Friday, February 7, 2014

7 February 2014 Tree top flyer

Cassi Creek:  another morning with a chance to sleep in was nice.  But I seem to be keyed to waking up about 0530 -0630 independently of opportunity to sleep. 
          About 0.1 inch of snow fell overnight.  It seems to have vanished now (1140).  That’s good.  Even that little bit of snow can cause people to do crazy things in cars and trucks.   Add the snow to the self-images that make every other driver here believe that they are qualified to drive NASCAR, and that the local roads can be used in lieu of a dedicated, enclosed race track.  It is easy to see how tenuous and dicey the roads may become.
          Stephen Stills sprang to mind today.  I was somehow reminded of FAC pilots I knew.  They were amazing fliers who provided on-site target definition, spotting and marking the actual targets, then doing real time BDA.  They flew tiny, unarmed aircraft low and slow, facing enemy fire and the hazards inherent in flying at such altitudes while keeping track of the ground, the enemy, our forces, and the fast-movers who had the ordinance.  We’d see them pop up over the trees, vanish below them, and worry until we saw them pop up again.  They carried no weapons except a personal weapon and marking rockets.

          Here’s what became of some of the pilots who served in RVN. 
The aircraft pictured in this video is a WWII era fighter.  But the flight levels provide some idea of the demands the FAC pilots faced daily

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