Different Encounters

submitted by: Alva Leon Matheson

This is a very brief story to illustrate that there is always more than one way to skin a cat.
I had been tasked with a pre-planned strike on an enemy base camp, located four or five kilometers from any friendly ground activity. A flight of three VNAF Skyraiders from Bien Hoa had been tasked to carry out the strike.
I arrived in the target area about ten minutes before the scheduled TOT and began orienting myself. I was going about my business, not expecting the flight for about another five minutes – among other things, picking out easily identified trees to assist with marking the target. Suddenly, I and my tiny aircraft were overwhelmed by a deafening racket. It scared the hell out of me! I jerked my head rapidly to the right as a huge green, tan, and brown overcast roared by. I could have touched it! In quick succession, the other two Skyraiders roared by, not quite so close, following their leader. He had obviously not been able to raise me on the radio, and had chosen an alternative means to attract my attention. He had it – full and undivided!
Radio contact was never achieved, but with TACP approval, I marked the target and stood off. The three aircraft delivered their ordnance very accurately, mostly from dive profiles of around 60 degrees. As they departed the lead aircraft waggled his wings, and I gave him a waggle in return.
That’s one approach to the problem they didn’t teach at FAC-U.