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  #81  
Unread February 19th, 2010, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kingfish View Post
What?!?!? No Pics ?!?!?

Just kidding - great story.
Yeah, that KC-10 went by too fast for a photo! As I dust-off my DS memories I realize that I should have been taking three times as many photos as I did. I got my film developed at the Army BX in Riyadh during DS and I should have bought all the 35mm film they had in stock.
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  #82  
Unread February 19th, 2010, 02:18 PM
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Thanks for the turkey shot.
Dan
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  #83  
Unread February 21st, 2010, 12:58 AM
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great collection Bill

Thanks heaps for sharing them with us.
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  #84  
Unread February 22nd, 2010, 12:08 AM
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These photos were taken on the last mission of our Gulf War deployment, March 8th, 1991. We took off at 0432 local and headed west to refuel two pairs of F-15Cs from the 58th TFS. The first pair came in, gassed, hung-out a while, gassed again and left for their CAP. Here's one of the early morning boys, in 85-106, taken by my boom operator:



Later in the morning two more 58th birds arrived and gassed. While the #2 was on the boom, the leader hung-out just off our right wing and a little high:



Then #2 joined and hung-out for a minute:



As I bent around and took photos through my aft side window and the pilot said, "Hey, are you taking pictures?" I said, "Yeah, been doing this the whole war." He says, "Can we get some pictures of us, I'll put the jet wherever you want it." Oh man, what an invitation! I tell him to pull up abeam and have his wingman stack-up so I can get his jet too. The wingman pulls up and stacks a little high and I click off some more photos:





Then a zoom-in shot of the jock and the kill flags:



The flight lead, who I later learned was Captain Rhory Draeger, was just great and posed the element as I requested. "How about out front a little?" "Roger!"





My boom operator, also with 35mm in hand, calls on A/R Primary (refueling freq) for them to come back to the boom pod so he can take some pics and Draeger and his wingman (Tony Schiavi, I am pretty certain) ease back there for him to get some shots:



Draeger coming in for a top-off:



Another shot of Draeger, up close and personal and slightly over-exposed:



Once we had shot our photos Draeger said it was time they got back to their CAP. As was usual in such situations I asked for a little show (afterburner) on their way out. Draeger replied, "Okay, let me know when you're ready." They were behind us just after topping-off one last time and I said, "Okay, we're ready." We had begun a left turn in our orbit and I had expected him to come up past our right wing, camera ready, but as we were turning I notice, suddenly, that Draeger was coming up under our right wing and very close to our #3 and #4 engines! I was so startled that I couldn't speak and he was too close for a decent photo. I just pushed my face into my side window and he absloutely stunned me as he went past us right below my window. I could see him looking up at me and as he went by I could see his hands on the stick and throttles and his eyes as he watched his clearance from us. HOLY SHIT. The noise was incredible--full blower less than 50 feet away--and he popped-up right in front of our windscreen and I QUICKLY took this photo:



Just as I snapped this one we were in his wake turbulence and it was dramatic but brief. Something like +3/-3 G. WHAM-BAM and then smooth air once again. I quickly looked aft for #2 and here he came, not quite as aggressive as Draeger had but still damn close and BOOM, they were gone out in front and climbing steeply. #2's wake just tickled our right wingtip and I said, "THANKS GUYS THAT WAS GREAT!!!" Well, now comes the rest of the story.

My assigned aircraft comander, Dave, was sleeping on the cargo floor among our chem-gear bags during all this and our home-base squadron commander, a LtCol, was flying the jet! Here we were assing-off with the Eagle boys and THIS happens. I just hadn't thought Draeger would hammer us with wake that way as he departed. Uh-oh, cat's out of the bag--we've been assing-off the whole war and now our boss knows. Just as I made that final thank-you radio transmission I elatedly say cross-cockpit, "Man those dudes were close!" My squadron commander says, "Yeah, well those 'dudes' just flamed-out our #3 and 4 engines!" Huh??? I look down to see the EGTs going ape and then recover and stabilize. Draeger's wake turbulence had severely disturbed the airflow through 3 and 4 and they were still recovering ten seconds later. They didn't compressor-stall but it was still a little more than we expected. Then it got quiet. I think to myself, "Shit, I hope we're not in trouble for dicking-around with cameras, etc." Just then, Dave staggers into the cockpit, white as a sheet, and my navigator just cracks up. We had forgotten about poor Dave! Dave had awoke to the ROAR of the Eagles and then when the wake-turbulence slammed us he thought we had been hit by a SAM. He had flown up off the floor, hovered for a nano-second, and then slammed-down hard on the plywood flooring and the chem-bags came down upon him. He then scrambled around to find a cargo tie-down loop (attached to the floor) to grab onto as his heart pounded and the reptilian part of his brain said "I'M DEAD!!! AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!" Anyway, I turn around to see what Mike the nav is cracking-up about and there's back-from-the-dead-Dave and I crack-up too. Pretty soon we're all laughing and the tension is broken. Oh, and while Draeger was coming up underneath us my boom operator was running at full gallop up front from the boom pod to see the departure show and he just made it to the cockpit as Draeger boomed us. Dave actually had begun to awake as our boom clomped past at full steam so that added to his fear that we were doomed.

We RTBd and ground-refueled the jet and re-cocked it for instant take-off should the need arise--standard ops during the war. The four of us stood under the left wing wringing our hands and fearing the worst from our boss. Our squadron commander finally walked over and right up to me--oh shit, here he comes. "So Bill, did you get a shot of that guy?" "Yes sir, and I think it's gonna' be a beauty." He smiled and said, "I'd like to see it when you get it developed." "Yes sir!" And that was that.

We went into ops and someone told my AC Dave that there was a call for him. He took it and came back several minutes later. It was the F-15 leader and he had given Dave his contact information back at Eglin. The name was Rhory Draeger and I am almost certain the wingman's name was Tony Schiavi. I kept the yellow-sticky for future use. Well, I never got to sending them copies of their photos. We flew home that week and I got busy and kept forgetting to send photos down to Draeger at Eglin. We all pretty much forgot about the war as we went about our lives. Several years ago I finally had the thought to seriously try and locate Draeger and finally get him copies of the photos because he had been so cool that morning and very enthusiastic about posing his element for us to photograph. As I searched the Internet I found a site that had Draeger's name and I read that he had been killed in an auto accident in 1995. My heart just sank. He had been a passenger in a car driven by a race-car driver and he and another F-15 pilot died in the crash while the driver was unscathed. I got ahold of a 58th TFS DS veteran pilot via e-mail, I think at the Pentagon, just after learning that Draeger was dead and the response I got was tepid and uninterested so I let it go. Now when I see these photos again and think that Draeger died so needlessly I am saddened further that he never saw these photos.

Here he is after returning home from DS. I found this photo on the Internet while looking for him. Rest in peace, buddy.



Note: 85-114 was flown by Cesar Rodriguez on his epic 19 January turning-fight with an Iraqi MiG-29 and again on the 26th when he bagged his second kill, a MiG-23. 85-107 was flown by Marine Captain Chuck Magill on the first day of the war, 17 January, when he killed a MiG-29. You can see the kill flags on both jets.

Last edited by Bill E.; February 22nd, 2010 at 12:36 AM. Reason: Spelling
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  #85  
Unread February 22nd, 2010, 07:27 AM
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Again very nice pics Bill!
I really love the stories behind them! Just great!
Thanks for sharing!

Remy..
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  #86  
Unread February 22nd, 2010, 10:56 AM
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I don't know which is better, the photos or the stories behind them. Together, they can't be topped.

Thanks again Bill.
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  #87  
Unread February 22nd, 2010, 08:41 PM
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South Carolina ANG F-16A with the original narrow-chord stabs. Note the center-pivot irrigation crop circles down in the Saudi desert:




Another shot of a DS-coded Viper, tail number is 84-296:




Another Thirsty Torrejon Viper:



Happy Hog driver eases up to the boom:



Spark Vark. His wingman was on the boom:

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  #88  
Unread February 22nd, 2010, 08:50 PM
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I re-cropped and brightened the DS Viper photo. Note the tail fin of the leader's left Sidewinder at the bottom of the photo. The leader was on the boom and they were using the "Quick Flow" refueling procedure to get fueled faster.

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  #89  
Unread February 24th, 2010, 06:03 PM
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Terrific stories and pictures Bill. It's amazing seeing it from the 'other side'.

Looking back, it must have been a heck of a time for you guys.
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  #90  
Unread February 24th, 2010, 08:38 PM
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To quote: "This thread rocks!!!" This is so much more entertaining than the accounts that describe the "big picture". Guys, thanks for sharing your little piece of the story.

Bill
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  #91  
Unread February 25th, 2010, 02:12 AM
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WOW! This is such an awesome thread! Hey, I just noticed on F-15C 85-114 that it has those drop tanks with the blunt end on them (WRM tamks??)! I thought those were a more recent thing and not around during Desert Storm.

Great detail shots! I have markings for 85-114 and I just may build it now using those photos! Paint in nicely beat up and nice weathering to do on the kit.

Bill and Mark, thanks again for sharing the photos and stories!

Bill....did you guys even have TCAS during Desert Storm?
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  #92  
Unread February 25th, 2010, 02:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sluggo357 View Post
All,

Rico Rodriguez and Mole Underhill took out two MiG-29s. Our forces actually went out to the crash site of the MiGs and did a site exploitation of the wreckages. They developed the film from the HUD recorders. This is what was on the last frame of the HUD tape of the MiG-29 Mole Underhill shot down. The last colors splashed across the Iraqi Fulcrum pilot's retinas nanoseconds before he died was what you see here in the last frame of his HUD film. That is an AIM-7M H Build missile about to hit the Fulcrum. Ouch!


Hate to burst your bubble guysbut this is not from the MiG HUD. It is actually from a missle text conducted by one of the navy text units e.g. vx-30 or vx-9. It was discussed on the tomcat sunset website.

But back on topic, man these are some seriously cool photos! I am especially loving the F-4, A-6 and the MiG killing F-15s!
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  #93  
Unread February 25th, 2010, 12:13 PM
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Default MiG kill

Tom,

Hate to burst your bubble... this frame IS from the MiG-29 Cesar Rodriguez shot down. He happens to be some one I know and I talked to him this morning on the phone. I want to get he and Bill in contact with one another. He told me the whole story of this missile shot this morning. Mark Bowden's article is superb as I have known Col Rodriguez since just after Allied Force when a bunch of us piled into the Weapons and Tactics shop at Nellis to write down the good, the bad, and the ugly of how Allied Force was fought. One of the best people you will ever want to meet. His kids are now carrying the torch he passed to the next greatest generation. Your Tomcat bros are wrong about this picture.

Ladies and gentlemen, be very thankful there have been people like Rico Rodriguez, Mole Underhill, and our own Bill E. who put on the Blue Suit and wrote a blank check to our national leadership. I say the same for all of you who served at one time or another... but my special thanks goes to those still on active duty and anxiously engaged in this fight against an extremist ideology trying to destroy the things we value most.
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  #94  
Unread February 25th, 2010, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sluggo357 View Post
...but my special thanks goes to those still on active duty and anxiously engaged in this fight against an extremist ideology trying to destroy the things we value most.
Fuckin-A Bubba.

-Gus Grissom, The Right Stuff.
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  #95  
Unread February 25th, 2010, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin K View Post
Bill....did you guys even have TCAS during Desert Storm?
Colin, no TCAS during DS! We were basically blind and on our own and AWACS had little time to provide any kind of aircraft separation. We had to stick to the flight plan and listen-up on the radios and visualize where the other aircraft were (SA/Situational Awareness). The navigator spent a lot of time with his face buried in the radar (APN-59) trying to discern possible traffic conflicts, if we had cause to be concerned about such things, especially in-cloud and cutting across the other tanker tracks. Around Riyadh we had ATC radar controllers who did a pretty good job of getting us in-out of KKIA. Occasionally a former PATCO controller (Americans) would interject and clear up a traffic conflict as (a dozen) tankers appoached Riyadh for landing--after the Saudi controller would lose SA as all those blips closed-in on the field.

I fly with TCAS in my current job and I shudder when I think of how we used to get around without it.
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  #96  
Unread February 25th, 2010, 04:56 PM
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Bill,

Great photos and stories. Thanks for posting the other EF-111 shot.

Does anyone know the typical callsigns for Ravens in Desert Storm?
I know the F-4G's used beer callsigns.

Phil
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  #97  
Unread February 25th, 2010, 05:41 PM
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I have no reason to doubt the authenticity of the HUD frame pic, and I'm not calling "bull", but I do have a few questions based on what I know about HUDs, missiles and photography:

1) was the Mig inverted when the missile hit? No, this isn't a bad Top Gun movie joke, I'm just looking at the lighting/shadow on the missile.

2) I keep reading about being able to see the F-15 in the background but for the life of me I can't see it. Can anyone point it out?

3) What's the estimated closing speed of an AIM-7 and a Mig-29? What's the "shutter speed" of a HUD camera? Given my estimates of both, that's an awfully clear image.

4) If they grabbed the "last frame" I'm sure they were able to salvage the next to last frame as well as several previous frames. Has anyone ever seen them?
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  #98  
Unread February 25th, 2010, 05:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sluggo357 View Post
All,

Rico Rodriguez and Mole Underhill took out two MiG-29s. Our forces actually went out to the crash site of the MiGs and did a site exploitation of the wreckages. They developed the film from the HUD recorders. This is what was on the last frame of the HUD tape of the MiG-29 Mole Underhill shot down. The last colors splashed across the Iraqi Fulcrum pilot's retinas nanoseconds before he died was what you see here in the last frame of his HUD film. That is an AIM-7M H Build missile about to hit the Fulcrum. Ouch!


What tail number was Underhill flying that night?
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  #99  
Unread February 25th, 2010, 06:25 PM
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Default Spark Vark Callsigns

All,

Spark Varks were given callsigns after household power tools... My F-4G Flight of 12 had Drill 71, Drill 72, and Drill 73 with them. One of our "Drills" that night was the EF-111A involved in the MiG kill. So when you heard DRILL, WRATCHET, WRENCH, etc. you knew it was a Spark Vark.


Mark
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  #100  
Unread February 25th, 2010, 06:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sluggo357 View Post
All,

Spark Varks were given callsigns after household power tools... My F-4G Flight of 12 had Drill 71, Drill 72, and Drill 73 with them. One of our "Drills" that night was the EF-111A involved in the MiG kill. So when you heard DRILL, WRATCHET, WRENCH, etc. you knew it was a Spark Vark.


Mark
I met the EF-111A pilot who got that MiG kill. Capt. Jim Denton was his name I believe? I met him at an air show in Moose Jaw after Desert Storm.
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