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"There I was" stories from a Vietnam era A-4 Driver

brownshoe

Well-Known Member
Contributor
Fxxk it! I've had enough this week, yet still my head is buried in paperwork, blue prints annnnd I've gotta work all weekend. Took a break, found a six pack and I'm relaxing. Now come on you old farts... Corky, Derf, BzB, Ron... let's party! Happy Hour Lounge? First drink is on BzB. (Sigh,,, the old Navy.)

 
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BusyBee604

St. Francis/Hugh Hefner Combo!
pilot
Super Moderator
Contributor
:D:D
Fxxk it! I've had enough this week, yet still my head is buried in paperwork, blue prints annnnd I've gotta work all weekend. Took a break, found a six pack and I'm relaxing. Now come on you old farts... Corky, Derf, BzB, Ron... let's party! Happy Hour Lounge? First drink is on BzB. (Sigh,,, the old Navy.)
Okay Shoe, you're right... time for a party, an "AW spring break"? We need a reason, so how 'bout my AW fifth anniversary? Way back in April '09, I got a PM from some unknown Navy Vet, on another Navy website ~ called "Navy Together We Served (NTWS)". The PM invited me over to a site about Naval Aviation, he thought I might enjoy reading on the site, a maybe contributing some adventures and 'stuff'. Of course that note was from our own Skyhawk Plane Captain,and VA-44 Squadronmate Brownshoe!:eek:

I checked AW out, liked what I saw and on 7 April, 2009, struggled to make my first post (which happens to be an intro), OP note #1 on this thread. So, five years & 3,033 dull/brilliant/boring/antiquated/insightful/controversial/interesting/or sarcastic (pick any 3) posts later, for better or worse (pick 1), 'da Bee is still hangin' in here!:eek:

So Shoe, get the cauldron boilin', keg tapped, chocks and wands ready, "TA-4J BakerBoy 477 inbound from NAS Brunswick, with a blivot crammed with live Maine lobsters, ETA Cecil 0+30 BzB out.:D:eek:
SqLdr Ross Donaldson RNZAF @ VA-44.jpg
BzB
 
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BusyBee604

St. Francis/Hugh Hefner Combo!
pilot
Super Moderator
Contributor
,Today being Memorial Day 2014, I pay tribute in particular, and remember the 5 fellow Naval Aviators/BNs/RIO KIA in my Airwing (CVW-14/CVA-64), on "Black Monday", 21 August, 1967. On that fateful day, A division of A-6 Intruders from VA-196 "Main Battery" launched on a strike in the vicinity of Hanoi. The leader (Sqdn CO, CDR Leo Profilet), and his B/N were shot down over the target, and became POWs. The remaining 3 A-6s headed for feet wet after weps delivery, diverted to the north to circumnavigate a huge T-storm area, unknowingly flying too close to, or crossing the Chinese border. Set upon by ChiCom MIGs, 2 of the 3 were shot down, resulting in 2 pilots, and 1 B/N KIA. One B/N (LT Bob Flynn), was captured by the Chinese and held POW for some 5 1/2 years, released concurrently with the NVN POWs in early 1973. The 4th A-6 made it back to CONNIE.:confused:

Also, on this disastrous day, we lost 2 VF-142 "Ghost Riders", F-4J Phantoms on unrelated missions. One shot down with both Pilot & RIO KIA; the other Pilot & RIO were recovered by USN helo. My section of 2 A-4Cs were diverted to provide CSAR for the 2 survivors. This rescue was in a nasty area north of the coastal port city of Hon Gai, the location of the NVN Naval Academy, and uncomfortably close to the Chinese border. We were not well armed for SAR (100 rds of 20mm & 2-AGM-12B "Bullpup" guided missiles each). Fortunately the rescue went well, as we observed no attempt to capture the survivors. When the helo reported 'feet wet', my wingie & I immediately made 2 runs each firing our Bullpups into the AA site that tagged the Phantom, then hauled boody. The only satisfaction on a baaad day... I don.t think the offending AA gunners were amused!:eek:

*I was rereminded of this sad day this year, as only mid-week past, I received an e-mail informing me that LT Bob Flynn, the Chinese ex-POW, had just passed away at age 77, in P'Cola I knew Bob from a previous Airwing before the war, when he was a B/N in our A-3 detachment. He was a real character, the whole launch up on strike frequency knew when Bob was going airborne, as he carried a bugle, and tooted various "tunes" off the end of the cat, on the radio:)
A-6As_VA-196_dropping_Mk_82_bombs_Vietnam.jpg
images.jpg
RIP Shipmates, you are not forgotten!:(


.
 
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Catmando

Keep your knots up.
pilot
Super Moderator
Contributor
Great post, BzB! Great people to remember. Stirred up some memories.

Low profile for me, today. Like a cartoon I saw today - a child with his father at a national cemetery asking why "only today?" - I remember almost 365!

I smile, but do not quite share the "Happy Memorial Day" wishes I hear. For me, it is somber day, and not so happy. But that is OK. I also smile at those who confuse Memorial Day with Veteran's Day. Because It is far better than when you and I thankfully returned decades ago.

Last week, once again I also found that I could not enjoy our community's always awesome fireworks display - like more 'normal people' - because the fireworks was too up close and brought back some difficult memories. Fireworks far away is never a problem.... just as enemy fire far away was never a problem for me. But it was for the far away B-52s, "far away" being shot down at night during Linebacker II.

Those who mean well but do not know can be forgiven if they have not shared the experience.

Irony: I was working out at the MCAS Gym today listening to my IPad. Suddenly amongst my normal tunes, a Vietnam audio came up that I didn't know was on my IPad. I initially thought it was an audio a FAC had sent me years ago, while at the Battle of An Loc. However, listening to it further, I realized it was an audio of your SAR RESCAP, your CAS, and your taking a hit, on fire, and going for a swim. Great stuff! Thanks for it. All experienced professionals doing their job under fire. BZ, BzB.
 

BusyBee604

St. Francis/Hugh Hefner Combo!
pilot
Super Moderator
Contributor
:):(:(:(
I smile, but do not quite share the "Happy Memorial Day" wishes I hear. For me, it is somber day, and not so happy. But that is OK. I also smile at those who confuse Memorial Day with Veteran's Day.
Cat, well said! I too, was greeted many times yesterday with they well intentioned "Happy Memorial Day" as though it were a day to celebrate like a birthday. Where time allowed, I explained (as diplomatically as possible), that it for me, was not a happy day, but a day of remembrance and reflection. Closed it with "Enjoy your holiday, but don't forget to remember"!
Last week, once again I also found that I could not enjoy our community's always awesome fireworks display - like more 'normal people' - because the fireworks was too up close and brought back some difficult memories.
The only "VN flashback" I've ever experienced happened not too long after my sec0nd combat cruise. Vacationing in Seattle, Mrs. Bee, I, and our 3 pre-teens were sitting on a blanket at Green Lake, awaiting start of the annual fourth of July fireworks show. Nearly dark, I was caught by surprise by the opening thunder & bright explosions, with the sky seemingly filled with tracers. Without thinking, I found myself flat on the ground, totally covered by the blanket. Didn't last long... tried to explain to the little "Beelets", but they couldn't quite grasp it. I have avoided fireworks displays to this day.:rolleyes:
However, listening to it further, I realized it was an audio of your SAR RESCAP, your CAS, and your taking a hit, on fire, and going for a swim. Great stuff! Thanks for it. All experienced professionals doing their job under fire. BZ, BzB.
I was very fortunate to be given that tape by the crew of one of our CVW-14 E-2 'Hawkeyes'. We had never been aware that all of our E-2s had a 7-channel tape recorder which, when airborne, simultaneously recorded Guard/Strike/Tower/SAR/plus AIC, CCA, & others as directed.:)

I play it back at long intervals to remind myself. how fortunate I am. It is a case study of an efficient, and professional recovery of 2 shotdown Pilots, in different type aircraft (A-4C & A-6A), from different CVAs (Connie & Ranger), by the same helo, while under AAA & mortar fire, which resulted in the A-6 B/N KIA.:(

For recent AW members, several years ago, we posted links to both the SAR audio tape, and the written narrative of the whole episode... on this thread, page 9 (previous page), post #121. If interested, give the audio link a try. If no joy, drop me a PM, and we'll try to get it fixed. Thinkin' you'll find it only too real... and interesting!:eek:
BzB
 

brownshoe

Well-Known Member
Contributor
:):(:(:(
Cat, well said! I too, was greeted many times yesterday with they well intentioned "Happy Memorial Day" as though it were a day to celebrate like a birthday. Where time allowed, I explained (as diplomatically as possible), that it for me, was not a happy day, but a day of remembrance and reflection. Closed it with "Enjoy your holiday, but don't forget to remember"!

The only "VN flashback" I've ever experienced happened not too long after my sec0nd combat cruise. Vacationing in Seattle, Mrs. Bee, I, and our 3 pre-teens were sitting on a blanket at Green Lake, awaiting start of the annual fourth of July fireworks show. Nearly dark, I was caught by surprise by the opening thunder & bright explosions, with the sky seemingly filled with tracers. Without thinking, I found myself flat on the ground, totally covered by the blanket. Didn't last long... tried to explain to the little "Beelets", but they couldn't quite grasp it. I have avoided fireworks displays to this day.:rolleyes:

I was very fortunate to be given that tape by the crew of one of our CVW-14 E-2 'Hawkeyes'. We had never been aware that all of our E-2s had a 7-channel tape recorder which, when airborne, simultaneously recorded Guard/Strike/Tower/SAR/plus AIC, CCA, & others as directed.:)

I play it back at long intervals to remind myself. how fortunate I am. It is a case study of an efficient, and professional recovery of 2 shotdown Pilots, in different type aircraft (A-4C & A-6A), from different CVAs (Connie & Ranger), by the same helo, while under AAA & mortar fire, which resulted in the A-6 B/N KIA.:(

For recent AW members, several years ago, we posted links to both the SAR audio tape, and the written narrative of the whole episode... on this thread, page 9 (previous page), post #121. If interested, give the audio link a try. If no joy, drop me a PM, and we'll try to get it fixed. Thinkin' you'll find it only too real... and interesting!:eek:
BzB
No worries, Hugh, I keep the site current, check the link often.
 

rondebmar

Ron "Banty" Marron
pilot
Contributor
Great post, BzB! Great people to remember. Stirred up some memories.

Low profile for me, today. Like a cartoon I saw today - a child with his father at a national cemetery asking why "only today?" - I remember almost 365!

I smile, but do not quite share the "Happy Memorial Day" wishes I hear. For me, it is somber day, and not so happy. But that is OK. I also smile at those who confuse Memorial Day with Veteran's Day. Because It is far better than when you and I thankfully returned decades ago.

Those who mean well but do not know can be forgiven if they have not shared the experience.
^^^^ THIS!
 

wink

VS NFO. Blue and Gold Officer
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Cdr Flynn was my skipper at VT-86. He smoked CONSTANTLY and was never seen without a coffee cup in his hand. He seemed a bit intense. Everyone knew his history and respected him a great deal. We always wondered if his extreme smoking and caffeine addiction was related to his imprisonment. Cdr Flynn suffered a heart attack.
 

BusyBee604

St. Francis/Hugh Hefner Combo!
pilot
Super Moderator
Contributor
NIGHT CARRIER LANDINGS

"The three best things in life are a good landing, a good orgasm, and a good bowel movement. The night carrier landing is one of the few opportunities to experience all three at the same time!":eek::):D
*Posted on a Ready Room door USS Enterprise - 1969 - Gulf Of Tonkin

Skyhawk-6.png Skyhawk5.png Skyhawk-1.png
"BzB 604.. Ball... Skyhawk... State 14";)
 

Catmando

Keep your knots up.
pilot
Super Moderator
Contributor
NIGHT CARRIER LANDINGS

"The three best things in life are a good landing, a good orgasm, and a good bowel movement. The night carrier landing is one of the few opportunities to experience all three at the same time!":eek::):D
*Posted on a Ready Room door USS Enterprise - 1969 - Gulf Of Tonkin

View attachment 13733 View attachment 13732 View attachment 13734
"BzB 604.. Ball... Skyhawk... State 14";)
Maybe... but then why did my legs and knees sometimes shake uncontrollably after a trap while I was taxiing to the bow?
My legs were always steady with the other aforementioned good (and often great, sometimes) 3. Bueller?
 

brownshoe

Well-Known Member
Contributor
Cricket... cricket..., Ron you out there? Or do I have to phone and get Debbie to awaken you from a nap? BzB... you get with it too!

This thread needs to come alive again.
 
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