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Old 6 February 2017, 18:39
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VN 65-66 and 68-69-70.

There was a marked difference between those tours, well beyond the different aircraft and units.

For instance, early on we were pretty much able to fight the war on our terms. See the bad guys, and light them up. There were certain areas which were marked on our maps, DS for (Deep Shit) areas which were completely owned by the VC, if you flew in there you were just about guaranteed to draw significant fire. We also had FF (Free Fire) zones as well, where anything was allowed. We also had NF (No Fire) zones, regardless of what went on down there we were not allowed to return fire. I got shot up pretty good overflying one of these ville's once. In the early years we were able to grab a bunch of gun pilots who would volunteer to low level the canals at night. There was a curfew during the hours of darkness (either 2000, or 2200), until first light. Charlie moved a ton of war supplies during those hours.

Typically, we mounted up and low leveled the canals looking for traffic utilizing the landing light and searchlight, as we navigated the canals we generally took the traffic under fire if they looked suspicious, for sure we did if there were draft age males w/weapons visible. We often hovered over the larger Sampans, blowing the cover off whatever supplies they were carrying. This often provoked them to shoot us up. Similar to a recon by fire. We sank them. Some of the much smaller Sampans we didn't bother with. The large ones which looked heavy in the water we lit up. Often w/return fire, and secondaries once in awhile. When we expended our ammo, or were short of fuel we returned to base. If I was the fireteam leader, I left a note at opns, stating the coordinates and what we had done at that location. ie sunk two Sampans, sunk three with return fire, secondaries, etc, etc.

Later on we were much more hamstrung, I mentioned grabbing Cobra pilots at the 235th Aerial Weapons Co, to low level the canals. "What for?" We at that time, needed permission from at least one higher HQ, to do such a thing. By the time the permission was given, if it ever was, and relayed back to us the Sampans were long gone.

An integrated program, implementing OV-1 Mohawks utilizing either infrared, or a sniffer technology, maybe both, and a team of Cobras loaded with nails, Flechettes. I'll try to post a picture of the "Nails". I believe the 17lb ariel rocket warhead SSFSAR, held opwards of 7000 Nails per each, these rockets when fired would stabilize into the wind, And were pretty damn effective when used against personnel in the open. Anyway,we would preposition a team of Cobras utilizing miniguns, and Nails, the Mohawks would fly a preconfigured route under radar control, when the Hawks got a hit, cooling campfire, human excrement, cooking, humans in other words. They would ping the radar, the plot was marked, then another run, another plot mark, and finally a third. The target was triangulated, and we were called in and vectored over the enemy position. We were given a hack short of the target, and our target attack began. There was a bit more to it, but that was the gist of the operation.

A BDA team was inserted the next day, they reported pretty devastating results, to include VC nailed to trees. This successful operation only continued for a short time. I have no idea why it ceased, undoubtedly political.


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Last edited by CPTAUSRET; 6 February 2017 at 18:52.
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Old 6 February 2017, 18:55
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CPT -

Did your flechette rockets have a red smoke charge that went off when the warhead functioned? Trivia question from way back. I remember they were very slant range dependent.
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Old 6 February 2017, 19:04
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CPT -

Did your flechette rockets have a red smoke charge that went off when the warhead functioned? Trivia question from way back. I remember they were very slant range dependent.
I was going to say yellow, or red. My memory fails me, I think red, maybe orange.

And, I agree.

Those rockets which were designed for fast movers probably during the fifties, put the 6 lb warheads out there pretty well, not so much the 10 pounders, and didn't move the 17 pounders out well at all. The extra bit of speed the Cobra carried helped with all of them somewhat.
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Old 6 February 2017, 19:06
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I stated 7000 nails, it may have been closer to 2000.
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Old 6 February 2017, 19:16
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I am fascinated with these stories. Thanks again, seriously.

Shooting rockets should really have its own thread. Inside humor I guess
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Old 6 February 2017, 19:19
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I am fascinated with these stories. Thanks again, seriously.

Shooting rockets should really have its own thread. Inside humor I guess
Right dive angle, correct power setting, and in trim.
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Old 6 February 2017, 19:24
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And don't pull up until it's out of the tube. Tip-off.

You have to know your audience for this kind of humor, but some of my best stories are weapons malfunctions, as long as no one got hurt. Rockets are easily in the lead for best weapons malfunction stories in my experience. Don't want to put you on the spot...
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Old 6 February 2017, 19:44
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I had no idea about those nail-filled rockets. That's a wickedly effective weapon. I have to believe it's also highly demoralizing to the enemy. Too bad they stopped using them.

And yet another nod of thanks and encouragement for sharing these stories, sir.
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Old 6 February 2017, 19:54
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And don't pull up until it's out of the tube. Tip-off.

You have to know your audience for this kind of humor, but some of my best stories are weapons malfunctions, as long as no one got hurt. Rockets are easily in the lead for best weapons malfunction stories in my experience. Don't want to put you on the spot...
I think we fired rockets from the Chinese hat...Regardless, we had gotten shot up the previous day, and my cyclic had been rewired. We got a scramble, ran to the aircraft, I asked over the intercom if everybody was good to go, and got a heads up. I squeezed the second detent to transmit to the tower that we were on a scramble. Fired a pair of rockets, God Awful Roar, w/corresponding sparks, and the whole world shook. Terrified all on board, and the tower operator wasn't too keen about it either. No injuries.

I told the Co Maint Officer that I didn't want to to know who screwed up, just to take care of it.
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Old 6 February 2017, 20:09
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Originally Posted by CPTAUSRET View Post
I squeezed the second detent
LOL

I could never get used to pulling the trigger to talk on the radio in the UH-1 at Rucker. I used the floor switch the whole time. Still creeps me out.
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Old 6 February 2017, 21:31
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I had no idea about those nail-filled rockets. That's a wickedly effective weapon. I have to believe it's also highly demoralizing to the enemy. Too bad they stopped using them.

And yet another nod of thanks and encouragement for sharing these stories, sir.
Thank you. I may have heard that their usage was against the Geneva Conventions. Didn't make sense then doesn't make sense now.
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Old 6 February 2017, 21:58
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I've seen Flechettes used in 12 gauge to 105's. I think the real trouble came for them when they tried dipping the little nails in something extra.
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Old 6 February 2017, 22:28
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I love flechettes in any armament.
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Old 6 February 2017, 23:13
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CPTAUSRET - I can't imagine expecting to use the com's and having a weapon go off. That must have been a crazy moment. Thank god no friendlies in front of the air craft.

Flying low at night over the rivers must have been an incredible feeling.

again, thank you so much for these stories.

I grew up reading stories from Vietnam by the likes of patches watson in the SEALs and they always talked about the pilots that saved their bacon. Its awesome to hear stories from the pilots perspective as well. Can really tell you loved your people.

thank you so much for writing these, you should get your own section.

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Old 6 February 2017, 23:37
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Thank you very much for taking the time to share these stories. It's amazing and humbling to hear what you and your fellow crew went thru during an important piece of the history of our Country

I'm glad you came back and are strong enough to tell the tales and share your experiences with us!

Your a great American Sir.

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Old 7 February 2017, 10:46
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I love flechettes in any armament.
Devastatingly effective, if used properly.
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Old 7 February 2017, 10:53
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CPTAUSRET - I can't imagine expecting to use the com's and having a weapon go off. That must have been a crazy moment. Thank god no friendlies in front of the air craft.

Flying low at night over the rivers must have been an incredible feeling.

again, thank you so much for these stories.

I grew up reading stories from Vietnam by the likes of patches watson in the SEALs and they always talked about the pilots that saved their bacon. Its awesome to hear stories from the pilots perspective as well. Can really tell you loved your people.

thank you so much for writing these, you should get your own section.

- Local
One of those rockets departing the launcher is very, VERY loud. Low leveling the canals at night was exciting, with a bit of a pucker factor.

I have read Patches Watson, as well.
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Old 7 February 2017, 10:56
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Originally Posted by UGA_11B View Post
Thank you very much for taking the time to share these stories. It's amazing and humbling to hear what you and your fellow crew went thru during an important piece of the history of our Country

I'm glad you came back and are strong enough to tell the tales and share your experiences with us!

Your a great American Sir.
Everyone who served their country honorably during that timeframe deserves to be called a great American.

Thank you.
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Old 7 February 2017, 11:11
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One thing to consider, the Cobra's carried either a max of 72, or 76 rockets, can't remember. With the 17 lb warhead each rocket was roughly equivalent to a 105 round.

Someone please correct me if I am wrong.
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Old 7 February 2017, 11:46
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One thing to consider, the Cobra's carried either a max of 72, or 76 rockets, can't remember. With the 17 lb warhead each rocket was roughly equivalent to a 105 round.

Someone please correct me if I am wrong.


Reading back through your stories CPT, you flew Huey's initially then transitioned to the Cobra?
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