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Old 1 August 2017, 14:49
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B-52 raid on Hanoi with combat livemap - 12/26/1972

43 minutes of my time well spent. A really cool way of depicting a one of the biggest bombings runs of Operation Linebacker II.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60ihI7VU2OY
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Old 1 August 2017, 15:31
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That was very cool. 43 minutes well-spent.
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Old 1 August 2017, 16:06
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Saved that for later use--thanks for posting that Triumph.
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Old 1 August 2017, 16:31
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Thanks Triumph. The comments section is worth a scan too-- a few crew members from different aircraft chime in. Amazed at the detail they can recall so many years later.
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Old 1 August 2017, 19:19
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Where the hell did they find people to fly those missions? Jesus.
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Old 1 August 2017, 20:51
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Where the hell did they find people to fly those missions? Jesus.
Arkansas! My father spent 17 yrs as a Radar-Navigator in a BUFF. Six, 6-month tours bombing the shit out of bad guys in VN, including flying round the clock missions in support of Khe Sanh. I see articles occasionally about LTC's with 25 or 30 years of flying time earning their 10000 hours patch, he had his as a CPT with under 10 in...back before crew rest hampered killin' bad guys!
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Old 1 August 2017, 21:36
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That brought back a lot of memories. I was long gone by 72 and we never used the 52s to hit North Vietnam. Most of the missions I looked at as photo interpreter involved F4s, F101s and 105s but the targets were the same in 65-67. The amount of AAA and SAM's used by the NVA were huge, as were the balls of the aircrews that flew the missions.
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Old 2 August 2017, 01:38
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Where the hell did they find people to fly those missions? Jesus.
Concur. Not sure I can imagine being the gunner in the back calling out SAM launches and the view he must of had. The recording having the ECM pulses and the SAM locks was pretty interesting to hear. Glad someone took the initiative to dig it out of the archives for all to hear. It really was an important piece of history.
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Old 2 August 2017, 09:23
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Arkansas! My father spent 17 yrs as a Radar-Navigator in a BUFF. Six, 6-month tours bombing the shit out of bad guys in VN, including flying round the clock missions in support of Khe Sanh. I see articles occasionally about LTC's with 25 or 30 years of flying time earning their 10000 hours patch, he had his as a CPT with under 10 in...back before crew rest hampered killin' bad guys!
I had an assistant principal in high school who was a bombardier on B-52s during VN. He talked about how the planes to his left and right would go down or be hit and trying to make it out. Man, yes, balls of steel.
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Old 2 August 2017, 14:51
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If you put your cursor on the progress line and drag it slowly across the screen, you can truly appreciate the orchestration and flight paths of each flight.
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Old 2 August 2017, 15:35
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Awesome. Big brass balls.
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Old 2 August 2017, 20:04
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This was one of the later missions of Linebacker II, after they got hammered on (IIRC) day three of the operation. That night they lost double digits of B52's and that prompted an entire rethink of TTP's. The early missions were planned by SAC, and were very "marginal." After severe losses, planning was delegated downward, and suppression operations, coordination and timing were far better.

I had an uncle who was ground crew at Utapao in 1971-73, and he had some interesting stories about the B52 missions. S/F.....Ken M
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Old 3 August 2017, 01:42
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I had a lawyer from the USAR work for me after 9/11 at Leavenworth. He was a USAF Academy grad and B 52 pilot. He wrote an article on LB II and how idiotic it was as it was just more of the same in LB I. He was summarily forced out of the USAF and told never to come back again.
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Old 3 August 2017, 07:06
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EchoFiveMike View Post
I had an uncle who was ground crew at Utapao in 1971-73, and he had some interesting stories about the B52 missions. S/F.....Ken M
Care to share any of those stories?
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Old 3 August 2017, 18:02
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In the rumor intelligence department, I recall a story some of the old attack pilots told of one Buff crew, saying "FUCK THAT" on a mission and dove for the deck. Their target was outside Hanoi and ingressed waaaay below minimums from Haiphong. According to legend, they climbed just short of the release point, dropped their ordnance, and got back down on the deck hauling ass on a different outbound route.

AF Brass quietly sent the crew packing...

I hope it was true...
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Old 3 August 2017, 19:51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leopardprey View Post
Care to share any of those stories?
He passed away in 2001, but there were a few things I recall; evidently B52's had (some) gold(or gold plated) circuit boards and that lead to some "issues" keeping some systems functional, seems parts kept going missing.

He said he preferred working on the 20mm Vulcan equipped models vice the 50cal equipped models but I have no idea why.

He was pissed because he bought a 1970 Boss 302 after he got done with training, and then he got sent to Thailand and the car sat so long he had to replace all the tires when he got back.

If more stuff comes to mind I'll post up. S/F....Ken M
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Old 7 August 2017, 21:46
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Care to share any of those stories?
c,
I listened to the tape and near the end, Ash 1 is hit. That struck a cord. Back when 1/1 got back into Thailand circa 85 I was on a C-130 landing at U-Tapao. The load was light and I was upfront B.S.ing with the crew. The pilot requested to do a 360 and we circled the wreckage of a BUFF off the side of the a/p. I still have some PIX somewhere that I took of the wreckage from the cockpit. One thing led to another and I researched that incident way back then. Here's the read...
p

Ash 1 B52D 12-26-72. No. 56-0584. U-Tapao. Crashed at U-Tapao. Attempted go-around with 4 engines out on same side. 4 KIA. CP, 1st Lt Bob Hymel & Gunner, TSgt Spencer Grippen were rescued. The A/C made a determination that they should bailout before the crash, but since the gunner was wounded and they felt he might not be able to physically execute the bailout, they decided as a crew to try and bring the plane in. Ironically, the only survivors of the crash were the C/P and the wounded gunner. In addition, the C/ P would not have survived had he not been rescued by a crewmember from another BUFF who watched the crash, and rushed into the wreck to pull the C/P out before the plane burned up. Lord that we could have more men like these.

For a complete description of this event, see: Air Force Association, August 1983, Vol. 66, No. 8 -- By John L. Frisbee, Contributing Editor. Title: Miracle at U Tapao. Article follows:


Logic said no one could be alive in the B-52, but something drew Capt. Brent Diefenbach to the blazing bomber. Linebacker II, the 11- day bombing campaign of December 1972 that persuaded North Vietnam to sign a cease-fire, had been halted on Christmas Day. Now it was the night of Dec. 26 and the operation was on again. The B-52 with Lt. Robert Hymel as copilot was assigned a target near Hanoi. Everyone knew the North Vietnamese had used the bombing break to restock and repair their surface-to-air missile (SAM) sites. It was going to be a rough night. As Hymel's B-52 dropped its bombs and turned off target, the rear gunner called two SAMs coming up. Despite evasive action by the B-52, the missiles exploded just to the right of the bomber, wounding the gunner, knocking out two engines, and causing major fuel leaks and other undetermined damage. The aircraft commander headed for an emergency landing at Da Nang, then decided that, with several refuelings, they could make it back to their base at U Tapao, in

Thailand. The wounded gunner would have better medical treatment there. Shortly after midnight, the BUFF started a straight-in approach to the Thai base. Capt. Brent Diefenbach, a B-52 aircraft commander who had just returned from a mission in the North, sat in a crew bus, waiting to cross the end of the runway as Hymel's battle-damaged bomber neared the runway lights. The approach didn't look or sound right. Suddenly, the aircraft veered to the left and the engines roared as power was added for a go-around. Diefenbach watched, horrified, as the big bomber pitched up, plunged to earth about a mile beyond the runway, and exploded in a ball of fire.

Diefenbach later remembered the compulsive thought that he had to get to the crash site. "It appeared obvious to me that no one was alive, but something kept drawing me to go." He knew he had to get there fast. Jumping off the bus, he went out an entrance gate and climbed aboard a Thai bus that was headed in the direction of the crash. When the driver refused to go farther, Diefenbach ran down the road toward the burning B-52 until he spotted a path in the tall grass that seemed to lead to the aircraft. "For a second," Diefenbach recalled, "I thought, 'Why go on? No one is alive in that inferno."' But again he felt impelled, almost against his will. He approached the wreckage, shouting to see if anyone was alive. To his surprise, he heard a voice inside the bomber calling for help. Rolling down the sleeves of his flight suit for protection against the heat, he entered the burning plane amidst a fusillade of exploding ammunition and pressure lines. There was no way of knowing if bombs were still aboard. Diefenbach followed the cries--the only sign of life--through a pall of smoke to find copilot Hymel, badly injured, crumpled in a position that prevented him from unbuckling his seat harness, and with one fractured leg trapped in the wreckage. Diefenbach remembers accusing Hymel of not helping and of falling asleep--"anything to keep him conscious." In desperation, Hymel told his rescuer to cut off the leg if he had to. Finally, working together for what seemed an eternity, they were able to free the injured man. "By that time, the explosions [and] the heat were nearer than I care to think about.” Diefenbach dragged Hymel out of the fuselage and carried him away from the blazing wreck just as a helicopter and fire trucks arrived. The rescue crew was unable to approach the B-52, now engulfed in flames. Hymel was air-evacuated to Clark Air Base in the Philippines, then to a hospital in the States where he eventually recovered from multiple fractures and lacerations. After Diefenbach had reported details of the rescue to the wing commander, and his staff, he was taken to the base hospital "for some minor repairs and bandages." Some time later, he discovered there were "a lot of thank you’s in order for the Chief Pilot in the Sky." He had extricated the copilot from an armed ejection seat. That it had not fired in the struggle to free Hymel was a miracle within a miraculous and heroic rescue, for which the Commander in Chief of Strategic Air Command, Gen. John C. Meyer <0589valor.html>, presented Diefenbach the

Airman's Medal.


Published August 1983. Copyright © Air Force Association
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Old 7 August 2017, 22:04
Armitage12 Armitage12 is offline
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I had drinks last week with a retired USAF colonel who talked with me about this a little. I'm running down a story he told me of the AF COS coming out to Guam in 1972 for a morale check and assembling the crews for an all hands presentation. He says someone threw something at the COS from the crowd, and then it descended into chaos and the COs was hustled out and off the island. I'm trying to sort this out more, but he was pretty clear it happened.
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Old 8 August 2017, 17:42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fu King Lawyer View Post
c,
I listened to the tape and near the end, Ash 1 is hit. That struck a cord. Back when 1/1 got back into Thailand circa 85 I was on a C-130 landing at U-Tapao. The load was light and I was upfront B.S.ing with the crew. The pilot requested to do a 360 and we circled the wreckage of a BUFF off the side of the a/p. I still have some PIX somewhere that I took of the wreckage from the cockpit. One thing led to another and I researched that incident way back then. Here's the read...
p

Ash 1 B52D 12-26-72. No. 56-0584. U-Tapao. Crashed at U-Tapao. Attempted go-around with 4 engines out on same side. 4 KIA. CP, 1st Lt Bob Hymel & Gunner, TSgt Spencer Grippen were rescued. The A/C made a determination that they should bailout before the crash, but since the gunner was wounded and they felt he might not be able to physically execute the bailout, they decided as a crew to try and bring the plane in. Ironically, the only survivors of the crash were the C/P and the wounded gunner. In addition, the C/ P would not have survived had he not been rescued by a crewmember from another BUFF who watched the crash, and rushed into the wreck to pull the C/P out before the plane burned up. Lord that we could have more men like these.

For a complete description of this event, see: Air Force Association, August 1983, Vol. 66, No. 8 -- By John L. Frisbee, Contributing Editor. Title: Miracle at U Tapao. Article follows:


Logic said no one could be alive in the B-52, but something drew Capt. Brent Diefenbach to the blazing bomber. Linebacker II, the 11- day bombing campaign of December 1972 that persuaded North Vietnam to sign a cease-fire, had been halted on Christmas Day. Now it was the night of Dec. 26 and the operation was on again. The B-52 with Lt. Robert Hymel as copilot was assigned a target near Hanoi. Everyone knew the North Vietnamese had used the bombing break to restock and repair their surface-to-air missile (SAM) sites. It was going to be a rough night. As Hymel's B-52 dropped its bombs and turned off target, the rear gunner called two SAMs coming up. Despite evasive action by the B-52, the missiles exploded just to the right of the bomber, wounding the gunner, knocking out two engines, and causing major fuel leaks and other undetermined damage. The aircraft commander headed for an emergency landing at Da Nang, then decided that, with several refuelings, they could make it back to their base at U Tapao, in

Thailand. The wounded gunner would have better medical treatment there. Shortly after midnight, the BUFF started a straight-in approach to the Thai base. Capt. Brent Diefenbach, a B-52 aircraft commander who had just returned from a mission in the North, sat in a crew bus, waiting to cross the end of the runway as Hymel's battle-damaged bomber neared the runway lights. The approach didn't look or sound right. Suddenly, the aircraft veered to the left and the engines roared as power was added for a go-around. Diefenbach watched, horrified, as the big bomber pitched up, plunged to earth about a mile beyond the runway, and exploded in a ball of fire.

Diefenbach later remembered the compulsive thought that he had to get to the crash site. "It appeared obvious to me that no one was alive, but something kept drawing me to go." He knew he had to get there fast. Jumping off the bus, he went out an entrance gate and climbed aboard a Thai bus that was headed in the direction of the crash. When the driver refused to go farther, Diefenbach ran down the road toward the burning B-52 until he spotted a path in the tall grass that seemed to lead to the aircraft. "For a second," Diefenbach recalled, "I thought, 'Why go on? No one is alive in that inferno."' But again he felt impelled, almost against his will. He approached the wreckage, shouting to see if anyone was alive. To his surprise, he heard a voice inside the bomber calling for help. Rolling down the sleeves of his flight suit for protection against the heat, he entered the burning plane amidst a fusillade of exploding ammunition and pressure lines. There was no way of knowing if bombs were still aboard. Diefenbach followed the cries--the only sign of life--through a pall of smoke to find copilot Hymel, badly injured, crumpled in a position that prevented him from unbuckling his seat harness, and with one fractured leg trapped in the wreckage. Diefenbach remembers accusing Hymel of not helping and of falling asleep--"anything to keep him conscious." In desperation, Hymel told his rescuer to cut off the leg if he had to. Finally, working together for what seemed an eternity, they were able to free the injured man. "By that time, the explosions [and] the heat were nearer than I care to think about.” Diefenbach dragged Hymel out of the fuselage and carried him away from the blazing wreck just as a helicopter and fire trucks arrived. The rescue crew was unable to approach the B-52, now engulfed in flames. Hymel was air-evacuated to Clark Air Base in the Philippines, then to a hospital in the States where he eventually recovered from multiple fractures and lacerations. After Diefenbach had reported details of the rescue to the wing commander, and his staff, he was taken to the base hospital "for some minor repairs and bandages." Some time later, he discovered there were "a lot of thank you’s in order for the Chief Pilot in the Sky." He had extricated the copilot from an armed ejection seat. That it had not fired in the struggle to free Hymel was a miracle within a miraculous and heroic rescue, for which the Commander in Chief of Strategic Air Command, Gen. John C. Meyer <0589valor.html>, presented Diefenbach the

Airman's Medal.


Published August 1983. Copyright © Air Force Association
Thanks for the story. RIP.
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  #20  
Old 8 August 2017, 18:17
Fu King Lawyer Fu King Lawyer is offline
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Thanks for the story. RIP.
Whatever prompted me to research the crash of Ash-1 way back then prompted me to look further last night. Lt Hymel (one of the survivors) retired from the USAF as a Lt Col and went to work for DIA. After going thru what he did, only to be killed 9/11 at the Pentagon. RIP

https://airforce.togetherweserved.co...rson&ID=110832
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