Text Box: The Scoop Sheet – Page 8

I found the following article among my “stuff” while searching for material to include in this issue. Unfortunately, I do not know the author and therefore cannot provide appropriate recognition. What I found interesting is that the article was written prior to the end of the Vietnam War.—Joe Amant



THE SKY IS OURS


On the ground in Vietnam, the enemy may be anywhere, but in the air, it’s a different kind of war. The air belongs to 
allied jet jockey’s, transport humpers, and chopper poppas. Marine aircraft, regardless of shape, size, or speed, drone unopposed through the skies of South Vietnam.
Marine close air support is like a poker hand with three jets as openers. Skyhawks, Phantoms, and Intruders provide surprise, punch, speed, and countless enemy casualties.
The Intruder, an all-weather attack bomber, can carry 28 500-pound bombs, flying through any natural weather 
disturbance which grounds other aircraft.
Supersonic  Phantoms with bombs, rockets, and the 20mm mini-gun (which “burps” 4000 rounds a minute, or 65-70 rounds per second) provide headache number 44 to enemy guerrillas moving towards friendly lines.
Skyhawks, stubby-winged jets, have recorded 120 sorties a day, dropping more than 10,000 tons of ordinance.
But it isn’t all jets in the ‘Nam. Jumbo cargo planes, as the C-130 Hercules, burdened with men, mail, chow, and 
whatever else there’s room for, waddle out to the flight line, grunt and groan, then lumber into the air like gooney birds.
Observation craft, the O-1E Bird Dogs, unarmed and slow moving, carried six 2.75mm Willy Peter rockets for marking targets for the jets.
Helicopters come in a variety of shapes and sizes. First, there was the thinly clad, mosquito-like Sea Horse. It was small and could carry a limited load, but it was a workhorse and dependable. They ferried wounded from the battle. They 
carried beans, bullets, and broads. The latter, visiting USO troupes. They flew plasma, VIP’s, rockets, or water.
The Sea Knight was huge in comparison and could carry a lot more weight. It also mounted a .50 caliber machine gun instead of the .30’s the Sea Horse toted.
Then came the Sea Stallion, an assault transport cargo helicopter, largest in the Free World’s arsenal. Built especially for Marines, it carried 38 combat-laden troops. Dubbed “ Super Bird”, it can trail a 20,000 pound external load. Top speed: 170 knots.
A Huey is a polliwog-like machine with a bump for a nose and a sawed off cigar for an exhaust, but no one laughs as it “whomp whomps” across the sky. It carries a rocket pod on each side, mounting eighteen 2.75 inch rockets. Two mounted machine guns are situated atop the rocket pods.
From the Huey evolved the Cobra, smaller, thinner, but with one hell of a sting! It boasts a rapid firing mini-gun pod that splits either 3000 7.62 rounds or, with the flick of a switch, belches out a total of 279 40mm grenades. Alongside the 
Cobra’s center are rocket pods that carry 56 high explosive rockets.
Another innovation, introduced in Vietnam, is the OV-10A “Bronco” similar in design to the Lockheed Lightning or Black Widow of World War II. The plane is armed with four internal 7.62 machine guns, two on each side. It can carry a total load of 3600 pounds of bombs, or marking rockets, Sidewinder missiles, or the fast-firing mini-guns.
During the monsoon season, with torrential rains blanketing the air strips, the enemy figured they’d have it knocked. No aircraft, they reasoned, could take off under such conditions. They attacked. So did Marine pilots. Results? Heavy 
enemy casualties.
The enemy may roam the paddy or the jungle, but sometimes he forgets , the sky is ours!