433 TFS seeding flight). Rattler Flight put all CBU-23 ordnance on target but did not see any firing. Nevertheless, Rattler Lead hit between the inlet ramp and fuselage near the read cockpit took an AAA! 1LT Gulbrandson was presented with a piece of the shrapnel lodged in the aircraft as a farewell gift.

On 9 June Hudson Flight, 497 TFS, was scrambled on a RESCAP for a CSAR effort to recover an F-105 pilot (61-0055, 34 TFS/388 TFW; call sign Master 01) down by 37-mm AAA between two AAA batteries just above the DMZ (17-10’N/106-52’E). Hudson 2, F-4D 66-8746 (291 hours) rolled in to dive-toss M.117 GP bombs on a flak site and was hit in the belly by barrage fire 37-mm AAA. Their aircraft trailing flames MAJ William B. Bergman, pilot/1LT David A. Willett, WSO, made it feet wet before ejecting and recovery within minutes by the Jolly Green Giant (JG-74) and taken to Quang Tri.

F-4D 66-0279 and 66-7457 were attrition replacements arriving on 11 June from the Ogden AMA depot.

On 14 June a new tester, created by a local Sergeant, saved fifteen outboard pylons from being transferred to a depot for checkout.

During the second calendar quarter 274 extended cooling AIM-4D Falcon AAM were shipped to the 8 TFW while another 49 unmodified AIM 4-D AAM were transferred to the 6400 TS COMBAT SAGE program at Clark AB. All of the in-stock AIM-9B Sidewinder AAMs were modified with the installation of a new influence fuse with a shorter arming time.

Night Combat

The 8 TFW had initiated additional training in night combat operations and ordnance deliveries per your instructions. In addition, they requested that orders be changed, effective (5 or 15) June, so that the missions could be flown by one night dedicated squadron for the following reasons: (A) expertise in night operations would be concentrated in ???? solely connected with training for and maintaining proficiency in this environment. (B) The other 8 TFW squadron had essentially daylight missions requirements in support of IGLOO WHITE, PAVEWAY I & II, COMBAT EAGLE, SVN CAS and RP-I Mk.36 seeding, among others. (C) by dedicating units fully to either day or night operations, unit work loads and supervisory requirements were decreased in that an 18-hours day instead of 24-hours results. "2. The following schedule is proposed for an 18 sortie night frag for the 8 TFW, permitting turn-around capability by one squadron to support the fragged requirements. Two sortie flights would be launched every 40-minutes commending at 1000Z until 1340Z, for a total of 5 flights (10 sorties). The turn-around schedule would start at 1700Z at the same rate and spacing for a total of 4 flights (8 sorties). The last take-off would be at 1900Z. The period between 1420Z s and 1620Z and subsequent to 1940Z can be filled at the 2 sorties every 40-minutes rate by other 7AF F4 units. 3. It ??? proposed that the current night stand-by alert aircraft be

eliminated and the following substituted to provide scramble support for not targets: move scheduled flight ahead 15 or 20 minutes or divert flights on or enroute to the tanker. The 8 TFW can divert its regularly scheduled flights to any area of southern Laos or RP-I without refueling, should and immediate requirement exist. This system obviates the ‘alert’ aircraft requirement and reduces crew and maintenance scheduling loads. GP-4"

COMMANDO NAIL Procedures

Due to favorable summer weather conditions in RP-I this quarter (second, 1968), the majority of 8 TFW strikes were accomplished visually. COMMANDO NAIL Crew Information File dated 19 June explained the procedures implemented to increase radar bombing proficiency on fragged targets whether they were existing COMMANDO NAIL targets or simply point targets within computer off-set range of an existing Offset Aiming Point (OAP).

Following an IGLOO WHITE missions (with 25 TFS) controlled by COMMANDO

NAIL 51 on 14 June Papaya Flight (F-4D 66-8724, Reese/UNK; 66-8732,Isbell/Morroud) was redirected by HILLSBORO to the coast of RP-I for an unusual mission with a FAC. 497 TFS aircrews were accustomed to working with FACs flying the F-100 (Misty), 0-2 (Covey), 0-1 (COMMANDO NAIL), and C-130 (Blind Bats), but when they checked in with this FAC they found out they were working with a USN destroyer, call sign Neckware, operating in the Gulf of Tonkin. The destroyer was taking fire from a shore battery and called in the F-4s; the ship marked the target with white phosphorus (willie pete). Papaya Flight then hit the target with Mk. 82 GP bombs and CBU-24—scoring 100% kill.

During a 19 June night Armed Reconnaissance mission along Route 187, Oreo Flight, 497 TFS, caught two convoys of 20 trucks near the Kuan Son Ferry. Oreo Flight Lead attacked the southern-most convoy with a CBU-24, destroying four trucks outright; Oreo 2 stopped the second convoy with a road cut by Mk. 82 GP bombs. Both aircraft then made CBU-24 delivery passes, claiming another six trucks killed. Oreo 2’s final pass silenced a 37-mm AAA site with a direct hit from a Mk. 82 GP bomb. All ordnance passes had been made blacked out, using the truck headlights to orient themselves for the initial pass and then the resulting fires for the follow-up passes.

The 497 TFS lost their fifth aircraft, 66-8724 (305 hours), and third aircrew of the quarter on 23 June. Machete Flight was on a 2000-hours Armed Reconnaissance mission along Route 110 (IR 922A/Black Route) north-east of Mu Gia Pass when Lead spotted some truck lights and called that he was rolling in. Machette 2 lost radio contact with Lead and observed a large fireball on the ground at 17-52’N/105-55’E. A second flight in the area (Cadillac Flight) notified the ABCCC, call sign Alleycat, that it had seen burning wreckage but could not make contact with anyone on Guard. LCOL Donald F. Casey, pilot, Chief of the 8 TFW Tactics and Techniques Section/1LT James E. Booth, WSO, were not recovered. The cause of the loss is unknown, though suspicions were that the aircrew was unaware of the elevation of the karst ridges in the target area and flew into the terrain. This loss represented the only case of both USAF F-4 aircrewmen by listed as MIA at the end of the Vietnam War. LCOL Casey was subsequently presumed dead on 6 February 1979; 1LT Booth was presumed dead as of 8 August 1978.

The 25 TFS flew their first redesignated IGLOO WHITE mission on 24 June.

Possibly the single most successful night of the second quarter for Night Owl operations occurred on 25 June. Skate Flight, 497 TFS, had been diverted by Alleycat ABCCC from their primary target to work with a Misty FAC on an ammunition dump off Route 912 in southern Laos. Attacking with M. 117 GP bombs, rockets, and CBU-24, Skate Flight touched off two secondary fires and twenty explosions.

On 26 June 1968 the ECM function cleared all AN/ALQ-87 pods awaiting maintenance and was able to institute a Preventative Maintenance program. This program was to cycle each pod through the shop after ten flights, conducting frequency and modulation checks.

Morale Changes

LCOL Gibson, 433 TFS, Commanding Officer, made a rather daring and ultimately brilliant maneuver when he appointed a combat aircrewman to the position of Maintenance Staff Officer in an attempt to improve communication and understanding between the Maintenance and Operations departments. MAJ John D. Hughes was the first to step up to the task and begin creating the cohesive understanding being sought; he initiated a standardization of the aircraft forms, insignia markings, and paint configurations. "A real pick-up in morale has been noted by the addition of the crews and maintenance personnel names being painted on the aircraft. Also, each crew named their aircraft and the final painting was being completed as the quarter ended.

Combat TEAM

During the latter half of the second calendar quarter new personnel were assigned to the 433 TFS as part of the Combat TEAM program. Two new pilots and two navigators were part of the evaluation program to compare how Pilots and Navigators of the same amount of F-4D training would compare in the back seat. Certain 433 TFS Aircraft Commanders were flying with each of the Combat TEAM members; after each flight the Aircraft Commander would evaluate the mission, which in turn were evaluated by Air Force Behavioral Scientists.

433 TFS Educational Assistance Fund

During this second calendar quarter the first recipient of the 433 TFS Educational Assistance Fund Scholarship was selected. The primary objective of this program was to provide an education to worthy and deserving Thai students and in doing so improve Thai-American relations. At the end of the quarter the Fund assets was $900. The recipient of the first $200 scholarship was Miss Chaiyou Soogsumran, having completed her secondary education at Ubon’s Siddhicharm School and subsequently started business education training at Krirks College in Bangkok. The 433 TFS paid for her complete schooling.

433 TFS Sortie Tally

South Vietnam North Vietnam (RP-I) Laos Day/Night

April: 4 327 169 293/207

May: 50 (2 night) 445 58* 297/256

June: 32 464 31* 391/136

* The rapid drop of missions over Laos in May and June was caused by the start of the rainy season in southern Laos which stopped the flow of enemy traffic very effectively.

For the second calendar quarter the 8 TFW aircrews logged 5,885 sorties (4,447 over RP-I; 1,438 over Laos) down 44 sorties from the first calendar quarter. Sorties by type included 1,9083 JCS Di8rected Targets; 902 Armed Reconnaissance; and 3,000 7AF Directed Targets. Strikes on different targets include: 487 strikes on bridges/ferries; 1,195 on railroads; 372 on Flak/SAM sites; 976 on vehicles; 150 against boats; 1,926 on area targets; and 779 on ‘other’ targets. The Wing reported 78 aircraft possessed, 108 aircrews combat ready and 96 aircrews available. The BDA included 533 trucks destroyed; 886 secondary explosions; 1,132 fires; 920 road cuts; and destruction of 82 boats.

Mission Samples

Type Mission 25-30/4 26/31/5 25-30/6

COMMANDO NAIL (airborne 43 6 11

Radar directed bombing)

Combat SKYSPOT (ground 55 18 20

Radar directed bombing)

FAC controlled 57 39 26

Visual Point Targets 13 19 19

(targets visually acquired

and bombed)

Armed Reconnaissance 25 44 55

Special Stores (IGLOO WHITE, 18 35 46

AGM-62 WALLEYE, Mk. Land

Mines, etc.)

6400 TS Detachments/Clark AB

6-16/6: 66-7703 (Clark AB)

6-26/6: 65-0722 (Clark AB)

18-27/6: 66-7748 (Clark AB)

 

Mk. 7 Ejection Seat Upgrade, SMAAR Ubon:

3-9/6: 66-7772; 4-11/6: 66-7601; 6-13/6: 66-8722; 7-14/6: 66-7767; 9-17/6: 66-0241; 11-18/6: 66-7673; 12/6-8/7: 66-7624; 13-20/6: 66-7686; 14-21/6: 66-7756; 17-23/6: 66-8726; 18-25/6: 66-8692; 20-26/6: 66-8693; 21-27/6: 66-7763; 22/6- : 66-7594; 23-29/6: 66-7721; 25-29/6: 66-8753; -25/6: 66-024.

Expended Ordnance

Mk.82 500-lb/227-kg 5,975; Mk.84 2,000-lb/907-kg 74; M.117 750-lb/340-kg 1,807; Mk.36 Seeding Bombs 1,510; 2.75 FFAR Rockets 1,183; CBU-2 36; CBU-24 798; CBU-29 115; AIM-7 Sparrow 0; AIM-9 Si8dewinder 0; AIM-4 Falcon 0; Mk.24 Flares 2,520; Leaflets 0; agm-62 Walleye 0.

Bomb Damage Assessment

POL 23; Fires Started 503; Secondary Explosions 412; Trucks Destroyed 252; Bridges Destroyed 28; Ferries 96; Road Cuts 371; Buildings.

July

Effective 1 July a new Southeast Asia tour policy became effective. Aircrews were now required to serve a full one-year tour instead of rotating after 100 combat missions over North Vietnam.

Night operations was again a major focus during this quarter. The 8 TFW position was that better results could be achieved if some flexibility in delivery tactics was permitted (7AF had a restriction against delivering ordnance under blackout conditions). Too, the 8 TFW recommended that their night sorties be doubled and that two squadrons be committed to night flying.

Operation Thor, 1-7 July, accounted for much of the Wing’s effort. Operation THOR was a massive, continual bombardment of artillery positions and bunkers in and immediately north of the eastern half of the DMZ. The 497 TFS flew 60 sorties, delivering in excess of 700 hard bombs via Combat SKYPOT delivery techniques. USAF flew 58;7 sorties and were credited with setting off 37 secondary explosions, starting 118 fires, and destroying 25 artillery and AAA sites.

On 5 July the 433 TFS lost F-4D 66-7756 (440 hours). LCOL Carl B. Crumpler, pilot/1LT Michael T. Burns, WSO, were hit pulling off target after a run to knock out a AAA gun position located 6-na.mi/11-km south-west of Quang Kne. Voice contact was established and both men reported in good shape. CSAR was immediately started but then suspended due to darkness. Contact was not reestablished; shortly thereafter they were captured.

Project PAVEWAY Detachment 1 initiated combat evaluation of the Mk.84 LGB.

On 8 July the 433 TFS lost F-4D 66-7671 (435 hours), call sign Roman, during an 1800-hours Armed Reconnaissance flight against trucks in RP-I. During the roll-in on the target (17-13’N/106-28’E) the aircraft was hit by AAA. 1LT D.M. Hollenback and 1LT C.W. Mosley were quickly recovered.

On 8 July Agile Flight, 497 TFS, launched on a night Armed Reconnaissance mission in the Mu Gia Pass area, striking a POL storage area near the boundary between RP-I & RP-II. Agile Flight Lead fired two pods of rockets resulting in three fires; Agile 2 dropped 6 Mk.82 GP bombs then a CBU-24 pod that accounted for another ten fires. Flames from one of the fires shot over 200-ft/61-m into the air. 8 TFW aircrews working the same area the following afternoon (9 July) reported the fire still burning.

With the onset of the Southwest monsoon Campaign a number of interdiction points were chosen along major lines of communications (LOC) for frequent attack. These interdiction pints were selected so that roads cut would be difficult to repair rapidly and the backlog of vehicle traffic could be targeted. On 14 July the 7AF opens the Thirty-Day Interdiction Program against enemy Lines of Communication (LOC)

Two ex-4531 TFW F-4D, 66-0281 and 66-7499, were acquired on 18 July via the Ogden AMA depot. F-4D 66-8791 checked in with the SMAAR Ubon logistics unit between 18 July and 1 August.

On a day mission on 21 July Cobalt Flight, 497 TFS, (Project PAVEWAY Detachment One) planned and executed a strike on the cave entrance to the Disappearing River, located .25-mi/.40-km directly south of the Phuon Chay ferry. The area was reputed to have the heaviest air defenses in the southern panhandle and suspected to house the barges and pontoon bridge sections used at the Phoung Chay and Quan Son crossings. Cobalt Flight Lead made the initial attack for flak suppression with CBU-24s on the gun positions in the target area; Cobalt 2 then made a low angle dive delivery of two conventional Mk.84 GP bombs against the cave entrance. Cobalt Lead then dive-tossed two more M.84 GP bombs onto the target. All four bombs scored direct hits, collapsing a 200-ft/61-m section of the cave entrance into the river.

On 24 July the 497 lost two aircraft from Oreo Flight during a 2000-hours Armed Reconnaissance mission along Black Rout, RP-I, in the vicinity of Dong Hoi. Oreo Lead, F-4D 66-7703, was hit by enemy AAA and made it feet wet where the aircrew ejected: CAPT T.D. Gill was recovered by a USAF helicopter while 1LT R.G. Pierce was picked up by a USN vessel. A Navy aircraft in the area reported seeing a second aircraft crash. Oreo 2 went down at sea (17-44’N/106-44’E) for unknown cause, approximately 16-mi/26-km north/northeast of Dong Hoi; no contact was established with CAPT Harley B. Hackett, III, pilot/1LT John R. Bush, PSO, were declared missing.

F-4D 66-7763 was temporarily attached to the logistics unit at Da Nang AB between 27 July and 2 August. F-4D 66-0233 TFW, arrived from the Ogden AMA depot on 30 July.

During the third calendar quarter the 25 TFS was the sole all-day squadron. The 433 TFS and 435 TFS identified one third of each of their crews as night crews and the remainder as day crews. The 497 TFS returned to their original ‘Night Owls,’ as an all-night squadron.

6400 TS Detachments

29/7-1/8: 66-7771; 29/7-2/8: 66-8732;

Expended Ordnance

Mk.82 500-lb/227-kg 5,378; Mk.84 2,000-lb/907-kg 66; M.117 750-lb/l340-kg 2,700; Mk.36 Seeding Bombs 1,325; LAU-3/A 2.75 FFAR 913; CBU-2 382; CBU-24 1,023; CBU-29 123; AIM-7 Sparrow 0; AIM-9 Sidewinder 0; AIM-4 Falcon 0; Mk.24 Flares 2,778; Leaflets 0; AGM-62 Walleye 0; M.117 LGB 10; Mk.84 LGB 27.

Bomb Damage Assessment

POL 8; Fires Started 212; Secondary Explosions 218; Rail Rolling Stock 7; Troop Areas 28; Railroad Cuts 4. Trucks Destroyed 50; Bridges Destroyed 15; Ferries/Boats 7; AAA Sites Destroyed 73; Road Cuts 305.

August

F-4D 66-7771 was down at Udorn RTAFB between 1-5 August.

Project PAVEWAY Detachment 1 completed the combat evaluation of the Mk. 84 LGB effective 2 August. Results indicated that the Mk.84 was superior to the M.117 LGB.

On 5 August CAPT Edward D. Schnapel, in F-4D 66-8779, received an automatic weapons hit in the left forward wing root area, resulting in internal damage in the fuselage and right wing tanks. As a result of this damage, the aircraft was returned on 4 September to the U.S. depot for repair.

F-4D 66-7464, ex-479 TFW, arrived on 6 August via the Ogden AMA depot. Later in the month a flight of four F-4D attrition replacements were ferried in on 20 August from Ogden AMA depot: 66-7468 remained with the Wing but 66-0234, 66-0235 and 66-0264 were transferred on 27 August to the 366 TFW over at Da Nang AB. F-4D 65-0764 was acquired from the Ogden AMA depot on 28 August.

On 23 August COL Charles C. Pattillo, Wing Commander, piloted the lead aircraft on the Wolf Pack’s 50,000 combat sortie.

On 23 August the 435 TFS launched Killer Flight against a Pathet Lao command post inside a cave honeycombed section of a karst east of Sam Neda. Killer Flight consisted of MAJ Frank C. Lenahan/CAPT Gary E. Robison, Killer Flight Lead; MAJ Roger O. Clemens/1LT Tom J. Campbell, Killer Flight 2; MAJ Norman A. Ruby/1LT Larry J. Hanley, Killer Flight 3; MAJ John E. Mason/CAPT Douglas M. Fain, Killer Flight 4. Each of these aircraft were loaded with Mk.82 GP bombs and CBU-24 cluster ordnance. Upon arrival at the target Killer Flight held high while a flight of F-105 pressed an attack with AGM-12 BULLPUP missiles. When Killer Flight commenced their attack runs they were subjected to heavy 37-mm AAA, which necessitated taking out the offending guns. During the attacks on the gun sites Killer Flight 4 was hit just as he released ordnance and lost its left engine, utility hydraulic systems and the electrical system was on fire. The aircrew made an emergency run to Udorn RTAFB for a safe landing. (Possibly 66-0274, which checked in with the 00AAR Udorn RTAFB with serious battle damage that resulted in the aircraft being broken down and shipped to the Ogden AMA depot on 30 October).

On 24 August the 497 TFS lost F-4D 6-8694, call sign Agile 2, on a night Armed Reconnaissance mission. They were making a second run on the secondary target and was observed by the lead aircraft to impact on a karst 1.3-mi/2-km northwest of the target. No enemy fire was observed in the area. No parachutes were observed, beepers heard. The only SAR effort initiated was an electronic search. As a result of this loss a renewed emphasis was placed on night operations safety. The 7AF provided guidance to the effect that night operations were at the discretion of the Wing Commanders; that aircrews (only the most experienced) should be kept together and remain on the night schedule for a minimum of six months at a time.

On 24 August MAJ Anthony J. Doren/CAPT James Hofman was leading Denver Flight on a mission over southern RP-I when diverted by HILLABORO to rendezvous with Misty 11 FAC. Misty 11 had spotted a SAM transported turning off a road in an attempt to hide in the trees—he called for an immediate strike to which Denver Flight obliged.

The SAM transporter was well camouflaged under the trees but Misty II laid smoke right on target for Denver Lead to roll on in. Denver Lead’s bombs straddled the target with no apparent results; MAJ Clarence B. Goldbacker/1LT John J. McBroome, Denver 2, made their pass. Misty II confirmed that Denver 2’s bombs had destroyed the SAM and the transporter.

F-4D 66-0274 was down (probable combat damage divert) at the Udorn RTAFB logistics unit on 24 August, from where it was transferred on 30 October to the Ogden AMA depot.

Effective 31 August the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) contingent closed out their operations at Ubon RTAFB and withdrew to Butterworth, Malaysia.

Ever since the 497 TFS regained the dedicated Night Owl mission the problem of safe night delivery parameters had been open to question. The issue was resolved in August as follows:

  1. Ordnance may be delivered blacked out (without flares) on a self-illuminated (burning) target.
  2. B. An earth-sky horizon must exist either by moonlight, bright starlight, or flare light.
  3. C. Visibility in flight must be five miles.
  4. D. Delivery parameters: 1. 30 degree dive—recover by 4,500 feet AGL. 2. 10-15 degree glide—recover by 1,000 feet AGL. 3. Level to 10 degrees glide—do not press below 500 feet above the highest terrain within three nautical miles of ingress route, target area, and egress route.

 

SMAAR Ubon

12-13/8: 66-7681; 14-16/8: 66-8823; 16-17/8: 66-7643; 17-18/8: 66-8817; 19-20/8: 66-7628, 66-8821; 20-21/8: 66-0281, 66-8815; 21-22/8: 66-0274, 66-8814; 22-23/8: 66-7555, 66-7748; 23-24/8: 66-0279,66-8753; 24-25/8: 66-7765; 26-27/8: 66-7601; 27-28/8: 66-8726; 127/8: 66-7594; 28-29/8: 66-7772; 29-30/8: 66-7457; 30-31/8: 66-7697; 31/8-1/9: 66-0249.

Expended Ordnance

Mk.82 500-lb/227-kg 8,022; AIM-7 Sparrow 0. Mk.84 2,000-lb/907-kg 14; M.117 750-lb/340-kg 1,309; Mk.36 Seeding Bombs 333; LAU-3/A 2.75 FFAR 798; CBU-2 519; CBU-24 1,231; CBU-29 86; CBU-49 127; CBU-28 22; BLU-27 Fire Bomb 112; AIM-9 Sidewinder 0; AIM-4Falcon 0; Mk.24 Flares 2,658; Leaflets 0; AGM-62 Walleye 0; M.117 LGB 22; Mk.84 LGB 8.

LORAN Check-out

The LORAN system relied on radio signals emitted from the ‘master’ and ‘slave’ transmitters in Thailand and South Vietnam, to navigate the aircraft to within a 30-ft/9-m CEP bombing accuracy. This CEP was far better than the radar-directed COMBAT PROOF (subsequently redesignated COMBAT SKYSPOT) strikes flown by other tactical aircraft. Too, LORAN made possible the ‘accurate’ delivery of CBU ordnance close to U.S. and allied troops. When set up at Ubon RTAFB the ground-side workload was being accomplished by ten civilian contract civilians as airmen were being trained.

Upon arrival in-theater a program was established to prove the accuracy of the LORAN and related sensor release system. The initial program involved selecting three targets in southern Laos which were then covered by orth-photo mosaics. Only a small area in Laos was covered by these mosaics and it was felt that this LORAN overlay coverage was necessary to provide the information required to achieve any type of validity.

In August the LORAN Engineer Officer decided the program was unsatisfactory for the following reasons:

:a. The Loran in-commission rate was low. This was caused by lack of spare parts, lack of Loran bench test equipment, and a lack of technical data. The Loran equipment was maintained by LSI/ITT technical representatives. Initially only two representatives from each company were employed. In view of these limitations it was decided to attempt to maintain only eight of the 20 aircraft with operational Loran.

  1. The Loran reliability rate was low. Loran sets that would check-out on the ground would not operate in the air. Loran sets would lose lock-on in weather, clear air, and maneuvering.
  2. The three selected targets in Laos proved to be unsatisfactory. They were in hostile territory and also presented fuel reserve problems when used after the primary combat missions.
  3. The combat situation dictate that the Loran program be first alternate after the fragged combat mission. This situation did not lend itself to any large amount of Loran date collection."

Some of the spare parts arrived by mid-August; the number of contract technicians doubled; and the test equipment arrived that could determine which parts could be repaired on station. This created for the first time a limited bench stock consisting of a few computers and rope core memory banks which had been in short supply. At this time it was decided to maintain 10 of 20 aircraft with an operational LORAN system.

On 24 August a new program was initiated to determine the LORAN reliability as a navigational aid. The semi-successful program was still being conducted through the end of the quarter.

On 13 September two AN/PSN-2 LORAN receiver back packs were received. These back packs were utilized in taking actual LORAN readings at prominent land marks. Photographing these landmarks, and correlating these points on a map in an attempt to plat a LORAN overlay grid of the local area. The selected Thailand target was a well-defined, octagon shaped town located 27-mi/29-km north-east of Ubon RTAFB. The target was physically measured and LORAN readouts taken from the backpacks were established at street intersections. This target provided the necessary information in conjunction with the KB-18 camera film, to determine the accuracy of the LORAN release system. This scoring system became operational on 22 September.

A recent decision restricting IGLOO WHITE operations over southern North Vietnam had the consequential effect of limiting LORAN data following combat missions (in that very little sensor/ordnance was being expended.) It was not considered safe to generate a LORAN release signal over Thai territory with unexpended ordnance on the aircraft. To compensate for this limitation the 25 TFS scheduled one additional unarmed LORAN-equipped aircraft each day strictly for the purpose of gathering LORAN data.

 

September

The weather over Laos improved in September reducing the need for Combat SKYSPOT-directed missions. Conversely the weather over RP-I resulted in a dramatic rise in COMMANDO NAIL missions.

New passive defense revetments for tactical aircraft were formally accepted on 4 September.

In September the 7AF cleared the 497 TFS for night operations in the western half of RP-II. This area was being used extensively by the enemy for transshipment of supplies and staging of convoys heading down through the Southern Panhandle. AAA fire in this area was reported to be heavier than even Kuan Son and Phuong Chay. On 15 September Resale Flight flew Armed Reconnaissance along upper Route 15, striking three separate storage areas. Heavy (600 rounds) 37-mm AAA was encountered. Resale 2 made the first attack with unfinned napalm, producing a huge secondary explosion and mushroom cloud and three sustained fires. Resale Lead dropped two CBJ-24s into a second storage area to start 10 medium fires and then silenced one of the 37-mm AAA sites via rockets. The third area was hit by Resale 2’s extended-fuse Mk.82 GP bombs, resulting in seven more sustained fires. On 15 September Plymouth Flight, 497 TFS, made the first night delivery of the M.117 LGB, moving Project PAVEWAY into the operational phase.

DE HAVEN, 8 TFW – 7

On 17 September MAJ Joel B. Taylor/1LT Joseph W. Fobes, Hotrod Flight Lead, 433 TFS, and CAPT Donald J. Alberts/1LT Dan L. Radtke, Hotrod 2, were targeting a truck park located near the intersection of Route 101 and 106 in the central lowland area of RP-I. Hotrod Lead placed their flares right over the target, lighting the way for Hotrod 2 to commence their bombing runs; both aircraft made repeated runs on this lucrative target, causing many fires and secondary explosions. More than 500 rounds of ZPU, 37/57-mm AAA were fired at the flight, indicating that what was being hit was a high value target which in turn earned them a second night of bombing. On 18 September the primary targets were the AAA gunners. Hotrod Lead approached from the east at 2,500-ft/762-m and dropped flares—at the instant that flares ignited at 500-ft/152-m Hotrod 2 initiated their run from the south at 800-ft/244-m. Either the physical impact of the CBU-2 or the psychological effect of the bombing silenced the gunners. Hotrod Flight made repeated runs over the target for the next 15-minutes, causing 15 raging fires and 8 secondary explosions.

On 19 September the 435 TFS lost F-4D 66-8692 (595 hours) during a TACAN approach to Ubon RTAFB following a night Armed Reconnaissance mission. There was no known battle damage or indications of a mechanical failure. 1LT Peter R. Nash, WSO, ejected, sustaining serious injuries. MAJ Roger O. Clemens was trapped in the wreckage and killed.

On 24 September Fresno Flight, 433 TFS, attacked a railroad tunnel in RP-I which was situated in a karst surrounded by other higher karsts and heavily defended by AAA. Fresno Flight was using the AGM-62A WALLEYE glide bomb on this target. Fresno Flight Lead fired first but the glide bomb did not guide properly; CAPT Gaillard R. Peck, Jr./1LT Roger L. Howard, Fresno 2, guided their WALLEYE right into the mouth of the tunnel, closing it down—for their efforts they took three ZPU AAA hits in the underside of their aircraft.

the LORAN D was evaluated (30 September) as an accurate system of navigation when operating property but suffers from an unreliability problem.

In late September the Seventh Ai8r Force (7AF) cleared the 8 TFW for pre-planned Strikes against selected storage areas in RP-II.

During this quarter courses in all phases of F-4 maintenance (including electronics, engines, corrosion control, technical publications and weapons maintenance) were provided by the 903S Field Training Detachment (FTD) at Clark AB, Philippines. A maintenance headache during this period involved rain damage to the radar set controls. When the rear canopy was left open and a sudden rain shower occurred rain would seep down into the radar set control and settle into the plugs. When power was applied to the system, the water caused shorts between the pins of the plugs, damaging the controls, which in turn damaged other parts of the set. In an attempt to solve the rain problem ‘podding’ was used on the plugs: this consisted of a putty-line substance being applied around the plugs to seal out moisture.

During this reporting quarter Wing aircraft underwent four Class I modifications:

The first F-4 FAC missions were flown out of Da Nang AB, providing the FAST FAC duties over the more intense AAA zones.

Three Strike Force Alpha exercises were flown during this quarter. Actual RP-VI procedures were employed, including mass refuelings, marshalling the force with Iron Hands and flights from other bases, and attacking a designated target. The first mission was led by LCOL Ralph D. Gibson, 433 TFS, one of the last 8 TFW pilots with RP-VI experience. The second mission utilized a "V of V’s" formation that employed Combat SKYSPOT ordnance dropping techniques from 16,000-ft/4,877-m. COL Charles C. Pattillo led the third mission, employing a standard fingertip formation; each flight flew formation on the Lead Flight. The second formation of 12 aircraft flew 500-ft/152-m directly behind the Lead Flight—overall this formation proved to be a lot more satisfactory and more maneuverable.

The Wing flew 6,652 sorties/10,472 hours during the reporting quarter; 6,269 were combat sorties.

Clark AB:

4-6/9: 66-0281; 4-11/9: 66-8768; 12-17/9: 66-7555; 12-20/9: 66-8693; 22-26/9: 66-8787; 30/9-3/10: 66-0263, 66-7457

SMAAR Ubon

2-3/9: 66-7673; 3-4/9: 66-8710; 4-5/9: 66-7760; 5-6/9: 66-8739; 6-7/9: 66-7464, 66-8691; 7-8/9: 66-8786; 9-10/9: 66-7763; 10-11/9: 66-7468; 1-13/9: 66-0245; 13-14/9: 66-7721; 14-15/9: 66-0263, 66-7767; 16-17/9: 66-7501, 66-7624; 17-18/9: 66-7771, 66-8777; 18-19/9: 66-0241; 19-20/9: 65-0764; 20-21/9: 66-0233; 21-22/9: 66-7750; 23-24/9: 66-7472; 24-25/9: 66-7499; 25-26/9: 65-0651; 26-27/9: 66-7526; 27-28/9: 66-7661; 28-29/9: 66-7474; 30/9-1/10: 66-7515

 

Expended Ordnance

Mk.82 500-lb/227-kg; 6,876; Mk.84 2,000-lb/907-kg 20; M.117 750-lb/340-kg 1,279; Mk.36 Seeding Bombs 40; LAU-3/A 2.75 FFAR 682; CBU-2 331; CBU-24 1,338; CBU-29 0; CBU-49 279; AIM-7 Sparrow 0; AIM-9 Sidewinder 0; AIM-4 Falcon 0; Mk.24 Flares not available; Leaflets 0; AGM-62 Walleye 0; M.117 LGB 6; Mk.84 LGB 1; CBU-28 129; BLU-27 Fire Bomb 151.

October

A couple of F-4D were transferred in-theater from the Ogden AMA depot then forward transferred from the 8 TFW to the 366 TFW: 65-0613, 8 TFW 2-11 October; 65-0674, 8 TFW 4-11 October; 65-0626, 8 TFW 23-31 October.

Two attrition replacements arrived in mid-month: 65-0718 was acquired from the Ogden AMA depot on 14 October. F-4D 66-8748 arrived on 23 October from the 4533 TS/33 TFW.

F-4D 65-0725 returned on 15 October from the Ogden AMA depot.

 

31 October

Without the agreement of the South Vietnamese government, U.S. President Johnson unilaterally ended Operation ROLLING THUNDER effective 0800-hours Eastern Standard Time (1600-hours Thailand time). This effectively terminated all offensive air operations over North Vietnam. MAJ Frank C. Lenahan, pilot/UNK, WSO, is credited (at least in some USAF records) as flying the last6 ROLLING THUNDER mission, against a target near Dong Hoi, only 90-minutes before the end of the long-running operations.

 

Clark AB Detachments (6400 TS/COMBAT SAGE)

6-10/10: 65-0764; 6-11/10: 66-8782; 18-26/10: 66-8726; 26/10-4/11: 66-7503; 29/10-2/11: 66-7765

 

Mk.7 Ejection Seat Upgrade/Repair, SMAAR Ubon:

1-3/10: 66-7594; 2-23/10: 66-8777 (from OOAAR Da Nang); 3-4/10: 66-8693; 3-8/10: 66-8789; 4-5/10: 66-7752; 5-6/10: 65-0722, 66-8696; 7-8/10: 65-0724, 66-7728; 8-9/10: 66-8763; 8-11/10: 66-0239; 9-10/10: 66-7764, 66-8722; 30/10-25/11: 66-8726; 31/10-15/11: 66-7499

F-4-D 66-8789 was inducted into the Ubon Logistics unit on 14 October from where it was transferred on 17 December to the Ogden AMA depot.

 

November

Three aircraft made the trip to the Air Asia depot during November: 65-0651 deployed on 6 November; 65-0722 deployed on 17 November; and 66-0241 deployed on 20 November.

Clark AB Detachments (6400 TS/COMBAT SAGE)

4-10/11: 66-0239, 66-8784; 11-16/11: 66-8690, 66-8795; 18-21/11: 66-8821; 18-25/11: 66-8748; 25-29/11: 65-0725; 27-29/11: 66-7472

Mk.7 ejection seat upgrade, SMAAR Ubon

-15/11: 66-7499; -25/11: 66-8726; 30/11-: 66-7474

December

On 3 December the 497 TFS lost F-4D 66-7499 (755 hours), call sign Tampa, on a midnight Strike mission on a road segment in Section E, STEEL TIGER, Laos, when hit by 37-57-mm AAA at 17-30’N/105-43’E. MAJ C.L. Gallanger, pilot/1LT D.K. Chastain, WSO, were safely recovered by USAF helicopter.

Clark AB Detachments (6400 TS/COMBAT SAGE)

1-6/12: 66-8794; 4-6/12: 66-8799; 9-12/12: 66-7526; 16-19/12: 66-8762; 16-23/12: 66-7767; 23-28/12: 66-8792

Mk.7 Ejection Seat Upgrade/Repair, SMAAR Ubon:

2/12-: 66-0249; 17/12-: 66-7764; -17/12: 66-7474

Air Asia Depot Movements

5/12-: 66-0233; -12/12: 65-0722; -16/12: 65-0651; 17-27/12: 65-0722; 21/12-: 65-0724; 23/12-: 66-0245; -27/12: 66-0241