YANKEE AIR PIRATE: Wolf06 SAR 4
The sun is now low in the sky near Mu Gia Pass. The On-Scene commander, Sandy 01, thinks it might be possible to extract Wolf 06B who is down near a heavily traveled road. It is unlikely he can stay hidden for a second night. But the Jolly will be too vulnerable to hidden guns. As always, the Jolly pilot says he wants to give it a try.
They call in the smoke birds.
Flying an F-4D from DaNang loaded with smoke dispensers, I have time to plan my approach. The timing is crucial. I have to blind the gunners at just the time Jolly comes in to make the grab. The smoke screen won't last very long and we only have enough for a few passes. It is too dangerous for slower birds to attempt.
I hear the Jolly call that he is on his approach. I have him and the Spads.
The Sandy's are escorting him in. Armed to the teeth, this is what they do best and what they have been fighting all day for.
I make a few turns to set up then bend it around up into the pass when I think the time is right. White puffs are already exploding to the west.
The backseater is going to have to reveal his position now. There is no choice. I've got him. I've got the gun, too.
My wingman and I start to build the wall of smoke. Flying on the deck through small arms fire we lay out lines that we hope block the view of that 37 firing from across the canyon.
We only have enough smoke packets for two passes.
Out of smoke, I decide to make additional passes to draw fire.
Too late. Jolly is getting hosed. He takes several hits and is in danger of going down himself. Within sight of the downed pilot, he is forced to pull out and limp away.
Sandy goes to work on whatever they can see. The last radio communication from Wolf 06b is heartbreaking. He is not seen again.
I head for the tanker only to find out that he has aborted and returned to U Tapao. I have to try to make it to NKP. I pull the throttles back and head directly for the runway.
Fumes. I land with a few hundred pounds. Safe.
The fight isn't over yet. There is still a man on the ground in Mu Gia Pass. In Laos, no quarter is asked and no quarter is ever given by either side. Payback is a b*tch...and there is always payback.
Tomorrow you are going to take the seat of the bravest men who have ever flown in combat.
You're going to go get Wolf06 out.