Discussion:
Chilling tale by Dick Rutan
(too old to reply)
Greasy Rider @ invalid.com
2006-07-27 10:51:02 UTC
Permalink
Vietnam Combat Story by Dick Rutan


this from an AF pilot who was a Misty 100 driver based at Phu Cat with
Rutan.

The only USAF General Officer to die during the Vietnam conflict did
so not thirty feet from my cockpit. It was an absolutely horrific
experience.

It happened sometime in the summer of 1968; although I don't remember
exactly when.

I do remember it was on my third MISTY tour. Third tour Why ?! !
Well, I couldn't face ( just ) busting trees back in the South. I
figured as long as I had to be there, I might as well be where the
action was.

This day, I was in the back seat with Captain Donald E. Harland, who,
sadly, is no longer with us. We had just backed off the tanker, and
were filled with fuel when I heard a Mayday call to Waterboy ( GCI
Site. ) The call was from Strobe 01, an RF-4C Phantom Recce Bird
coming out of North Vietnam, just above the DMZ. He reported he had
taken a hit and had smoke in the rear cockpit...he was losing
hydraulic pressure and was heading ' feet wet.'

Turning on our tape recorder, I listened for a while to the
conversation and discovered we were inbound almost head-on to Strobe
01. I jumped into the conversation and asked Waterboy to vector us
for a join-up so we could check him out.

After a few vectors we found ourselves in a stern tail chase with too
much speed and I over shot him. Idle, speed brakes, full left rudder,
right aileron, I skidded right by him asking if he, Strobe 01, had an
F-100 going by his left wing.

Embarrassed, I slipped back on his left wing and from what Harland and
I could initially see, he looked pretty much normal - no big holes or
streaming fluid. Strobe said they were still loosing hydraulic
pressure and it was getting real hot in the rear cockpit. I asked him
to hold it real steady so we could come in closer and do a battle
damage check.

We started looking just as Strobe rolled wings level, just a few miles
feet wet and parallel to the coast. Now abeam the DMZ, he said he was
going to try to make it to Danang. His reconnaissance outfit (Strobe)
was stationed out of Saigon, so Danang, farther north was the
emergency recovery base.

Since Harland was new to MISTY and I had been around a while, I took
control. Still a little sheepish of my grand display of flying
skill because of the overshoot, I took a deep breath and said to
myself, "Okay Dumb.. sh.. don't f.. . this up anymore."

I then slid close in underneath the ugliest fighter ever built ( too
many engines, too many seats ). Harland noticed it first near the
nose. It appeared to be a small hole in the belly near the aft part
of the camera bay. We could see a little flame flickering in the hole,
but not a real big fire. We had to get real close to see but there
was a small amount of smoke coming out of the seams in the belly.

As we slid out to the right side, we could also see a small amount of
flame in the camera bay through the oblique camera window. I crossed
back over to the left wing while Harland and I forwarded these tidbits
of information to Strobe.

During this time, we had no idea there was a General officer in front
and we were not talking to the pilot, but to a "seeing eye Major" in
the back seat. I thought it was just a " Poug " Captain and a Brown
Bar Navigator in the back. After all, Generals are prohibited from
flying up North, and these reconnaissance guys really hang it out.
Company grade stuff, the field graders usually find other things to
do.

Strobe acknowledged the fire and said, " Okay, we're going to go ahead
and bail out."

I thought, " Wow, this is going to be neat." It should have been a
very ' by-the-book ' ejection; 10,000 feet, straight and level, ideal
speed, under control, leading to a routine water rescue . . Up until
this moment, I had not witnessed an ejection sequence up close and the
notorious F-4 Martin Baker seat, known as the " back breaker," with
its complicated system would be neat to see.

I eased the F-100F out to route formation and waited . . waited. But
nothing happened. A review of the tape later showed it was almost two
minutes before the rear seat fired. Later I asked the seeing eye
Major what took so long since he was told they were on fire, why the
wait ? He said the General did not want to eject and argued about the
position of the command ejection handle in the rear cockpit. The
Major, upholding his duties, wanted it in the Command position ( the
guy in back Command ejects the front.)

But the General outranked him and ordered him to leave it in the OFF
position, thereby making each seat a single-initiated ejection.

The Major was reluctant, but after retrieving the check list and
reading each step of the bold face ejection procedures (SOP for many
engines, many seats, what can you expect ) to each other, the Major
pulled the "D" ring on his seat, leaving his General to fend for
himself.

From my vantage point, this first ejection from the rear cockpit was
textbook. I can still remember it vividly today, as if in slow
motion.

The aft canopy opened and separated cleanly, clearing the tail by a
good 20 feet, then the seat started up the rails. Just as the bottom
of the seat cleared the canopy seal, the rocket motor ignited, burned
for 1.2 seconds and the seat went straight up very stable.

When the rocket stopped, the drogue chute came out, and seat rotated
back 90 degrees eye balls straight up, flat on his back, as he cleared
the tail. Now looking back over my right shoulder, the main C-9
canopy came out and as it started to open/inflate, the seat separated
and kept right on going. Now with the canopy fully open, the pilot
swung back underneath.

The whole thing was as neat as hell, I thought.

But when I looked back to the stricken aircraft, I could not believe
the horror I saw. The front cockpit was totally engulfed in fire.
Only a white dot of the pilot's helmet was visible through the smoke
and flames. He was sitting straight up as before, he wasn't moving,
and seemed totally oblivious to what was happening. It looked like two
huge blow torches were coming up from the rudder pedal wells through
the front cockpit around the pilot and out the now open rear cockpit.

The fire was streaming out and over the back of the Phantom, turning
into a dense black smoke trail that obscured the tail. But the
aircraft flew on undisturbed, not even a burble. The pilot was still
not moving, still seemed unaware, as if he was enjoying the flight.
The whole thing was surreal; almost dream like. How could this be ?

For a moment, I thought he might not be aware of the fire, and I must
tell him to eject. So I began hollering on the radio :

" Strobe 01 ! Bail out ! Bail out ! "

I called two or three times more, but still nothing happened. The
wings were level, but now the aircraft started a shallow descent. " My
God ! " I screamed. " What doesn't he eject ? How can he just sit
there? What in the hell is wrong? Then I figured it out. It became
obvious that we were too far away ( route formation ) and he couldn't
hear me.

So I drove the Hun right up next to the burning cockpit and continue
calling, " Strobe 01 ! Bail out ! BAIL OUT ! " this time with more
desperation in my screams. Harland calls, " Oh my God ! Look at it
burn ! "

In desperation, I drive closer, so close that the air pressure between
the two aircraft causes the fiery ball to roll into a 30 degree bank,
turning toward the right. As I pulled away, he rolled back wings
level, now pointed directly at the beach in a slightly steeper
descent.

By this time, the intense heat had charred Strobe's canopy and we
could no longer see the pilot's white helmet. The paint began to
blister and there were a few small explosions that blew some of the
panels loose and sent others flying off ( LOX Dewars and pressure
bottles, I think ). Now, the whole nose was a charcoal mess.

The flames subsided, and dense, thick smoke streamed from the nose
area.

For some strange reason, I just couldn't let go and continued to call
Strobe, nearly begging him to get out. At about 500 feet AGL and still
close on his wing, the old Phantom gave one last dying gasp. It
pitched up a little and then dove straight int o the beach, hitting
about 100 yards feet dry. For some strange reason, I still could not
let go.

Harland screamed, " Damn it Dick ! PULL UP ! " I'll always felt if
it had not been for Harland's stern direction, I would have crashed
right beside him; I would have just followed him in.

I pulled up left and told Waterboy, "Strobe 01 just impacted on the
beach." A few minutes later, Waterboy called and asked if there was
any chance of survival.

My sad reply was " Negative survival, negative survival."

As we turned back feet wet to find the back seater, there was an usual
amount of radio chatter about securing the area - dispatching a
Medivac, etc. It seemed odd - such an intense amount of interest in
this crash site.

We MISTY's have seen a lot of combat crash sites, however once it was
determined there were no survivors, it's instantly written off. A blue
car would be dispatched to a grieving family back in the states, and
that's pretty much the end of it. Although this crash interest level
was way out of the ordinary, Harland and I still had no idea who was
on board, and we wouldn't find out until we returned to Phu Cat.

It was time to concentrate on the back seater. We quickly located him
still in his parachute about five thousand feet above an angry Gulf of
Tonkin. We looked at the sea state and it was rough...real rough. We
noticed a motorized Vietnamese sampan hell-bent and heading straight
for the back seater.

We came around for a closer look and saw three or four people on board
the boat flying the Republic of South Vietnam flag. The sea was rough
and the boat continues to pound forward. Was this good or bad ?
Friendly or bad guy ? Even if they were friendly, they could still
kill the pilot if they did not know what they were doing.

Harland and I decided these signs weren't good ones, so Harland made a
low pass across the boat's bow to encourage him to turn around. We
pulled up, but the boat was not dissuaded in the least and continued
on toward the back seater, who is drifting closer to the water. What
to do now? Hell, I felt we warned 'em, so now we kill 'em.

But at the last minute, we decided to give the boat one final warning
and Harland placed a long burst of 20mm right close across the boat's
bow. This time, as we pulled up and came around, and just as the back
seater hit the water, the threatening boat made a sharp 180 degree
turn and " beat feet " back to the beach. Soon afterward, the Jolly
Green arrived and picked up the downed pilot.

This seemed just another day on the MISTY trail and Harland and I
headed back to the PAC asking Waterboy where Strobe 01 got hit.
Thinking Vengeance, but no one knew exactly where, so we finished our
morning cycle and returned to Phu Cat.

As we taxied in, there was a sea of Colonels waiting.

Before I opened the canopy, I said to Harland, " I don't know what
we've done, but it must have been a major screw up." The first Colonel
up the ladder said in an angry voice, " What are you doing here? You
should have landed at Saigon." Boy, were we confused. The Colonel
continued, " It's about Strobe 01." I said, " Yeah, that was real bad
and, uh, hey, I have a tape of the whole thing."

The Colonel's eyes got real big and he literally grabbed the tape
recorder from my hands.

Harland and I climbed out of the aircraft totally bewildered until it
finally dawned on the Colonel that we had no idea who was on board
Strobe O1. " It was General Bob Worley," and not knowing what to do
with the recorder, he handed it back to me and said, "Get in a Class
'B' Uniform, pack a bag and a Scatback (T-39) will be here in 30
minutes to take you both to Saigon. MACV wants you guys to brief the
Generals. "Oh, Goody," I thought.

On the ride to Saigon, I listened to the tape. Thank God I did,
because there was one real bad thing said that needed to be edited, so
I did a 18 second " Nixon Gap " treat-ment. When we made Saigon, it
seemed every damn General required his own private briefing and wanted
to listen to the tape. These hallowed halls, filled with stars, was
some change of pace for a couple of up country Poug MISTY's.

The real sad thing was the that the pilot was General Bob Worley, a
real, honest to goodness Tactical Fighter Pilot. The rest were, as you
know, a bunch of SAC Pukes. A strong and much needed voice for the
fighter pilot was lost that day. What was doubly sad was it was
Worley's DEROS (last) mission. In Vietnam, one receives double credit
toward an Air Medal for an out-of-country mission. The Major said Bob
really wanted that medal and some special photos. It seems dumb now,
but you had to be there. It seems last mission shoot downs became a
disease that spread so quickly the commanders would not tell the crews
it was their final mission until after they had landed . Seems
everyone wanted the big BDA and fly their final mission in grand
style.

I have often wondered why I kept calling for Strobe 01 to bail out,
and why we stuck so close all the way in not wanting to let go when it
was obvious Bob was dead a few seconds after the back seater ejected.

The psychology of combat...

Dick Rutan
Harry Andreas
2006-07-27 17:36:44 UTC
Permalink
excellent story. that's why I read this newsgroup despite having to pick
through all the political BS.
thanks for posting it.
--
Harry Andreas
Engineering raconteur
Greasy Rider @ invalid.com
2006-07-27 18:25:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Harry Andreas
excellent story. that's why I read this newsgroup despite having to pick
through all the political BS.
thanks for posting it.
I get those occasionally and almost each one is worth sharing.

My filter list grows each day. I have no idea what the limit is with
Forte Agent but it must be stressed.
Dave in San Diego
2006-07-27 19:02:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Harry Andreas
excellent story. that's why I read this newsgroup despite having to pick
through all the political BS.
thanks for posting it.
More stories here:
Misty: First Person Stories of the F-100 Misty Fast Facs in the Vietnam War;
Shepperd, Don;
http://www.ecampus.com/bk_detail.asp?ISBN=0759652546

Dave in San Diego
W. D. Allen
2006-07-27 18:26:25 UTC
Permalink
A really compelling story! Could it have been that with fire under the front
cockpit deck when the rear seater ejected the airflow around the aft cockpit
caused the flames to be sucked up through the front cockpit?

WDA

end
Post by Greasy Rider @ invalid.com
Vietnam Combat Story by Dick Rutan
this from an AF pilot who was a Misty 100 driver based at Phu Cat with
Rutan.
The only USAF General Officer to die during the Vietnam conflict did
so not thirty feet from my cockpit. It was an absolutely horrific
experience.
It happened sometime in the summer of 1968; although I don't remember
exactly when.
I do remember it was on my third MISTY tour. Third tour Why ?! !
Well, I couldn't face ( just ) busting trees back in the South. I
figured as long as I had to be there, I might as well be where the
action was.
This day, I was in the back seat with Captain Donald E. Harland, who,
sadly, is no longer with us. We had just backed off the tanker, and
were filled with fuel when I heard a Mayday call to Waterboy ( GCI
Site. ) The call was from Strobe 01, an RF-4C Phantom Recce Bird
coming out of North Vietnam, just above the DMZ. He reported he had
taken a hit and had smoke in the rear cockpit...he was losing
hydraulic pressure and was heading ' feet wet.'
Turning on our tape recorder, I listened for a while to the
conversation and discovered we were inbound almost head-on to Strobe
01. I jumped into the conversation and asked Waterboy to vector us
for a join-up so we could check him out.
After a few vectors we found ourselves in a stern tail chase with too
much speed and I over shot him. Idle, speed brakes, full left rudder,
right aileron, I skidded right by him asking if he, Strobe 01, had an
F-100 going by his left wing.
Embarrassed, I slipped back on his left wing and from what Harland and
I could initially see, he looked pretty much normal - no big holes or
streaming fluid. Strobe said they were still loosing hydraulic
pressure and it was getting real hot in the rear cockpit. I asked him
to hold it real steady so we could come in closer and do a battle
damage check.
We started looking just as Strobe rolled wings level, just a few miles
feet wet and parallel to the coast. Now abeam the DMZ, he said he was
going to try to make it to Danang. His reconnaissance outfit (Strobe)
was stationed out of Saigon, so Danang, farther north was the
emergency recovery base.
Since Harland was new to MISTY and I had been around a while, I took
control. Still a little sheepish of my grand display of flying
skill because of the overshoot, I took a deep breath and said to
myself, "Okay Dumb.. sh.. don't f.. . this up anymore."
I then slid close in underneath the ugliest fighter ever built ( too
many engines, too many seats ). Harland noticed it first near the
nose. It appeared to be a small hole in the belly near the aft part
of the camera bay. We could see a little flame flickering in the hole,
but not a real big fire. We had to get real close to see but there
was a small amount of smoke coming out of the seams in the belly.
As we slid out to the right side, we could also see a small amount of
flame in the camera bay through the oblique camera window. I crossed
back over to the left wing while Harland and I forwarded these tidbits
of information to Strobe.
During this time, we had no idea there was a General officer in front
and we were not talking to the pilot, but to a "seeing eye Major" in
the back seat. I thought it was just a " Poug " Captain and a Brown
Bar Navigator in the back. After all, Generals are prohibited from
flying up North, and these reconnaissance guys really hang it out.
Company grade stuff, the field graders usually find other things to
do.
Strobe acknowledged the fire and said, " Okay, we're going to go ahead
and bail out."
I thought, " Wow, this is going to be neat." It should have been a
very ' by-the-book ' ejection; 10,000 feet, straight and level, ideal
speed, under control, leading to a routine water rescue . . Up until
this moment, I had not witnessed an ejection sequence up close and the
notorious F-4 Martin Baker seat, known as the " back breaker," with
its complicated system would be neat to see.
I eased the F-100F out to route formation and waited . . waited. But
nothing happened. A review of the tape later showed it was almost two
minutes before the rear seat fired. Later I asked the seeing eye
Major what took so long since he was told they were on fire, why the
wait ? He said the General did not want to eject and argued about the
position of the command ejection handle in the rear cockpit. The
Major, upholding his duties, wanted it in the Command position ( the
guy in back Command ejects the front.)
But the General outranked him and ordered him to leave it in the OFF
position, thereby making each seat a single-initiated ejection.
The Major was reluctant, but after retrieving the check list and
reading each step of the bold face ejection procedures (SOP for many
engines, many seats, what can you expect ) to each other, the Major
pulled the "D" ring on his seat, leaving his General to fend for
himself.
From my vantage point, this first ejection from the rear cockpit was
textbook. I can still remember it vividly today, as if in slow
motion.
The aft canopy opened and separated cleanly, clearing the tail by a
good 20 feet, then the seat started up the rails. Just as the bottom
of the seat cleared the canopy seal, the rocket motor ignited, burned
for 1.2 seconds and the seat went straight up very stable.
When the rocket stopped, the drogue chute came out, and seat rotated
back 90 degrees eye balls straight up, flat on his back, as he cleared
the tail. Now looking back over my right shoulder, the main C-9
canopy came out and as it started to open/inflate, the seat separated
and kept right on going. Now with the canopy fully open, the pilot
swung back underneath.
The whole thing was as neat as hell, I thought.
But when I looked back to the stricken aircraft, I could not believe
the horror I saw. The front cockpit was totally engulfed in fire.
Only a white dot of the pilot's helmet was visible through the smoke
and flames. He was sitting straight up as before, he wasn't moving,
and seemed totally oblivious to what was happening. It looked like two
huge blow torches were coming up from the rudder pedal wells through
the front cockpit around the pilot and out the now open rear cockpit.
The fire was streaming out and over the back of the Phantom, turning
into a dense black smoke trail that obscured the tail. But the
aircraft flew on undisturbed, not even a burble. The pilot was still
not moving, still seemed unaware, as if he was enjoying the flight.
The whole thing was surreal; almost dream like. How could this be ?
For a moment, I thought he might not be aware of the fire, and I must
" Strobe 01 ! Bail out ! Bail out ! "
I called two or three times more, but still nothing happened. The
wings were level, but now the aircraft started a shallow descent. " My
God ! " I screamed. " What doesn't he eject ? How can he just sit
there? What in the hell is wrong? Then I figured it out. It became
obvious that we were too far away ( route formation ) and he couldn't
hear me.
So I drove the Hun right up next to the burning cockpit and continue
calling, " Strobe 01 ! Bail out ! BAIL OUT ! " this time with more
desperation in my screams. Harland calls, " Oh my God ! Look at it
burn ! "
In desperation, I drive closer, so close that the air pressure between
the two aircraft causes the fiery ball to roll into a 30 degree bank,
turning toward the right. As I pulled away, he rolled back wings
level, now pointed directly at the beach in a slightly steeper
descent.
By this time, the intense heat had charred Strobe's canopy and we
could no longer see the pilot's white helmet. The paint began to
blister and there were a few small explosions that blew some of the
panels loose and sent others flying off ( LOX Dewars and pressure
bottles, I think ). Now, the whole nose was a charcoal mess.
The flames subsided, and dense, thick smoke streamed from the nose
area.
For some strange reason, I just couldn't let go and continued to call
Strobe, nearly begging him to get out. At about 500 feet AGL and still
close on his wing, the old Phantom gave one last dying gasp. It
pitched up a little and then dove straight int o the beach, hitting
about 100 yards feet dry. For some strange reason, I still could not
let go.
Harland screamed, " Damn it Dick ! PULL UP ! " I'll always felt if
it had not been for Harland's stern direction, I would have crashed
right beside him; I would have just followed him in.
I pulled up left and told Waterboy, "Strobe 01 just impacted on the
beach." A few minutes later, Waterboy called and asked if there was
any chance of survival.
My sad reply was " Negative survival, negative survival."
As we turned back feet wet to find the back seater, there was an usual
amount of radio chatter about securing the area - dispatching a
Medivac, etc. It seemed odd - such an intense amount of interest in
this crash site.
We MISTY's have seen a lot of combat crash sites, however once it was
determined there were no survivors, it's instantly written off. A blue
car would be dispatched to a grieving family back in the states, and
that's pretty much the end of it. Although this crash interest level
was way out of the ordinary, Harland and I still had no idea who was
on board, and we wouldn't find out until we returned to Phu Cat.
It was time to concentrate on the back seater. We quickly located him
still in his parachute about five thousand feet above an angry Gulf of
Tonkin. We looked at the sea state and it was rough...real rough. We
noticed a motorized Vietnamese sampan hell-bent and heading straight
for the back seater.
We came around for a closer look and saw three or four people on board
the boat flying the Republic of South Vietnam flag. The sea was rough
and the boat continues to pound forward. Was this good or bad ?
Friendly or bad guy ? Even if they were friendly, they could still
kill the pilot if they did not know what they were doing.
Harland and I decided these signs weren't good ones, so Harland made a
low pass across the boat's bow to encourage him to turn around. We
pulled up, but the boat was not dissuaded in the least and continued
on toward the back seater, who is drifting closer to the water. What
to do now? Hell, I felt we warned 'em, so now we kill 'em.
But at the last minute, we decided to give the boat one final warning
and Harland placed a long burst of 20mm right close across the boat's
bow. This time, as we pulled up and came around, and just as the back
seater hit the water, the threatening boat made a sharp 180 degree
turn and " beat feet " back to the beach. Soon afterward, the Jolly
Green arrived and picked up the downed pilot.
This seemed just another day on the MISTY trail and Harland and I
headed back to the PAC asking Waterboy where Strobe 01 got hit.
Thinking Vengeance, but no one knew exactly where, so we finished our
morning cycle and returned to Phu Cat.
As we taxied in, there was a sea of Colonels waiting.
Before I opened the canopy, I said to Harland, " I don't know what
we've done, but it must have been a major screw up." The first Colonel
up the ladder said in an angry voice, " What are you doing here? You
should have landed at Saigon." Boy, were we confused. The Colonel
continued, " It's about Strobe 01." I said, " Yeah, that was real bad
and, uh, hey, I have a tape of the whole thing."
The Colonel's eyes got real big and he literally grabbed the tape
recorder from my hands.
Harland and I climbed out of the aircraft totally bewildered until it
finally dawned on the Colonel that we had no idea who was on board
Strobe O1. " It was General Bob Worley," and not knowing what to do
with the recorder, he handed it back to me and said, "Get in a Class
'B' Uniform, pack a bag and a Scatback (T-39) will be here in 30
minutes to take you both to Saigon. MACV wants you guys to brief the
Generals. "Oh, Goody," I thought.
On the ride to Saigon, I listened to the tape. Thank God I did,
because there was one real bad thing said that needed to be edited, so
I did a 18 second " Nixon Gap " treat-ment. When we made Saigon, it
seemed every damn General required his own private briefing and wanted
to listen to the tape. These hallowed halls, filled with stars, was
some change of pace for a couple of up country Poug MISTY's.
The real sad thing was the that the pilot was General Bob Worley, a
real, honest to goodness Tactical Fighter Pilot. The rest were, as you
know, a bunch of SAC Pukes. A strong and much needed voice for the
fighter pilot was lost that day. What was doubly sad was it was
Worley's DEROS (last) mission. In Vietnam, one receives double credit
toward an Air Medal for an out-of-country mission. The Major said Bob
really wanted that medal and some special photos. It seems dumb now,
but you had to be there. It seems last mission shoot downs became a
disease that spread so quickly the commanders would not tell the crews
it was their final mission until after they had landed . Seems
everyone wanted the big BDA and fly their final mission in grand
style.
I have often wondered why I kept calling for Strobe 01 to bail out,
and why we stuck so close all the way in not wanting to let go when it
was obvious Bob was dead a few seconds after the back seater ejected.
The psychology of combat...
Dick Rutan
Ken S. Tucker
2006-07-27 18:59:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by W. D. Allen
A really compelling story! Could it have been that with fire under the front
cockpit deck when the rear seater ejected the airflow around the aft cockpit
caused the flames to be sucked up through the front cockpit?
WDA
That sounds very possible, but it doesn't explain
why the General did not eject, that's what I don't
understand. I'm wondering if he was mortally
wounded, but in the report, the Major didn't mention
that he was informed of that by the General.
Something's missing...
Ken
588
2006-07-27 19:13:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by W. D. Allen
A really compelling story! Could it have been that with fire under the front
cockpit deck when the rear seater ejected the airflow around the aft cockpit
caused the flames to be sucked up through the front cockpit?
Clearly so.

A fighter-pilot General he may have been and a significant loss to
that community, but it is worth noting that respect for the
Company-grade basics may have brought him home with his back-seater
instead of incinerating him where he sat. In the cockpit, a little
more thought about what fire does can be far more useful than all
the nicer aspects of Generalship.

I wish I had a copy of Dick Rutan's original unedited tape. ;>


Jack
Moe
2006-07-29 10:53:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by 588
Post by W. D. Allen
A really compelling story! Could it have been that with fire under the front
cockpit deck when the rear seater ejected the airflow around the aft cockpit
caused the flames to be sucked up through the front cockpit?
Clearly so.
A fighter-pilot General he may have been and a significant loss to
that community, but it is worth noting that respect for the
Company-grade basics may have brought him home with his back-seater
instead of incinerating him where he sat. In the cockpit, a little
more thought about what fire does can be far more useful than all
the nicer aspects of Generalship.
I wish I had a copy of Dick Rutan's original unedited tape. ;>
Jack
why would a "fighter pilot General" be debating a point that
was (in terms of task prioritization) largely ridiculously
irrelevant, given the situation at hand ?

"He said the General did not want to eject and argued about the
position of the command ejection handle in the rear cockpit. The
Major, upholding his duties, wanted it in the Command position ( the
guy in back Command ejects the front.)

But the General outranked him and ordered him to leave it in the OFF
position, thereby making each seat a single-initiated ejection".
St. John Smythe
2006-07-29 11:43:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Greasy Rider @ invalid.com
But the General outranked him and ordered him to leave it in the OFF
position, thereby making each seat a single-initiated ejection".
So, in a debate regarding flight safety, who is supposed to have the
last word, the PIC or the ranking officer?
--
St. John
There is no satisfaction in hanging a man who does not object to it
-G. B. Shaw
w***@vic.com
2006-07-29 13:37:15 UTC
Permalink
On Sat, 29 Jul 2006 07:43:57 -0400, "St. John Smythe"
Post by St. John Smythe
Post by Greasy Rider @ invalid.com
But the General outranked him and ordered him to leave it in the OFF
position, thereby making each seat a single-initiated ejection".
So, in a debate regarding flight safety, who is supposed to have the
last word, the PIC or the ranking officer?
IIRC OPNAV 3710 Series says that the Mission Commander has the final
say in operational decisions unless over-ridden by a flag officer or
an officer n tactical command (air wing commander, squadron commander,
etc.). That authority includes the power to over-ride "safety of
flight" questions. If a senior officer over-rides the normal decision
making chain then they assume the responsibility for the outcome (good
or bad).

I presume the Air Force has a similar rule.

It seems to me that the General's decision was flawed; while the
General might always be right he's always the General. The GIB had no
choice but to go along.

To the guys wth F-4 time: The story notes a small fire forward (in
the camera bay?). When the rear canopy separated and an airflow
channel developed, could that blast of high speed air (300kts.+++?)
have created enough of a "blow torch" effect to have
incapacitated/killed the pilot even assuming he had his mask on, visor
down, Nomex properly secured, etc.?


Bill Kambic
Haras Lucero, Kingston, TN
Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão
w***@vic.com
2006-07-29 13:43:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by w***@vic.com
It seems to me that the General's decision was flawed; while the
General might always be right he's always the General.
Oops. That should read, "might not always be right..."
Bill Kambic
Haras Lucero, Kingston, TN
Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão
588
2006-07-29 13:41:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by St. John Smythe
Post by Greasy Rider @ invalid.com
But the General outranked him and ordered him to leave it in the OFF
position, thereby making each seat a single-initiated ejection".
So, in a debate regarding flight safety, who is supposed to have the
last word, the PIC or the ranking officer?
Yes.

Seriously, unless the "seeing eye Major" was an IP, the General was
probably both ranking officer and PIC. But Generals get a lot of
deference, either way.


Jack
Gord Beaman
2006-07-29 15:30:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by St. John Smythe
Post by Greasy Rider @ invalid.com
But the General outranked him and ordered him to leave it in the OFF
position, thereby making each seat a single-initiated ejection".
So, in a debate regarding flight safety, who is supposed to have the
last word, the PIC or the ranking officer?
Yes.
Great answer Jack, you shudda stopped there!... :)

STM, if it had been me, I'd have selected 'command' then if any
flak had developed I'd have said <shrug> "Dunno...I selected off"
--
-Gord.
(use gordon in email)
Ed Rasimus
2006-07-29 16:14:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gord Beaman
Post by St. John Smythe
Post by Greasy Rider @ invalid.com
But the General outranked him and ordered him to leave it in the OFF
position, thereby making each seat a single-initiated ejection".
So, in a debate regarding flight safety, who is supposed to have the
last word, the PIC or the ranking officer?
Yes.
Great answer Jack, you shudda stopped there!... :)
STM, if it had been me, I'd have selected 'command' then if any
flak had developed I'd have said <shrug> "Dunno...I selected off"
In the AF, the "aircraft commander" is the decision maker. That would
be the front-seater in an F-4. This changes if the other crew-member
is an instructor pilot ACTING IN THE IP ROLE. AF regulations have long
specified that a GO must be accompanied by an IP in a two-place
airplane. Dunno if there was an IP on the flight in this instance.
I've played IP to GOs in the F-4 and there was no doubt in my mind who
was in charge and I made it clear to the GO during pre-flight
briefing.

That being said, the command-selector valve in the R/C/P was installed
to provide an option for just this situation. In normal operation, if
the F/C/P initiated ejection it would by default be a dual sequenced
ejection with the R/C/P going first and the front seat following
three-tenths of a second later. This deconflicts the seats and keeps
the back cockpit safe from rocket burns.

If the rear seat initiated a normal ejection, the rear only would go.
With the Command Selector Valve installed (this was a TCTO mod), when
rotated 90 degrees, it allowed for dual sequenced ejection to be
initiated from the rear also. The idea was with the front seater
incapacitated or unable to initiate the ejection, the GIB could get
both out.

My briefing was always for the GIB to leave the valve in normal
position as I didn't want to be surprised by him determining we needed
to eject for some reason. I would only allow the CSV to be rotated at
the time I determined a necessity to do so, such as in an in-flight
emergency where I believed there would be a high-probability of
needing that option. I specifically told the GIB that if he ever
rotated the handle without my express orders and I found out about it
I would kill him--slowly and painfully.

In this situation, I'm pretty sure I would have initiated the ejection
from the front or directed rotation of the handle in case things
deteriorated faster than I could control. The possibility of ejection
causing flash fire into the remaining cockpit was pretty well known.

As it was, in my experience flying the F-4 for about 1600 hours, I
never had cause to tell the GIB to rotate the handle. Other folks
would brief that they wanted the handle rotated at all times. Some
would rotate only for T/O and landings.

Different strokes.

Ed Rasimus
Fighter Pilot (USAF-Ret)
"When Thunder Rolled"
www.thunderchief.org
www.thundertales.blogspot.com
588
2006-07-29 13:01:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Moe
why would a "fighter pilot General" be debating a point that
was (in terms of task prioritization) largely ridiculously
irrelevant, given the situation at hand ?
Ask the General when you meet him.

What did he know? What was his condition? Without a record of the
conversation between the cockpits of Strobe 01, we'll never even
have a clue in this life.

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3897/is_200202/ai_n9030914


Jack
Gord Beaman
2006-07-28 18:53:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by W. D. Allen
A really compelling story! Could it have been that with fire under the front
cockpit deck when the rear seater ejected the airflow around the aft cockpit
caused the flames to be sucked up through the front cockpit?
WDA
That's what it sounds like to me too.

This is an interesting story but there's something which I don't
follow, perhaps some of you who are more familiar with fighters
could comment.
Post by W. D. Allen
My God ! " I screamed. " What doesn't he eject ? How can he just sit
there? What in the hell is wrong? Then I figured it out. It became
obvious that we were too far away ( route formation ) and he couldn't
hear me.
So I drove the Hun right up next to the burning cockpit and continue
calling, " Strobe 01 ! Bail out ! BAIL OUT ! " this time with more
desperation in my screams. Harland calls, " Oh my God ! Look at it
burn ! "
In desperation, I drive closer, so close that the air pressure between
the two aircraft causes the fiery ball to roll into a 30 degree bank,
turning toward the right. As I pulled away, he rolled back wings
level, now pointed directly at the beach in a slightly steeper
descent.
While I know very little about fighter a/c I know a lot about
VHF/UHF radios used in aircraft and I cannot imagine how this
could happen...
--
-Gord.
(use gordon in email)
Dale
2006-07-28 21:33:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gord Beaman
Post by W. D. Allen
A really compelling story! Could it have been that with fire under the front
cockpit deck when the rear seater ejected the airflow around the aft cockpit
caused the flames to be sucked up through the front cockpit?
WDA
That's what it sounds like to me too.
This is an interesting story but there's something which I don't
follow, perhaps some of you who are more familiar with fighters
could comment.
Post by W. D. Allen
My God ! " I screamed. " What doesn't he eject ? How can he just sit
there? What in the hell is wrong? Then I figured it out. It became
obvious that we were too far away ( route formation ) and he couldn't
hear me.
So I drove the Hun right up next to the burning cockpit and continue
calling, " Strobe 01 ! Bail out ! BAIL OUT ! " this time with more
desperation in my screams. Harland calls, " Oh my God ! Look at it
burn ! "
In desperation, I drive closer, so close that the air pressure between
the two aircraft causes the fiery ball to roll into a 30 degree bank,
turning toward the right. As I pulled away, he rolled back wings
level, now pointed directly at the beach in a slightly steeper
descent.
While I know very little about fighter a/c I know a lot about
VHF/UHF radios used in aircraft and I cannot imagine how this
could happen...
If you mean the statement: "were too far away (route formation) and he
couldn't hear me." I understood that as just what he was thinking at
the time under the pressure of the incident.

I was once responding to an aircraft that had spun in and was burning.
The ground controller kept saying to the responding crash unit, "Hurry
Ramp Captain, hurry!" even though all of us were going as fast as we
reasonably could. It was probably very frustrating to watch what you
know is someones death and be powerless to do anything about it.
Gord Beaman
2006-07-29 01:19:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dale
Post by Gord Beaman
Post by W. D. Allen
A really compelling story! Could it have been that with fire under the front
cockpit deck when the rear seater ejected the airflow around the aft cockpit
caused the flames to be sucked up through the front cockpit?
WDA
That's what it sounds like to me too.
This is an interesting story but there's something which I don't
follow, perhaps some of you who are more familiar with fighters
could comment.
Post by W. D. Allen
My God ! " I screamed. " What doesn't he eject ? How can he just sit
there? What in the hell is wrong? Then I figured it out. It became
obvious that we were too far away ( route formation ) and he couldn't
hear me.
So I drove the Hun right up next to the burning cockpit and continue
calling, " Strobe 01 ! Bail out ! BAIL OUT ! " this time with more
desperation in my screams. Harland calls, " Oh my God ! Look at it
burn ! "
In desperation, I drive closer, so close that the air pressure between
the two aircraft causes the fiery ball to roll into a 30 degree bank,
turning toward the right. As I pulled away, he rolled back wings
level, now pointed directly at the beach in a slightly steeper
descent.
While I know very little about fighter a/c I know a lot about
VHF/UHF radios used in aircraft and I cannot imagine how this
could happen...
If you mean the statement: "were too far away (route formation) and he
couldn't hear me." I understood that as just what he was thinking at
the time under the pressure of the incident.
I was once responding to an aircraft that had spun in and was burning.
The ground controller kept saying to the responding crash unit, "Hurry
Ramp Captain, hurry!" even though all of us were going as fast as we
reasonably could. It was probably very frustrating to watch what you
know is someones death and be powerless to do anything about it.
Yes, I guess stress can do strange things to a person's common
sense.
--
-Gord.
(use gordon in email)
Dave in San Diego
2006-07-29 08:58:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gord Beaman
Post by W. D. Allen
A really compelling story! Could it have been that with fire under the
front cockpit deck when the rear seater ejected the airflow around the
aft cockpit caused the flames to be sucked up through the front cockpit?
WDA
That's what it sounds like to me too.
This is an interesting story but there's something which I don't
follow, perhaps some of you who are more familiar with fighters
could comment.
Post by W. D. Allen
My God ! " I screamed. " What doesn't he eject ? How can he just sit
there? What in the hell is wrong? Then I figured it out. It became
obvious that we were too far away ( route formation ) and he couldn't
hear me.
So I drove the Hun right up next to the burning cockpit and continue
calling, " Strobe 01 ! Bail out ! BAIL OUT ! " this time with more
desperation in my screams. Harland calls, " Oh my God ! Look at it
burn ! "
In desperation, I drive closer, so close that the air pressure between
the two aircraft causes the fiery ball to roll into a 30 degree bank,
turning toward the right. As I pulled away, he rolled back wings
level, now pointed directly at the beach in a slightly steeper
descent.
While I know very little about fighter a/c I know a lot about
VHF/UHF radios used in aircraft and I cannot imagine how this
could happen...
Distance means little when there is no radio to receive what is being
transmitted. The UHF radio in the F-4 resided under the back seat,
requiring removal of the seat bucket (and included rocket motor) for
maintenance, making it a huge PITA for the tweets and AMEs. Ejection
essentially kills the radio.

Dave in San Diego
AT1 USN (Ret)
Got to help change a radio one day
Gord Beaman
2006-07-29 15:39:31 UTC
Permalink
Dave in San Diego <***@nospamcox.net> wrote:
cut
Post by Dave in San Diego
Distance means little when there is no radio to receive what is being
transmitted. The UHF radio in the F-4 resided under the back seat,
requiring removal of the seat bucket (and included rocket motor) for
maintenance, making it a huge PITA for the tweets and AMEs. Ejection
essentially kills the radio.
Dave in San Diego
Of course but that wasn't the point, he seemed to think that he
'was too far away' at, what a couple hundred feet at most? and
that getting closer would help when of course it wouldn't make
the slightest difference at all...but, as someone said, stress
does odd things to one's common sense.
--
-Gord.
(use gordon in email)
Tex Houston
2006-07-27 20:36:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Greasy Rider @ invalid.com
Vietnam Combat Story by Dick Rutan
The only USAF General Officer to die during the Vietnam conflict did
so not thirty feet from my cockpit. It was an absolutely horrific
experience.
While I still admire and respect Dick Rutan his opening paragraph in this
story always bothered me. It was not true at the time and still gets
repeated as absolute fact. Major General William Joseph Crumm was killed in
a mid-air collision on 7 July 1967. The incident Dick writes about occurred
a year later.

Regards,

Tex Houston
Peter Twydell
2006-07-27 22:02:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tex Houston
Post by Greasy Rider @ invalid.com
Vietnam Combat Story by Dick Rutan
The only USAF General Officer to die during the Vietnam conflict did
so not thirty feet from my cockpit. It was an absolutely horrific
experience.
While I still admire and respect Dick Rutan his opening paragraph in this
story always bothered me. It was not true at the time and still gets
repeated as absolute fact. Major General William Joseph Crumm was killed in
a mid-air collision on 7 July 1967. The incident Dick writes about occurred
a year later.
Regards,
Tex Houston
AIUI it's not Rutan's personal story. It says at the beginning 'this
from an AF pilot who was a Misty 100 driver based at Phu Cat with
Rutan'.
--
Peter

Ying tong iddle-i po!
Dave Deep
2006-07-28 15:25:05 UTC
Permalink
This is a direct quote from the Arlington National Cemetary website and the
link to the entire entry.

He was serving as commander of the 3rd Division of the Strategic Air Command
when he was killed on July 25, 1967 in the collision of two B-52 bombers
over the South China Sea. They were on their way to a bombing mission over
Vietnam at the time.

His body was not recovered and a memorial headstone is in Section G of
Arlington National Cemetery.

http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/wjcrumm.htm



DD
Post by Tex Houston
Post by Greasy Rider @ invalid.com
Vietnam Combat Story by Dick Rutan
The only USAF General Officer to die during the Vietnam conflict did
so not thirty feet from my cockpit. It was an absolutely horrific
experience.
While I still admire and respect Dick Rutan his opening paragraph in this
story always bothered me. It was not true at the time and still gets
repeated as absolute fact. Major General William Joseph Crumm was killed in
a mid-air collision on 7 July 1967. The incident Dick writes about occurred
a year later.
Regards,
Tex Houston
AIUI it's not Rutan's personal story. It says at the beginning 'this from
an AF pilot who was a Misty 100 driver based at Phu Cat with Rutan'.
--
Peter
Ying tong iddle-i po!
Ed Rasimus
2006-07-28 15:53:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Deep
This is a direct quote from the Arlington National Cemetary website and the
link to the entire entry.
He was serving as commander of the 3rd Division of the Strategic Air Command
when he was killed on July 25, 1967 in the collision of two B-52 bombers
over the South China Sea. They were on their way to a bombing mission over
Vietnam at the time.
His body was not recovered and a memorial headstone is in Section G of
Arlington National Cemetery.
http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/wjcrumm.htm
DD
Well, maybe to count as a death in Vietnam combat you actually had to
get there first! I know that's a nit-pick, but it is certainly a
consideration.

I'm pretty sure that the account is a first-person perspective from
Dick. He was a Misty and was certainly there at the time. Will have to
ask him next year at River Rats--he's a regular attendee.

As is Don Hartnett who was on one of those BUFFs, survived the mid-air
and was rescued by an SA-16 from the S. China Sea, only to have the
Albatross crash on takeoff, requiring another rescue. Don survived
that one as well and then went on to become an F-105 Wild Weasel Bear.
Gotta say he's a glutton for punishment. He makes it to the reunion
every year.


Ed Rasimus
Fighter Pilot (USAF-Ret)
"When Thunder Rolled"
www.thunderchief.org
www.thundertales.blogspot.com
Ed Rasimus
2006-07-28 17:13:14 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, 28 Jul 2006 15:53:39 GMT, Ed Rasimus
Post by Ed Rasimus
As is Don Hartnett who was on one of those BUFFs,
Harten. That was Don Harten. They say the memory is the second thing
to go...forgot what's first.

Ed Rasimus
Fighter Pilot (USAF-Ret)
"When Thunder Rolled"
www.thunderchief.org
www.thundertales.blogspot.com
Ken S. Tucker
2006-07-28 17:56:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ed Rasimus
On Fri, 28 Jul 2006 15:53:39 GMT, Ed Rasimus
Post by Ed Rasimus
As is Don Hartnett who was on one of those BUFFs,
Harten. That was Don Harten. They say the memory is the second thing
to go...forgot what's first.
Ed Rasimus
IIRC forgetfulness is a good way to not remember
things like anniversary's etc.
The two accounts emerging about the General's
death are different, would the OP's account of
D. Rutans statement be a fabrication?
I'm a bit confused.
Ken
Post by Ed Rasimus
Fighter Pilot (USAF-Ret)
"When Thunder Rolled"
www.thunderchief.org
www.thundertales.blogspot.com
Tex Houston
2006-07-28 18:13:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ken S. Tucker
Post by Ed Rasimus
On Fri, 28 Jul 2006 15:53:39 GMT, Ed Rasimus
Post by Ed Rasimus
As is Don Hartnett who was on one of those BUFFs,
Harten. That was Don Harten. They say the memory is the second thing
to go...forgot what's first.
Ed Rasimus
IIRC forgetfulness is a good way to not remember
things like anniversary's etc.
The two accounts emerging about the General's
death are different, would the OP's account of
D. Rutans statement be a fabrication?
I'm a bit confused.
Ken
Post by Ed Rasimus
Fighter Pilot (USAF-Ret)
Ken,

Two different incidents. Notice the difference in names?

July 7, 1967 MajGen William J. Crumm (KIA)

July 23, 1968 MajGen Robert Worley (KIA)

Regards,

Tex Houston
Ken S. Tucker
2006-07-29 17:22:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tex Houston
Post by Ken S. Tucker
Post by Ed Rasimus
On Fri, 28 Jul 2006 15:53:39 GMT, Ed Rasimus
Post by Ed Rasimus
As is Don Hartnett who was on one of those BUFFs,
Harten. That was Don Harten. They say the memory is the second thing
to go...forgot what's first.
Ed Rasimus
IIRC forgetfulness is a good way to not remember
things like anniversary's etc.
The two accounts emerging about the General's
death are different, would the OP's account of
D. Rutans statement be a fabrication?
I'm a bit confused.
Ken
Post by Ed Rasimus
Fighter Pilot (USAF-Ret)
Ken,
Two different incidents. Notice the difference in names?
July 7, 1967 MajGen William J. Crumm (KIA)
July 23, 1968 MajGen Robert Worley (KIA)
Regards,
Tex Houston
Thanks Mr. Houston, I owe ya one!
I see that now...
http://members.aol.com/warlibrary/vwc4.htm
Regards
Ken

Tex Houston
2006-07-28 17:21:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ed Rasimus
Well, maybe to count as a death in Vietnam combat you actually had to
get there first! I know that's a nit-pick, but it is certainly a
consideration.
I'm pretty sure that the account is a first-person perspective from
Dick. He was a Misty and was certainly there at the time. Will have to
ask him next year at River Rats--he's a regular attendee.
As is Don Hartnett who was on one of those BUFFs, survived the mid-air
and was rescued by an SA-16 from the S. China Sea, only to have the
Albatross crash on takeoff, requiring another rescue. Don survived
that one as well and then went on to become an F-105 Wild Weasel Bear.
Gotta say he's a glutton for punishment. He makes it to the reunion
every year.
Ed Rasimus
Ed,

It's Don Harten (Kenneth D.) and I was at Takhli with him where he was an
F-105 strike pilot. Later he went back to Takhli as a pilot in F-111s.

I'm sure Dick, whom I met why he was planning the Voyager project, wrote the
account (It is also in "Misty") not knowing about the earlier death. It
just bothered me that it wasn't true. I admire both Dick and Don.

Regards,

Tex Houston
Rolf T. Kappe
2006-07-29 05:34:18 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, 28 Jul 2006 11:21:07 -0600, "Tex Houston"
Post by Tex Houston
I'm sure Dick, whom I met why he was planning the Voyager project, wrote the
account (It is also in "Misty") not knowing about the earlier death. It
just bothered me that it wasn't true. I admire both Dick and Don.
It is also in "Bury Us Upside Down", the new book by Don Sheppard and
Rick Newman. The RF-4C callsign is Strobe 10 in that version. There
is no mention of it being the only/first General to die in Vietnam.

--Rolf
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