We were all in a safety briefing one day, in Room 45, Hanger 12 – the 560th FTS. A flight surgeon was rambling on about something or another – something we should, or should not do, when he began telling us a story about flying F-105s in Southeast Asia. Then we began paying attention! This guy had been a pilot, then went on to become a flight surgeon. I was sitting next to Ken K., who worked in Flight Safety.
Anyway, the flight surgeon began telling us about a strike ‘up North’ one day where Number 4 was a new guy. As the flight rolled in on the target, all kinds of crap began coming up at them. Apparently it was a real fur-ball! Smoke, missiles, airplanes, radio chatter everywhere. As the flight came off the target and was egressing they formed up again as a formation – everyone except Nr. 4. The flight lead called a radio check: “X-Flight, check,” to which came the crisp reply – “2,” “3,” “4.” But there was no ‘4’ in the formation.
As Lead looked around he called for “4” to give him a radio “hold down.” “4” held down the appropriate radio frequency and Lead’s indicator showed “4” was somewhere out in front of the formation!
“4,” Lead called, “Where are you?” 4 gave his position which in fact, put him out in front of the formation. Lead then asked what his altitude was and 4 replied, “I’m on the deck, Sir!” Then Lead asked what his airspeed was – and 4 responded, “My Gawd Sir, I’m going 1,000 miles per hour!” Apparently when he came off target, to ‘bug out,’ 4 had left the throttle in burner – and one thing the Thud could do was go real fast, real low!
As the flight surgeon wrapped up the story, Ken leaned over to me and whispered, “That was me!” I cracked up – and it was fun to watch the subsequent reunion after the briefing…