660714 Tan Chau Ferry

YANKEE AIR PIRATE AAR

Charlie has attacked the port of Tan Chau Ferry. Friendly forces are in close contact, air support is required. Two F-8Es are readied on the Ticonderogas bow catapults. We are packing Mk82s and 20mm, for the 4 internal guns.

(Lets consider the salient points: Formation ingress, follow lead to target. Friendlies close to target area; tricky shooting. Tanker join-up; the little A-4B. Carrier landing.)

660714 Tan Chau Ferry (VF-24 'Checkertails')
Weather: - Broken Clouds 12000 Ft VIS 30 Nm
TOT: - 1645
Aircraft: - (2) F-8E Crusaders
Flight Time: - 40 Minutes

After Action Report:
I follow Lead off the cat, turning tightly with him as we climb out and head north, straight for the coast. We go feet-dry in five minutes and then cruise across country in close formation for another ten. Soon enough we can see the combat zone.

Fierce fighting around the port is sending up clouds of smoke, out of which erupt gouts of tracer, flames and sparks. A small Cessna, the FAC, is buzzing around trying to direct things and damned lucky not to be downed himself! It must be hell be down there, and we are about to figure largely in the outcome, and the carnage.

As we were notified, the Marines on the east side of the river are popping yellow smoke. Their position is very close to the advancing Charlie, who almost have them by the belt buckle. Lead has overshot the crossing and set about the VC forces in the town, leaving me the tricky job of providing air support this side.

I pickle the Mk82s late, in a steep approach; dive-bombing dumb-bombs like this can be very accurate but very risky too. I pull up in time to avoid blowing myself from the sky and risk a glance back. Shack! The explosion blooms beyond the yellow smoked area and tears right into the bank where Charlie is! I feel a huge wave of relief and break around for a strafing run on the same patch of churning, boiling mud.

Lead cleans up the town, making several passes before bugging out without a word. I strafe low along the river banks, making continuous runs until Im out of 20mm and there are twigs in the canopy! Well, it feels like it! Wheeling over the battle zone, I watch the Marines prevail and move into the town. Time to head out, the gas is low but there should be a Skyhawk B out there with a load of go-juice on board.

Im headed south again for a few minutes and there is the tanker, right where he should be. Thanks man, Im getting thirsty! I join up with the tanker once he has turned back out to sea, and follow him to the carrier. With such disciplined flights, in the right place and time, navigation is easy! Just follow the leader out and the tanker back in!

(We picked up a good review for this mission. Ops told us that all primary targets were hit and no friendlies harmed by our actions.)

Next up: 661013 Collateral Damage