Wings, Feet and Eyeballs
by
Pat Dougan
Crusader 16, Rat Pack 5

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Webmasters note:
War in itself is never ever funny.  There is however a survival need both mentally and physically to find laughter where you can.  Escaping the reality of war for even a brief few moments made the worst situation bearable.

We did find many things to laugh about in Vietnam and this is one of them.  Pat Dougan posted this story in response to network traffic concerning bird strikes in Vietnam.

 

Pat Dougan wrote:

I saw this message (about bird strikes) and it brought back one of the funniest memories that I have told over and over . . . When I went to KC, I met the original two participants . . . my buddies Asa Vest and Ronnie Hopkins . . . neither of whom are computer nerds, unfortunately.

 

 

TINS alert TINS alert TINS alert TINS alert

 

 

I was flying team lead for the Rat Pack one early morn on an insertion SE of Tay Ninh.  Back in pre-Cobra days, the team lead would "lead" the flight in and toss the smoke in the landing area for skid-kids.  Arty wasn't used that day, the landing zone (LZ) was primarily rice patty with a small but heavily grooved tree line at the end of the LZ.  After tossing the markers and breaking left to take up my position, the second gun started unloading our new 17 pounder rockets (yes guys, there was a time when the rockets fit all the way into the pods) into the tree line.  As he made his break, a thick dark black cloud started rising from the tree line.  The third gun had nosed up prior to starting the run and didn't see the "cloud" forming.  Asa and Ronnie rolled over and started pouring their load into the tree line . . . mini-guns blaring and rockets a-blasting.  When they realized what the "cloud" was, it was all they could do to suck pitch and break out.

They didn't make it.!

They flew through a cloud of ten gazillion fruit bats!

Every windshield and chin bubble were completely burst and removed.

There were bat guts, bat wings, bat feet, bat blood, bat crap, bat eyes, . . . well, you get the picture!  Thanks to the new improved particle filters! . . they flew it back to Tay Ninh. . . . can you spell STENCH? J

No injuries, and twenty-seven years worth of laughs.  It wasn't a great war, but it was the best one we had!

Pat Dougan
Crusader "16", Rat Pack "5", SMOKEY@ 187th AHC 69-69
Varsity "3"@B/159th One-OH-Worst 70-71

1997 - Pat Dougan

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