Run 1225

Sunday 28 September 2014

Rowney Warren, 'Nam

Hares: Shagpile and Underlay


Any Birthdays?

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Pussies interrogates Newbee

Former Lt Byfrod water tortured while ...

"Hot-Diggity Dawg!". The voice of Chucky 'Wam-bam-thank-you-mam' Dominczy, the WSO1 behind me, was excited over the aircraft intercom. "We sure fried them gooks good, Shagpile!" he continued. I pulled back on the stick, and the F-4 Phantom responded under me and rose to clear the ridge by a few feet. Banking Hard [who he ..ed], I could see to my left the spirals of black smoke and roaring flames where our bombs had hit. "Charlie's getting hot under his collar, fer sure" I replied.

We were on a mission to destroy a reported NVA2 base camp in the A Shau Valley near the Laotian border with Vietnam. We had just hit the target with two napalm cookies. The job was done and now it was time to head back to our base for a shower, steak and ice-cream. The A Shau Valley was heavily defended by the NVA and VC3 and several of our 'fast-movers' had been lost recently to 50 cals4 and even hand-held Soviet-designed missiles. We were not home yet, but the tension was dropping from me like the leaves of a VC tree after an agent orange dousing.

And then it happened. Something in my peripheral vision caused my head to snap round, and before the words 'missile launch' could be formed, we were hit. The mighty F4 lurched sideways, smoke began to fill the cockpit and I could hardly see the dials. We were low and there was no time to think too much. The training kicked in. "Eject! Eject!" I screamed. Leaning back hard into the seat, I reached up and pulled the ejection handle with all my might. Just moments later, my ears ringing and eyes bulging, I was swinging under the parachute with just seconds away from crashing into the ground. Staggering to my feet, I heard the boom of an explosion across the valley. The Phantom had crashed, and there was no sign of my WSO. It looked like Chucky had bought the farm, and he wouldn't be coming back, and now knows that dying can be such a bitch. So me [sic], Lieutenant Ricky 'Shagpile' Byfrod III was on my lonesome, with maybe a thousand gooks for company. Time to do some 'E and E5'.

It wouldn't be long before Mister Charles was on my trail. They'd have seem me eject and even now would be heading my way, probably with dogs and expert trackers. I reached down to check my .45 was still in it's holster on my leg and set off at a shambling trot. The grass was dry and yellow in the clearing, and waist high. I needed to get to the cover of the forest and get as much distance as I could away from my pursuers before going to ground. Maybe then I could use my survival radio and call for a dustoff6.

I'd not gone any distance at all, when I heard faint calls coming from behind me. 'Onnn Onnnn!' It was the enemy and they were getting closer. Then I heard excited cries and howls of dogs......

Is it me, or are troops getting younger?...

... It's me

Ringer disagrees with highest award for bravery on the chase

....Leroy whips out his Uke10

Time for me to 'di di mau7' as fast as my legs would carry me. Panting hard, I staggered up a ridge while glancing behind. No sign of any gooks but I could now hear voices. 'Annnn won', 'oskaaar', 'carmon pongo', 'Arrrrn ta ah chek', 'daaarnt follo shuffle, he nah gud'. It would not help me if I knew more of the dink language, but whatever they were saying, I understood they had my track as clear as if I had laid a trail with cheap flour. Things were looking 'sau-lam!8'

My only chance to avoid capture was to hide in the undergrowth and hope those dogs were not interested in Uncle Sam meat. Swiftly I applied cammo cream to my face and stuck foliage into my hat. Maybe I would get lucky and they'd walk on by. Lying there amongst the leaves, my heart beat so fast I was sure it could be heard, The sweat ran down my face and I fearfully peered between the foliage. Suddenly from close by came the blast of a bugle! Psychological warfare! They were trying to spook me into breaking cover. Again the deafening cacophonous noise of the bugle! If only they would play a tune! It was all too much. I broke cover. The game was up and I knew I would be shown no mercy. I could expect to be encircled and subject to out-of-tune singing; they would ridicule my parentage, and if I had not broken by then, no doubt the final ignominy; water torture delivered by small girls!

On On

Shagpile & Underlay

1. Weapon Systems Officer
2. North Vietnam Army
3. Viet Cong
4. 50 calibre machine gun
5. Escape and Evasion
6. Rescue helicopter
7. Move quickly
8. Not good
9. VC called US pilots the old women because they were always talking to ground commanders and telling them what they saw
10. Operation Yew Tree aware

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