||[Sep. 18th, 2006|08:55 pm]
now, that is strange
I will try this a 2nd time. I’m new so bear with me. I guess I sent this to the wrong photo group earlier and got my butt kicked. I sure hope I got it right this time.
For those too young to remember, during the Viet Nam conflict, carriers were so woefully short of ordinance that missions were often launched with only a half load just to keep the sortie rate up so that the REMF's in DC would not send out blistering messages about failure to support the war effort, etc.
Given that the loss rate approached, and sometime exceeded, one aircraft a day, all will understand that there was a degree of reticence to launch with less than a full load -- if I must dance with the elephant at least let's make it worth while. Nevertheless, the indomitable spirit of the carrier aviators, and their squadron-mates, prevailed in some rather perverse ways.
I thought you'd get a kick out of one squadron's ingenuity on the USS Midway in Oct 1965. Yes, this really happened…Once again history is stranger then fiction, and a lot funnier:
In October 1965, CDR Clarence J. Stoddard, Executive Officer of VA-25 "Fist of the Fleet", flying an A-1H Skyraider, NE/572. "Paper Tiger II" from Carrier Air Wing Two aboard USS Midway carried a special bomb to the North Vietnamese in commemoration of the 6-millionth pound of ordnance dropped. This bomb was unique because of the type... it was a toilet!
The following is an account of this event, courtesy of Clint Johnson, Captain, USNR Ret. Captain Johnson was one of the two VA-25 A-1 Skyraider pilots credited with shooting down a MiG-17 on June 20, 1965.
"I was a pilot in VA-25 on the 1965 Vietnam cruise...572 was flown by CDR C. W. "Bill" Stoddard. His wingman in 577 (which was my assigned airplane) was LCDR Robin Bacon, who had a wing station mounted movie camera (the only one remaining in the fleet from WWII).
The flight was a Dixie Station strike (South Vietnam) going to the Delta. When they arrived in the target area and CDR Stoddard was reading the ordnance list to the FAC, he ended with "and one code name Sani-flush".
The FAC couldn't believe it and joined up to see it. It was dropped in a dive with LCDR Bacon flying tight wing position to film the drop. When it came off, it turned hole to the wind and almost struck his airplane. It made a great ready room movie. The FAC said that it whistled all the way down.
The toilet was a damaged toilet, which was going to be thrown overboard. One of our plane captains rescued it and the ordnance crew made a rack, tailfins and nose fuse for it. Our checkers maintained a position to block the view of the air boss and the Captain while the aircraft was taxiing forward.
Just as it was being shot off we got a 1MC message from the bridge, "What the hell was on 572's right wing?" There were a lot of jokes with air intelligence about germ warfare. I wish that we had saved the movie film."