660703 Junk Run


Two days since our CAS flight over Go Cong, the area is again the focus of our attention. The fishing village is part of a vital conduit, through which Charlie smuggles weapons and supplies across the south. The water routes are well established and innocent looking junks ply their trade alongside armed gun-runners.

Who is smuggling weapons, who is innocently trading or fishing and who will take a shot at you? It is impossible to tell without the compliance of the local population. Our destroyers and patrol boats constantly travel the coastline on stop and search missions, if somebody tries to run we must assume guilt and attempt to apprehend or otherwise stop the perpetrators.

Such a situation has arisen; a nearby destroyer has encountered several armed junks and sampans. They have split up and are racing for the coast as the destroyer attempts to give chase.

On the deck of USS Oriskany two A-4Es are readied on the cat, our brief: interdict the fleeing sampans and send their deadly cargo to the bottom of the bay!

660703 Junk Run (VA-163 Saints)
Weather: - Broken Clouds 7500 Ft VIS 30 Nm
TOT: - 0810
Aircraft: - (2) A-4E Skyhawks
Flight Time: - 30 Minutes

After Action Report:
The broken cloud base is high overhead and it sure is a glorious morning! Our A-4Es are packing a little extra punch, with plenty of Hydras and 20mm for this interdiction. We launch, clean up and turn for the coast, reaching the search area a little over five minutes later. The pursuing destroyer is immediately in evidence, showering the fleeing boats with spray but not getting a shell in amongst any, so far. These boys need air power, and we are it!

Ground return on our radar indicates several water-borne objects/targets right across the patrol area. We fly the full extent of the bay and pick up some traffic close to the fishing village, making for the shore at their best speed. I send in my wingman and circuit at a couple of thousand feet while I watch him rocket several sampans to matchwood. Crates and bodies float among the wreckage, suspicious cargo? I cannot truly tell.

Meanwhile the destroyer is bearing down on a group of motorized sampans and sailing junks. The groups of boats have fragmented further and it is going to need our pair of Skyhawks to properly round them up.

We set about them, feeling like old hands at this kind of CAS. I swoop down on a sampan running at a fair clip across the sea and notice..TRACER! Orange death streaks past the canopy! Whoa, pull up, pull up! These guys are packing some serious firepower and do not want any Navy flyboys taking a close look!

I reform the flight and send in my wingman while I approach the same target from a different direction. No.2 manages to spit some rockets at the fast boat but it crashes on through the smoke and blasts away at its protagonist. My wingman has got out cleanly, and the sampan crew is looking the wrong way when I descend and unload the last of my Hydras in a deadly barrage.

Boom! By the size of that explosion and compression wave I can report ammunitions hit, confirm, that was a gun-runner!

With a couple more passes there is soon no sea traffic across the entire bay except for our destroyer. We give them a flyby as we form up and head back to the Oriskany. Like I said, it sure is a glorious morning!

Next up: 660714 Tan Chau Ferry