Author Topic: From Another Thread About a Phantom and Itís Crew  (Read 256 times)

Offline Puma44

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From Another Thread About a Phantom and Itís Crew
« on: June 15, 2020, 11:09:41 AM »
Enjoy!


Here's another 'bad day' @ Chu Lai:

The first thing we six rookies did was attend an Air Group briefing in an underground bunker protected by a thick layer of sandbags. This bunker served as our group intelligence center.
Suddenly, an urgent radio call interrupted our briefing. We listened as an F-4 radioed-in to report a problem.  The aircraft had been hit by enemy ground fire and could not lower its landing gear. The pilot was going to attempt a belly landing on the runway. At that news, we all raced outside near the runway to grab a good spot from which to watch the crash landing.
Crash crews raced to cover the runway with a layer of fire-retardant foam while the damaged F4 circled overhead, burning down its load of fuel. Two arresting cables were strung across the middle of the runway. The cables were anchored on each end by a chain made with heavy, 40-pound links.  The plan was for the F4 to lower his tail hook, to belly-land in the foam, to catch one of the arresting wires, and to come to a screeching halt. It did not quite happen that way.

After burning off most of his fuel, the pilot gingerly lowered the airplane onto the foamed runway. A spark set off the fumes in the jet's empty wing tanks and they erupted into flames. All one could see racing down the runway were two wingtips protruding from an orange and black ball of fire heading toward the arresting cables.

The F4 hit the first arresting cable. We watched the cable snap and hurl its 40-pound chain links skyward. Then the plane hit the second arresting cable. It also parted and flung its chain links. The aircraft was now just a ball of fire heading toward the end of the runway.

Then we heard, Boom! Boom! The pilot had lit his afterburners. He was attempting to take-off without wheels! As the aircraft roared toward the end of the runway, it slowly struggled skyward. It got airborne and began to climb nearly vertically. Then, both the pilot and his back seater, the radar intercept officer (RIO), ejected.

We stared in wonder as the aircraft crashed into the nearby ocean. The two crewmen slowly floated down in their parachutes. The wind carried them over the ocean and they too soon splashed down.

A Navy rescue helicopter was on the scene immediately. Both of the F4 crewmen, treading water, raised their right hand. This was a signal to the chopper that they were unharmed.  The helicopter slowly lowered itself and plucked the pilot out of the water and into the safety of the helicopter. The helicopter then turned its attention to the RIO. As the helicopter slowly lowered itself over the RIO, the helicopter pilot suddenly lost control of his chopper, and he crashed into the water atop the RIO. As soon as the chopper hit the water, its pilot regained control, got airborne again, and yanked the RIO from the water. Although the RIO was rescued safely, his leg was broken when the helicopter crashed atop him.

That night at the Officers Club, the RIO sat with his leg elevated and encased in a full-leg cast. As he imbibed a few, he related his story:

"First, we got the daylights shot out of us. But, hey, that okay. We weren't hurt. Then, we survived a belly landing. But, that was okay too. We weren't hurt. Then the pilot decided he'd take off without wheels, but that worked out well too. Then we survived an ejection and a water landing, but that was also okay. We weren't hurt. 

Then the damn rescue helo crashed on me and broke my leg!"



All gave some, Some gave all

Offline Arlo

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Re: From Another Thread About a Phantom and Itís Crew
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2020, 11:53:49 AM »
Surreal. Excellent story. Thank you.  :cheers:


Um, it's Guthree ;)

Offline redcatcherb412

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Re: From Another Thread About a Phantom and Itís Crew
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2020, 11:57:17 AM »
Grunts loved us some CAS  Phantom love. 
My brigade main base just outside the perimeter Tet '68.


HUN jockeys also were great CAS pushers themselves
« Last Edit: June 15, 2020, 11:59:48 AM by redcatcherb412 »
Ground Pounders ...

Offline Puma44

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Re: From Another Thread About a Phantom and Itís Crew
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2020, 12:10:36 PM »
Always loved doing motivational flyovers for our Grunts. :salute



All gave some, Some gave all

Offline redcatcherb412

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Re: From Another Thread About a Phantom and Itís Crew
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2020, 12:24:06 PM »
Always loved doing motivational flyovers for our Grunts. :salute
The fireworks delivery were always spectacular and enjoyed, believe me.   :salute
Ground Pounders ...

Offline avionix

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Re: From Another Thread About a Phantom and Itís Crew
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2020, 12:27:45 PM »
That is one heck of a story. Guess he had the eye of the Good Lord that day.
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Offline Shuffler

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Re: From Another Thread About a Phantom and Itís Crew
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2020, 04:02:17 PM »
What a way to use up the bulk of your 9 lives in one day. Great story.
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Offline Nefarious

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Re: From Another Thread About a Phantom and Itís Crew
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2020, 09:10:08 AM »
Marine Corps Crew?
There must also be a flyable computer available for Nefarious to do FSO. So he doesn't keep talking about it for eight and a half hours on Friday night!

Offline Maverick

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Re: From Another Thread About a Phantom and Itís Crew
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2020, 10:05:44 AM »
Bad day indeed. I am glad the crew survived when circumstances seemed so against it.
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Offline Devil 505

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Re: From Another Thread About a Phantom and Itís Crew
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2020, 02:27:16 PM »
Great story. Glad the Phantom crew survived all the mishaps.
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Offline Easyscor

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Re: From Another Thread About a Phantom and Itís Crew
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2020, 06:53:39 PM »
Good stuff!   :D

 :cheers:
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Offline save

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Re: From Another Thread About a Phantom and Itís Crew
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2020, 06:54:36 AM »
Great story !

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Offline streakeagle

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Re: From Another Thread About a Phantom and Itís Crew
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2020, 06:45:25 PM »
If it wasn't for the loss of the F-4, I would say it is one of the best stories I have ever heard. It was an interesting decision to get back into the air to eject. With the possibility of being severely burned or dying, ejection proved to be a good choice given that he was able to get off the ground to do it. It also cleared the runway of a the burning wreckage. If the RIO had not gotten his leg crushed by the helo, it really wasn't that bad a day for them.
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