How High will a 2.75" Rocket Go?

submitted by: Alva Leon Matheson

Les Strouse contributed an addition to the conspiracy theories surrounding the start of the war after reading the story by Gary Dickers titled, “2.75” Rocket Range” in the 21st TASS Section — “Now we know how the Gulf of Tonkin incident happened!” Tim Eby responded with the following story:

Interesting that your fertile mind worked like mine – only better, no doubt. I always wondered how high a 2.75 rocket would go if shot straight up. One slow day on the Trail I decided to find out, hoping I could watch it. Silly boy!
I dove down for airspeed, pulled just as straight up as I could, (does the lower surface of the wing being vertical with the horizon work?)and pickled one off. Just as I pickled and entered a hammerhead stall, the thought entered my mind that perhaps this was not the smartest thing I had ever done. The rocket was immediately gone, as in invisible, even on a clear day. As I wrestled the Bronco back into submission I tried to formulate a plan for placing myself somewhere other than where that sucker was coming down.
Since I couldn’t be sure that I had fired it straight up, let alone having no clue about the winds aloft and their affect on it, and not knowing how long it would be before it returned to Mother Earth, I also had no idea which way to go. I decided to drive in a straight line and maximize distance from launch site; just pick a heading. All that heavy thinking caused me to forget to hack my watch, so even that part of my scientific inquiry was wasted.
As I drove straight away and watched over my shoulder, finally there it was, a white puff of smoke very close to where I had launched it. It must have been more than two minutes in flight. Maybe some rocket scientist can put the numbers to it and calculate how high it went.
Only later did I learn that KING (Search and Rescue airborne command post, a C-130) cruised around over us without checking in like everyone else was required to do. I wonder if he noticed a Willie Pete (white phosphorus rocket) winging by, ala your naval destroyer captain?
On another occasion I was VRing up the trail and saw a solitary man ahead walking in the open. He was right in the Dogshead, which every Pleiku Covey knows is a good place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there. Too much noise pollution, with all that AAA firing going on.
As I continued over him he just stopped, and looked all the world like a tree stump. I kept on going without any indication that I had seen him, but professional pride gnawed at me. “That little gomer needs to know that he hadn’t fooled this hawk-eyed Yankee Air Pirate!” But to irritate Dogshead gunners was not very smart, either, so I turned around, lifted the nose about thaaat much, hosed off a Willie Pete from three or four miles away and waited to see what happened.
He had stopped right near a ‘Y’ in the road that was visible even from my distance. Wouldn’t you know, the white smoke popped up exactly on the ‘Y’! I smiled, turned away and took considerable pleasure from having delivered the message. Wish I could have seen his face. I also wished I could mark that accurately when directly over a target!
Thanks for jogging my memory. I hadn’t thought of those incidents in years. Funny how the little humorous things all of a sudden surface.
Watch your airspeed,Tim Eby

This brought a remembrance from Mike Wilson:
Hey Tim,
Might have known I wasn’t the only one that tried dumb stunts. Here’s what I wrote up for the Rustics. Remembered it when I read your recent post to the FACNET.