A Raven FAC Story

submitted by: Alva Leon Matheson

Seems there was this Raven named Steve. Now Steve was a Texas Tech boy – linebacker type, and no neck. Really. His body went from chin to shoulders – nothing in between.
Anyway, he is out Ravening one day in his deadly O-1 with his trusty Hmong interpreter in the back seat when this ground team calls and asks for help. Seems the guys have gotten themselves in a bit of a scrap and needed a little airstrike to help out. “No problem,” says Steve as Cricket – that trusty controller in the sky – tells him that a flight of God’s finest Phantom–4s from Ubon Ratchitani are inbound and looking for a target or tanker. Steve thanks him and hears the bombers – sorry, fighters – check in with a full load of enthusiasm and Mk-82s. Steve gives them all the briefing stuff and asks what they need.
“Just a hold down,” replies the steely flight lead. Steve admired such spunk and two minutes later, he looks up and there they are, entering the orbit just above his position. Great.
Steve rocks his wings and the bombers call tally on him. He checks with the ground team and things are getting tense and they are really ready for that airstrike like right NOW.
Okay. So Steve rolls in to mark the target. Now he liked to use a real steep dive for his shot.
Made for better accuracy. And this day was no exception. “Whoooosh,” goes the rocket and splashes the enemy location.
“Good mark,” call the friendlies.
But as part of his expert rocket technique, Steve also liked to do a steep recovery to escape the pull of the earth and the enemy gunners. But as he got the nose up way high, God decided – at the exact moment – that the front bolts holding Steve’s seat in the aircraft would release. And they did. Well gravity being what it is, Steve and his seat rotated back until Steve’s head was in the lap of his backseater.
To which the surprised Hmong replied, “Steve, what you do?”
Well unfortunately as Steve rotated into the back seat, he held on to the only thing that he had a hand on which was the stick. Now the throttle was full and the airplane was smart and knew that stick back meant go up. So it did. Except that the O-1 does not have a lot of smash for going up much. Well aerodynamics being what they are, the airspeed reduced.
Now Steve liked to fly with the windows open. As the airspeed got real low, all his maps went out the window. That happened just before the airplane stalled. But all that torque from that full throttle told the nose to go left and the aircraft started to spin.
The ground team wanted to know what Steve was doing. He didn’t answer. The enemy gunners all thought that it was real neat, and they celebrated with lots of ground fire.
But Steve was cool. He grabbed hold of one of the side braces and got the seat back forward. Then he did some real neat pilot stuff and got his machine flying again – the guy puking in the back seat, didn’t faze him at all. Then he decided to take a few minutes to climb back to altitude because he knew that the most important thing for a FAC to do was to sound good on the radio and a few minutes might settle the voice.
Well, back to the airstrike. Steve checked with the ground team and yes, they were ready. He checked with the fighters and yes they were ready too. Just to be on the safe side, Steve asked them if they still had the target. Oh yes they replied. So Steve cleared them in hot.
But instead of rolling in, the flight lead asked for another mark. Steve was confused and asked what the problem was. “No problem,” the leader replied, “We’ve got you and we’ve got the target. We would just like to see that rocket pass again.”
True story.