FYI 50ft from Destin to Navare
Here it is again
The USS Nimitz story the short and truth of it --- exercise CRISIX 79
Omar -- Bennie F. were having dinner with the F-4 (50th TFS) CC. The bet was who would find the Nimitz first. The mighty F-4 or a beat up old Talon -- we all know this is no contest. The problem was -- how to prove it!
22 Nov 79 0300 hrs Crew 2 Brief time -- Stevie B informed us that Omar called and said we were to "find the Nimitz and drop 7 rolls of toilet paper (later called AF form 1) abeam her amidships to prove you were there." Now where in the #### do you find 7 rolls of TP in a fighter squadron at 0300 in the morning? -- raid the woman's john! Our schedule -- to route survey and two periods of ECM work with the Nimitz. Note: Bates & crew 3 would be out looking also that afternoon.
Scheduled ECM period one -- we show up at the designated place on time -- no Nimitz just the battle group! We break off and start looking -- flying low with just TA a looking -- like in Joe's song.
Art starts scanning picks up the UHF freq that the F14's are using recovering to the Nimitz. We hustle up to LED 79 in the northern Med. flying low and slow keeping oil tanker & rigs between us and the Nimitz.
Scheduled ECM period 2 -- we arrive on time at a un-briefed place -- the Navy lies! Art reports no radar's looking for us -- we call our trusted agent on the Nimitz. Request flyby over the deck with an active ECM run -- clearance for Chaff. Told to standby until recovery of Tomcats are completed. We turn all emitters off and get real low (50 feet) and slow (120 KIAS) -- trying to look like a Helo going from oil tankers to the oilrigs.
15 min into our time we get clearance for our active ECM run and flyby over the deck. We make our run still low now going fast for us (50/250) back door open. Art reports emitters in low -- they are not picking us up! We pop up over the back of the ship eyeball to eyeball with the conning tower. Art reports everything locked on -- Green light -- 7 AF form 1's away -- break left Chaff, Chaff, Chaff!!!!
On UHF guard -- "black C130 that overflew the USS Nimitz come up freq XXX." We don't answer -- Art reports all radar's and trackers down. Two more times the Nimitz calls -- finally I have Ski answer. We were informed that they didn't appreciate trash and garbage being dumped on the flight deck. We replied "bombs away" and headed back base.
Back at the barn the fighter community (O6's and above) wanted the entire crew hung out to dry. When 11 of us showed up at Wing HQ for our castration the O6's didn't know what to do. Bottom line they boiled it down to a front seater and a back seater -- a pilot and an EWO. Art, Omar and I get our rights read to us IAW with the UCMJ -- Art and I look at Omar and ask "want us to just say we weren't there?" -- standard SOF answer. Much mashing of teeth from O6's -- they can't figure out what to do with us so we were dismissed.
Big party at O-Club that night -- much land sharking -- many beers and gin.
23 Nov 79 0800 hrs -- Papa Joe shows up in my room with a case of Pilsner followed closely by Omar -- we have been ordered to get out of Spain by noon. Our penitence -- no more fun for us! We get to go back to Germany for a month with nothing to do. The entire squadron was deployed to Spain!
Walter K writes to the 17th AF CC -- just be glad they were not representing the 7575th Ops Group! Later I get to meet CINC USAFE (the 4 star) with Omar & Bennie -- I get "a letter" and downgraded to Copilot. Omar & Bennie get to drink beer with the CINC and I get to drive them back to Rhine Main.
That's the truth -- I swear. If I tell ya anymore I will have to Kill Ya -- cut your head off and lock it in a safe!!!!!!
I validate my part ... the early morning direction relayed from Omar through me to the crew.
And a phone call from the 16AF Commander VERY SHORTLY after the event which informed me that I had best have a copy of the UCMJ handy for myself, my commander and the crew...
" Pilot, EWO, LOCK-ON, BREAK, BREAK, BREAK!!! " (( ))
Yes Skip, that is a pretty accurate account. There are however, some details concerning the 0-6/0-5, 0-6/0-6, 0-10/0-8s,0-8/0-8, 0-8/0-5 conversations which are even more interesting. Does "fire hydrant between two big pissing dogs" ring a bell?
One of the ironies was that none of the 16th AF weenies had UCMJ "rights" card, so we used mine. After congratulating the crew, what I told them was "Nobody says a word. I will do the talking." Since I had signed the EX ORD, I knew the ROEs.
Bennie and I were called to the 16th AF JAG office even before the crew returned from the mission. I informed them I would update them after debriefing the crew. When we returned to the AFSOB, Bennie closed the door, and said "Bradley, you got us into this, now get us out!" So, Ron Jones stayed in Spain, Skip and I returned in the dark of night to Germany, and I went to England for a Flintlock Planning Conference the next day.
Our later appearances at HQ USAFE and 17th AF were "Interesting" and at times humorous. Not the time spent standing in a brace though.
History proved us RIGHT and RIGHT ON TARGET. Two asides:
1. Casteel did the same overflight the next morning without the "garbage and trash" drops.
2. After my Change of Command Ceremony, Gen. Druen told me "Tom, don't ever stop dropping toilet paper"
Now you know most of the "rest of the story"
Wait a second, everyone needs to hear it from the "sweaties" side.......of course we were given orders, so we HAD to obey them, right?
As this story got started before.....
There we were, (with Larry Beattie, Harvey Long, and myself) sitting on the cargo ramp of a Talon one early morning, Skip at the controls......Maybe I should start back at the crew brief huh?
We're sitting in the crew brief and Omar walks in (obviously from the O-Club) and the conversation went like this: "Beattie, Fowler, go find seven rolls of toilet paper!" We just looked at each other and asked "What for?" "Just go get seven rolls!!" "Yes Sir!" Well, Larry and I hit every Men's Room and Lady's Room until we found seven rolls and returned to the briefing where Omar briefed us on the "bet" made that night at dinner and later over drinks where Omar stayed and held up the 7th SOS' honor. We'd find the Nimitz first, they wouldn't know we were there, and we'd leave them notice.
After getting to our mighty Blackbird, we put together our plan for the delivery of the seven rolls of AF Form 1. After takeoff, heading out over the Med, we opened the ramp and door with Larry Beattie, Harvey Long, and my self (with Skip's camera around my neck that he had given me earlier to "document" the event) sitting there hanging our legs over the end of the ramp - What a great site, sitting on the ramp, flying over the Med Sea...........oh, back to the story.
Anyway, Skip asked the Navs if we were at the right rendezvous points because there was no site of the Nimitz. Being Talon Navs, they took offense and said, "Of course we're there!" Skip's response - "Ok, they lied to us, let's go find them", and down on the deck we went - the scenery got even better from the back end.
We finally start seeing a boat wake and it starts getting bigger and bigger - it had to be the Nimitz. Like Skip said, after getting clearance from our "trusted agent" on the Nimitz, we got up to our 50-ft /250 KIAS across the water - that water spray felt good...........
Art kept telling us they were in search, but couldn't lock on and kept them off of us playing with his "pinball machine". Next thing we hear is the Navs calling out "10-seconds" followed by our standard response, "Load's Hot!!" - "Green Light!!"
Larry, Harvey, and I heaved the AF Form 1's at the Nimitz and I started shooting pictures as fast I could as we heard the call, "Break left, Chaff, Chaff, Chaff!!" What a great sight...
Then the radio calls started coming in........####, I think they were more pissed that they didn't see us and we just defeated the Navy's biggest and baddest aircraft carrier.
Ski sent out the radio call and the crew headed back congratulating each other, but knowing that we were probably going to have to face the music. But hey...it was a bet right? And we showed them just how good the Talons were. We were where? Did what? That wasn't our Herk…oh, it was Black
Like Skip said, the fighter jocks wanted all of our butts, but hey, those guys never could get a good lock on during fighter intercepts anyway! Lots of beer did flow that night and the land sharks were on the prowl.
The next day, Skip, Omar disappeared - hey, we were just enlisted..."sweaties"...what could they do to us. Well, if I remember right, we were "administratively downgraded".
What a great mission...and hey, who else can say they defeated and bombed the Nimitz!?
And those pictures I took for Skip...they "disappeared" out from under the Plexiglas on Skip's desk in Stan/Eval years later. Anyone now where they might be? I'm sure Skip and our Crew 2 would like them back...then we'll shoot you!
Hey...what about the reindeer story? - Hey, that wasn't us, really...just another event in the 7th SOS archives