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I'm biased of course, but I've never felt that the B-52 community got much credit for what we did in the 1991 Gulf War.

I learned from the History Channel, back when it still had history, that the F-117 pretty much won the war all by itself.

Watching cable news back then you might have come away with the idea that we weren't even there. It seemed like the Pentagon mostly wanted to show off all the cool high-tech stuff like smart-bombs going down the air vent of the bunker.

"Look how clean and surgical our air war is!"

They didn't really want to highlight a bunch of Eisenhower-era aircraft dropping iron bombs left over from the Vietnam War.

This gives me a chance to relate one of the lesser known stories of that war. Most people don't know that B-52s flew low-level strike missions on the first nights of the Gulf War. These were the first, and may well be the last, B-52 low-level combat missions. What we came to call "Night One".

4300th Provisional Bomb Wing

I make no claim to heroics. What I went through was a walk in the park compared to Berlin or Hanoi. Still, if you get shot over Iraq you're just as dead as one of those other places. All it takes is for one bad-guy to get lucky.

I make no claim to any great humanitarian motivations either. I was there because the powers that be thought I needed to be there. I just wanted to bring my butt home in one piece along with the other 5 guys on my plane.

First a little background. In August of 1990, two days after the invasion of Kuwait, I was dumb enough to answer my phone on a Sunday morning. My squadron commander said "Be here in 4 hours with your bags packed. You're going away indefinitely." Gulp.

Pretty soon my crew and I found ourselves halfway around the world on Diego Garcia. A tiny strip of coral in the Indian Ocean. Our home for the next 7 months. We were part of the 4300th Bomb Wing (Provisional), a unit pieced together from various B-52 units: Loring, Griffis, Castle and Barksdale.

Our initial tasking would have been to make low-level runs against Iraqi tank columns if they'd pushed into Saudi Arabia. Not sure how survivable that scenario would have been. Glad I didn't have to find out.

Fortunately we were able to spend much of the next 5 months training for what was probably coming. Wasn't much else to do on an atoll in the Indian Ocean. Note that tropical islands are no longer on my list of vacation spots.

I looked forward to flying, mostly as a break from the mind-numbing boredom. It's funny how you start to really take your training seriously when you know the real deal is likely to happen soon.

Oh, and I spent a lot of time thinking to myself: "I'm going to get shot down. I'm going to be a P.O.W. They're going to beat the crap out of me. THIS SUCKS!"

Like I said before, I'm not claiming hero status here.

I know the war seemed rather one-sided but that's not what we were expecting going into it. General Horner himself told us to expect the loss of six aircraft from our unit. The KC-135 crews were told to expect 20% losses on the first night. Gee thanks General. Great pep talk. I feel much better now.

January 16th, 1991 around 5:00 PM somebody's knocking on our door saying "You guys are going in an hour. Get your stuff together." I walked over the the chow hall and tried to eat something but my stomach had squeezed itself into a tight ball so I sipped some ice tea and went back to the room to wait for our ride down to the Operations building.

At Operations we received our initial briefings. We already knew our targets for the first night so it was mostly a rehash of what we already knew. We'd be briefed on things like what threats to expect and best places for evasion in case we got shot down (bad). We'll be in a 3-ship "cell" attacking an Iraqi airfield. It's one of their secondary airfields, not too terribly far into Iraqi territory. The main airfields have fortunately been tasked to fast-movers like F-111s and British Tornadoes.

We get a final pep talk from the Wing Commander - "Don't run into the ground". OK, good advice. I'll try to remember that Colonel.

After all the briefings we gathered all our gear and headed out to the jet. Unlike a normal launch, we did everything radio silent. I don't think there were any Iraqi submarines hiding in the lagoon snooping on our conversations, but no sense advertising that you're on your way.

We launched something like 31 bombers and tankers that night. The primary strike aircraft plus airborne spares. We did all this purely based on timing. We started engines at our assigned time, taxied on time and took off on time.

We launched into absolute crap weather. There was a line of storms hitting the island right around that time and we plowed right through it. Golly, that was fun. And we haven't even gotten to the good stuff yet.

OK, we're out of the freakin' monsoon at least. Now we've got six hours or so to target and a couple of air refuelings to get through. We're carrying bombs on the wing pylons (27 internal + 24 external) so the extra drag is really making us burn fuel.

After the second refueling it's time to put our gear on. Survival vests and sidearms (like that's going to do much). We took our heavy, Vietnam-era flak vests and positioned them around the cockpit for extra protection. We didn't wear them because we weren't sure what the extra weight would do to us in an ejection. Later we got modern police-style vests that we did wear.

Soon we're "feet dry" over Oman and headed up towards Saudi Arabia. I remember seeing lights everywhere as hundreds of aircraft were heading towards the Iraqi border. And then I fell asleep.

I wish I could say that I was such a steely-eyed warrior I was able to sleep through danger - in reality I was just exhausted. A long day plus two refuelings on top of all the additional stress must have taken its toll on me.

My copilot woke me up an hour or so later saying "Hey, we need to get ready to go low."

We have some housekeeping to do first. The Night Vision Goggles are sensitive to anything except green light. We turn off the red instrument lights, tape over all the warning lights with black electrical tape and tape up green chemical light-sticks to serve as our instrument lighting. We turn off all the exterior lights. Our dark-green aircraft should be very difficult to pick out on a dark night like this.

Now the other two aircraft in the cell (formation) go their separate ways. We've been flying 2-mile spacing off each other up to this point. Now we'll be taking separate routes to the target. This is called a "multiple axis of attack". It's a relatively new tactic for us and we've only practiced it a few times. The plan is to cross the target from 3 different directions with 45 seconds between aircraft. We've never even practiced it this tight. We always used 60 seconds in training. We need to make our time-over-target to zero second tolerance. We don't want the plane behind us flying into our bombs.

We drop down to a few hundred feet off the ground well before crossing the border into Iraq. My aircraft is carrying cluster bombs filled with mines. The idea is to sow mines over the airfield to make it difficult to repair the damage our two wingmen are going to do. They're carrying British 1000-pound runway cratering bombs. These things will dig a hole and then wait to blow up later on at various intervals.  

The bad thing about dropping cluster is we'll have to pop up to 1000 feet to release the weapons. 1000 feet is a bad altitude. You either want to be really low or really high. Anything in between is a good place to get shot. They've planned for us to be first across the target, hoping the additional element of surprise will make up for being that exposed.

It's very dark. Not really enough light for the NVGs to do much good. I'm flying the terrain trace and watching the FLIR, which is doing a decent job of picking up the warm desert.

We cross into Iraqi airspace and now the NVGs start to work. They're picking up all that anti-aircraft fire you probably saw on cable. The goggles now actually work too well. It's hard to tell how close this stuff is. I suspect it's further away than it looks and I pass that on to the crew because they're starting to get a bit excited. I am too, but I don't want to let on. I'm supposed to be the cool, fearless Aircraft Commander (ha!).

I'm seeing everything from small arms up to the big 57mm stuff. I can't tell if they're really shooting at anybody or just hoping someone will fly through it.
And now my EWO is telling me he's picking up what he thinks is a MiG-25 search radar. Great.

The MiG never locks on to us. I doubt he even knew we were there. His radar wasn't worth much down low and neither was he (they didn't train for it). Plus there are F-15s at least in the general area so I figure they'll keep him busy. The guns worry me more, but so far nothing is coming anywhere close to us.

Finally we hit the Initial Point for our bomb run and we're inbound to the target. The Navigator is calling airspeeds for me to fly to make the timing work. I'm making sure to keep the Course Deviation Indicator centered so that the bombs go where the Radar Navigator is aiming. A typical bomb run lasts about a minute from start to finish:

"60 seconds"

"RCD connected, light's on" (The final arming step is complete. No sense going through all this trouble and have the bombs stay on the plane!)

"30 seconds"

"Stepping out to my final offset" (This is the Radar Navigator adjusting his aim point)

"20 seconds - climb!"

I climb to 1000 feet. It's dark. I can't see a damn thing out here.

"10 seconds - doors"

The bomb doors open.

"5, 4, 3, 2 1 bombs away"

The bombs start to ripple off the aircraft.

Flash! Flash! Flash! Flash! Flash! Oh this is not good!

I think they're shooting at me and I can't do a damn thing about it while the bombs are releasing! The flashes are just the right rate of fire to be a medium sized AA gun. I'm waiting for what I think are 37mm shells to come ripping through the plane - nothing. Either they're not a very good shot or it's something else. I'm not going to stick around to find out.

The bomb doors close, I push the throttles up and the nose over. I start violently gun-jinking the plane around in three dimensions. We're headed back down and passing 390 knots (limiting airspeed), 410, 420!, 430!

The plane is now starting to mach-tuck. The faster we go the more the nose wants to go down which makes it go faster which makes the nose go down more. Not what you really want to be doing a few hundred feet off the ground on a very dark night.

I'm suddenly remembering a conversation I had with one of the Vietnam-era guys "You can fly this thing faster than 390 but she'll mach-tuck on you so be sure to run some nose-up trim".

I give the trim switch on my yoke a quick burst of nose-up and sure enough problem solved.

Dear Lord please don't let me get shot coming off the target.

OK, we're finally out of the target area and I haven't managed to kill us evading the real or imagined guns. It's quite possible that what I saw was the little explosive charges that opened our cluster bombs but I didn't realize it at the time.

Now during all the excitement the Navigator has lost his situational awareness and has got us turning back towards the target. Not good. That's about the last place I want to be right now. The Radar Nav (the senior navigator) fortunately gets us pointed back in the right direction.

Shortly after our wingmen come off target a flight of F-15Es come in to finish what we started. Scratch one airfield.

The rest is mercifully uneventful. We egress at low-level, rejoin the formation and head for home.

We're alive! Woo hoo!

Years later I would always get a little antsy right around January 16th. I'd be thinking to myself "Why do I feel so weird today?" Eventually I'd remember what day it was and think "Oh yeah, that's why."

Nobody ever did ask why I was going so fast. My answer would have been "Because it wouldn't go any effing faster!"

I did manage to find a pretty good article from Air Force Magazine about this operation. I think I knew the guy who wrote it.

Additional Reading

Originally posted to Major Kong on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 07:42 AM PST.

Also republished by Kossack Air Force, DKos Military Veterans, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Seriously, you really gotta write a book. (14+ / 0-)

    Or do you need an introduction to Errol Morris?

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 07:53:17 AM PST

  •  Whatever our attitudes to war (13+ / 0-)

    The fact remains that we have them, and our military has to go fight them.

    We get such a sanitized view from the media that it contributes, in my view, to the notion that war is easy and we can just go out and beat "johnny bad guy".

    We need to understand that war is not that which we see on CNN, that it is deadly. People die and those people are our family, and neighbors ... and that's just our side!

    Fantastic Diary. Thank you very much both for what you did in 1991, and for letting us know what it was really like.

    Glad you made it home.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 08:04:16 AM PST

  •  Excellent discourse on a heck of a night... (16+ / 0-)

    ....you are quite correct about the RAF Tornado GR.1s. Some friends of mine were headed for an assortment of Iraqi airfields carrying the twin pods of the Hunting JP223 weapon system, containing a mix of SG357, 2-stage cratering munitions, and HB876 anti-personnel/anti-machinery sub-munitions (with assorted delay fuses).

    Both the Saudi Air Force Tornado aircraft and our own carryied these pods, which demanded a low, straight and level, right down the centerline, bomb run gulp

    The biggest effect that the crews didn't like was the incredible, continuous ripple-fire effect of the munitions being fired from the pod. These flashes illuminated the aircraft to any 'bad guy' with an AK-47, let alone a 37 or 57mm AAA mount!

    There was one loss, sadly, but it is thought that this was CFIT...bad day.

  •  Note on CFIT during Gulf 1..... (11+ / 0-)

    Controlled Flight Into Terrain was a problem in some night-time situations. The TFR in the nose of the GR1 did not always 'see' the very top of some of the dunes. It was almost as if the last few feet of sand were almost invisible. The TFR seemed to look 'through' it and there wasn't a good return.

    Anyway, that is how the CFIT is thought to have happened.

  •  Thanks Kong (9+ / 0-)

    Sounds like SAC learned something from Linebacker 1.  IIRC back then EVERYONE followed the same path from the IP to the AP. Just like over Berlin.  Didn't take a lot of high powered electronics to figure out when to point the SAMs. Three planes from 3 directions ought to tax the systems long enough to get out safe....

    “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

    by markdd on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 08:58:14 AM PST

    •  Met A B-52 Navigator Who Flew Those (6+ / 0-)

      Longer ago than I care to remember, I had the chance to speak with a ex-navigator who flew the Linebacker II raids on Hanoi/Haiphong 40 years ago this year.  The Linebacker II raids were the aerial equivalent of a "mad minute" with a maximum effort intended to shock the North Vietnamese into reaching some agreement at the Paris Peace Accords.  As I recall the conversation, my colleague indicated that the missions he flew occurred at night, which made the entire effort surreal.  The NV werer using SAMs in defense along with with AAA and the B52s on the missions were flying straight established patterns over the chosen targets, which made them very easy targets.  One of the planes in his pod during one sortie apparently did get hit by a SAM, and the missions reminded me of nothing so much as the Schweinfurt raids during WW2.  

      "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

      by PrahaPartizan on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 04:52:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The tactical guys told SAC (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KenBee, BlackSheep1, ER Doc

        it was a mistake.  But they knew better, right up til they took Schweinfurt level losses.  I thought it was between LI and LII that they rethought the process.  Maybe it was the Christmas pause.

        “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

        by markdd on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 06:08:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  This sounds terrifying. (9+ / 0-)

    I read a lot about the battles in the Gulf War.  The whole thing sounded terrifying.  Glad you made it back safe.  

    "Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die," - Buddha.

    by sujigu on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 10:15:03 AM PST

  •  Extremely well written and important: (12+ / 0-)

    I am very tired of the "chicken hawks" in Washington being so willing to risk the lives of people like you.

    War is hell and you did a wonderful job describing the fear, something often overlooked by favoring the fearless jet pilot.

    It also sounds to me like you realize the extent of the damage you do to others and, like you noted, it is not your job to figure out the morality of it all - - but it is good to remember that people die under you, too.

    I wonder what your opinion on the reliance of drones now.  I hate the thought that war or killing in general becoming too "easy" and without that risk of harm the decision to kill others is unbalanced.  On the other hand, I would never ever want someone like you exposed to danger in the first place.  Quite a dilemma.

    Blessed are the peacemakers, the poor, the meek and the sick. Message to Repug Fundies: "DO you really wonder "what would Jesus do?" I didn't think so.

    by 4CasandChlo on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 10:33:43 AM PST

  •  I wanna hear about the SAM. (10+ / 0-)

    Rumor has it that you met one.

    I'm glad that you lived through your many adventures, Major, and not just because thus you are able to relate them to us. Happy Holidays!

    Visit Lacking All Conviction, your patch of grey on those too-sunny days.

    by eataTREE on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 10:58:38 AM PST

  •  Hours before (9+ / 0-)

    Hours before the attack into Iraq, I remember seeing KC-135's taking off out of Birmingham.

    One after another, more than I knew were based there.
    I was confused because the B'ham base was more a reserve training base and a huge overhaul facility, but about daybreak local time, or 16 hours before we started hearing the first news reports from Iraq, I noticed the refuelers departing.

    1) I didn't say a word about what I saw to anyone. Nobody HAD to know IF they were involved, what it meant, but it was obvious something was going down.

    2) I always wonder where they went?
    Did they go replace folks off the west coast that replaced people further west or up north? Surely they didn't go all the way to the Arabian peninsula.

    As a final after word to your diary. Yes, it was known that B-52's were part of the airwar over Iraq. However, what we heard/learned was the 52's were used over dug in troops in southern Iraq and Kuwait.
    I never heard anything about them on the first night.

    Enagaged activism wins elections. 100 million words on liberal/progressive websites gets beat by one new GOP voter casting their vote.

    by Nebraska68847Dem on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 11:06:16 AM PST

  •  What a spectacular string of diaries, (7+ / 0-)

    Major Kong.  They're well written, exciting, and educational.  Thank you very much!

  •  Great diary! (9+ / 0-)

    Didn't we lose one B-52 based out of Diego Garcia?  I remember something about one going down when returning to base during the First Gulf War.

    "I come close to despair because so many of the pieces of the country are broken, and when you see that, you have two choices: You can give up, or you can do something about it." Elizabeth Warren

    by Ed in Montana on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 11:35:48 AM PST

    •  We did (8+ / 0-)

      It was due to mechanical failure complicated by fatigue.

      They were new to the operation and hadn't had time to fully adjust. They mishandled some problems and ended up creating more problems.

      They ended up flaming out their remaining engines on final approach. Three of them managed to eject.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 01:29:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bomb damage? (9+ / 0-)

    Thanks for taking us along on night #1. Did you and your fellow flyers get much feedback or photos from the recon folks on how successful your missions were?  Thanks for your diaries.

    •  Not usually (7+ / 0-)

      One of the guys on my crew was friends with someone in intel.

      He was occasionally able to get some "bootleg" copies of our BDA pictures.

      At least the ones I saw looked like we hit what we were aiming at.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 01:27:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  So that's what it's really like! I've wondered. (6+ / 0-)

    Yes, I know what was on CNN, back when CNN was still a news organisation.  I've got the tapes tucked away in a box.

    We have very different memories of that night.  Yours are from the front lines; mine of from the 'keeping the home fires burning' division.

    Your account is written factually, yet with humour, and still conveys the reality of air warfare.  Periods of boredom, punctuated by moments of absolute terror.  And still, you and all the other 'flyboys' (my mum's affectionate term--and mine) go off and do your jobs.

    Most of the fellas I know don't like to talk about what goes on, or...we get the "Hollywood" version of things via some John Wayne wannabe. (dear lord, that shows my age, doesn't it?)  I don't ask, unless one of you volunteers information.  For that reason, and quite a few others, I'm very grateful for a brief glimpse into an extraordinary event.

    Oh.  Those pep talks are usually given by those who will never have to get one.  Or so my sources tell me.  ;-)

    Glad you made it back.
    Marti

    We cannot call ourselves a civilised society if we refuse to protect the weakest among us.

    by The Marti on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 12:37:59 PM PST

  •  NVGs are a wonderful thing, but (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlackSheep1, sawgrass727, ER Doc

    most people don't realize that you lose almost all sense of depth perception with them.  Makes it hard to walk through dense woods when you can't tell how close you are to that tree in front of you.

    "Give to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself." - Robert G. Ingersoll

    by Apost8 on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 02:38:02 PM PST

  •  about the night vision goggles- (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurt, sawgrass727, ER Doc

    my ex-husband's father was one of the scientists that invented the first NVG. They were civilians that were contracted by the Pentagon and so they couldn't own the patent. He just got a regular paycheck. He brought one of the first goggles made back to the house and my ex-husband and his brothers were playing with them in the back yard at night-this must have been about in the mid 1960's? Maybe around 1967-8? Can't remember exactly how old he was when he was playing with them that night.

    Anyway, he always said that they were never supposed to be used for flying/landing and that they were dangerous for pilots to use. I am wondering if you ever used them back around then, and if so, whether you knew that about the fact that they were supposed to be used strictly for on the ground ? Or maybe you used them a few years later and they were able to better adapt them for flying purposes?

    •  We didn't land with them (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt, BlackSheep1, sawgrass727, ER Doc

      We mostly used them as an additional aid for low-level flying. We first started using them around 1990.

      I cover it in a little more detail here:

      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 03:59:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for the answer (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sawgrass727, ER Doc

        but when you said that they were brand new in 1990-they had already been out for 25 years, and I know that they were using them for flying in at least the early 80's ( I thought that he had meant way earlier than that, but hell if I know). I thought he had mentioned it in the late 70's to me. I just know that he was mad because they were not being used the way they were intended to be used-on the ground. Maybe they were experimenting with using them in the air in the 70's/80's?  Or maybe what you were using in 1990 that was brand new (1st generation) were a newer adaptation of what he helped to invent that was adapted to be used in a plane

        •  They were new to us in 1990 (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BlackSheep1, sawgrass727, ER Doc

          Didn't realize they'd been around that long.

          If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

          by Major Kong on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 04:59:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  back when I was getting over being a SAC troop (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sawgrass727, ER Doc

          NVGs on helicopters were sending a lot of rotating-wing aircraft into nighttime collisions with terrain. I think this had something to do with the sudden halt to the proliferation of TV News 'chopters as well as hospitals' helicopter corps.

          LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

          by BlackSheep1 on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 12:21:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks, Major. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PrahaPartizan, BlackSheep1

    Too often we don't get flight diaries like this, and I don't just mean here at DKos either. The general public doesn't know how it all works, how everyone and everything has a role. We 'only' see what is provided us, and what we see is just a small piece of the pie.

  •  Major, your forward infrared (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sawgrass727

    mentioned in 'The Buff At War'

    Downstairs, the navigator and radar navigator would watch the radar altimeter as the hot desert rocks zipped past in the forward-looking infrared display. With four sets of eyes watching the terrain, the B-52s were able to train safely at low altitude in almost any visibility.
    Doesn't that infrared show as a giant searchlight with the right technology?

    Seems even more scary to use it nearer the target, especially if they know you were coming...I would have thought that basic AA strategy would be to look for that, but then, what do I know anyway...

    thanks for this, great story telling.

    This machine kills Fascists.

    by KenBee on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 04:27:11 PM PST

    •  No it was purely passive (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt, KenBee, BlackSheep1, sawgrass727

      It detected heat. Aircraft engines showed up on it very well.

      Some tanks back in the had an IR searchlight, that indeed could be detected. Maybe that's what you were thinking of.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 05:01:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sawgrass727, ER Doc

    from another Desert Storm vet.  

    I was there on the Persian Gulf with a medical logistics unit.

    It's interesting to read other vets first person accounts of the war.

  •  The B-52 Series is excellent (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc

    Every time I see that aircraft, I'm amazed.  Your diaries what it was like to fly them are terrific. Please keep em coming.

  •  Great post! (0+ / 0-)

    I always wondered what the BUFF missions were like during GW1.  I knew that they flew, but it seemed as you said that all the coverage went to that POS the "F"-117 (really, what could it "fight"?).   The Navy flew lots of strikes too, one of my oldest friends in the Navy was the CO of an attack squadron during that little dust-up.

    Diego Garcia is quite the place, it used to have one the nicest Officer's Clubs in the Western Pacific/Indian Ocean, next to the one at Cubi Point, in the Philippines.  The view out the veranda looking at the waves crashing over the rocks on the point was quite nice in the evening.  

    My first trip there was when the SeaBees were still building the roads, all the roads were crushed gravel/coral. I understand they've paved a few of them now.   They also didn't have all the port facilities they have now, so our ship had to anchor out in the lagoon and we had to ride liberty boats out to the ship after an evening of female-free debauchery (no women on DG back in the late 70s/early 80s).  If you passed out on the beach waiting for the liberty launch to come back and get you, you were likely to find a coconut crab investigating you closely.  Man, those things get big!

    I got to spend about three months there TAD (TDY to you) in the mid-80s when I was med down for a while and enjoyed it because (1) it wasn't UNDERWAY and (2) they don't do General Quarters drills aboard Diego Garcia :) .   So I still like tropical islands, thank you very much :)

    Someday I'll have to write the diary about how a Navy jeep ended up outside the lagoon on the west side of the island in about 15 feet of water back when the hostages were still in Iran.    

    A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism. -Carl Sagan

    by jo fish on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 12:48:01 PM PST

  •  You probably flew under me (0+ / 0-)

    I have nothing but bad memories of that whole thing. Not my crew or the support people, but some higher ups. I don't own a gun,  our plane was unarmed, and I'm not the kind of guy that would want to shoot some. But I wanted to shoot one of our SAC pilots when he said he only had a month to go until he went back to the states and started working for Delta and didn't want to put us in any harm's way. (Our job was to support people in harm's way.)

    The Air Force paid for this bastard's training, and he could give a rat's ass about his fellow airmen in the middle of a war.

    Did enjoy the patriot/scud show each evening as we prepped for flights in Riyadh.....

  •  If they keep the Buffs flying like they've said... (0+ / 0-)

    Who knows what kind of missions will be coming up? Thanks for an intriguing tale.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 06:11:05 PM PST

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