660701 Dixie Station

YANKEE AIR PIRATE - AAR

Dixie Station covered Delta Area in the south, the USS Oriskany arrived in July 1966 and went straight to work.

660701 Dixie Station (VA-163 Saints)
Weather: - Broken Clouds 6000 Ft VIS 30 Nm
TOT: - 1830
Aircraft: - (2) A-4C Skyhawks
Flight Time: - 30 Minutes

After Action Report:
A pair of us are fragged for a run along the coast to Go Cong, location of a fishing village and small town. US forces, reporting contact with insurgents on the ground, have requested Close Air Support. That means us, and we had better get a move on, its getting dark.

We are carrying Mk40 Hydra rockets and 20mm, perfect for low level strafing. This will be our tactic of choice, I have decided, because I want to clearly identify the correct troops before we blow them away. Its getting darker.

Up and out we ingress, around 6 minutes sees us feet dry and halfway to the village.

In the fading light, the landscape rolling beneath our wings comprises rich greens of many shades and a golden temple dominates the town we are approaching. Radar hotspots indicate the likely areas of action. As we close on the target area I take us up, slow the flight down, dump tanks, check weapons, look for the FAC and lead a smooth pass over the zone.

We are looking for action, signs of movement or fighting, and following the course of the FAC above the combat zone. Soon enough we see small scale explosions bloom on the landscape. There is return fire from the outskirts of the town, giving us a picture of the lines of battle. Before I order my wingman in, I decide to take a closer look. The Skyhawk lazily rolls over and the ground action is now laid before me above the canopy.

I pull some positive gs and roll up-right in the descent, leveling out above the trees close to a line of advancing VC. Their dark clothing is un-mistakable; I fire a lethal string of rockets into them and along their line of advance. Pulling up through the fire and smoke I can see the bodies lying among the debris and scorched earth. Even as I climb out, Im ordering my wingman in on the stragglers.

Hitting small, moving targets in low-light conditions requires good control of your aircraft and excellent Situational-Awareness (SA). In the absence of AAA our chief enemy is limited ground-fire, or un-forced error. Therefore, we conduct our close air support at a cool, un-hurried pace.

Again and again, we climb, level out, acquire and roll in. We revel in the handling our Skyhawks, fast and nimble, we soar over the battlefield, visiting death in measured doses until there is no more sign of Charlie.

This is a demonstration of awesome superiority. In all the terrifying runs up north I rarely considered the enemy as anything other than death incarnate. Now we are smashing them from above like Sky-Gods. I feel elation, and humility.

We are still pumped up as we drop the pods and head back out to sea, to face the carrier in the fading light. It is not a fully dark trap, but I am grateful for the A-4Cs powerful landing lights.

Next up: 660703 Junk Run