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Old 12-18-2014, 07:27 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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Location: Auberry, CA
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Part II:


Over Western Arizona, 0945 Hours:



Chevy Flight, with the four F-15s from Olds Flight, headed back towards the border. As they did, the crews saw several private planes or commuter airliners coming into the traffic patterns at Kingman and Prescott airports, looking for someplace, anyplace, to put down. “FAA's shut down the navaids.” Guru said.

“I noticed,” Tony replied. “No VOR or NDBs. Just TACAN for us.”

Then Guru noticed two smoky trails above and to the right. “Chevy Lead, Two.”

“Go, Two,” Colonel Johnson replied.

“Rhinos at One O’clock,” Guru said. “These our Weasels?”

“Stand by one,” the CO said. “This is Chevy Lead looking for Coors Lead. You guys the Rhinos at my One?”

“Chevy, Coors,” the F-4G flight lead called. “You found us. We can give you two Standard ARMs and two Shrikes, plus two Rifles.” Rifle meant AGM-65 Mavericks. They did have a good anti-radar missile, and an older one that was still effective-if used properly.

“Copy that,' Chevy Lead said. “Follow us to the border. We could've used you guys this morning.”

“Comin' in,' the Weasel leader said, and two more Phantoms joined the formation, now approaching the Phoenix area.

“Tony, anything on the radio?” Guru asked his WSO.

“Nothing good,” Tony said. “Ivan and Fidel blew through the border towns like it was nothing.”

“What else?” Guru asked.

“Uh...All the Guard and Reserve got Federalized, this station in Phoenix says.”

Nodding, Guru concentrated on flying the plane, and keeping his head on a swivel. That had been drummed into his head in the RTU, not that long ago. Then he saw several explosions in the air, and aircraft falling. “What the..”

“Flight, Lead,” Johnson called. “I see it. Stand by.”

Chevy Flight got closer, and they could see fighters slashing at what appeared to be transports. Then they recognized the fighters as F-15s, and the transports were An-12 Cubs and An-26 Curls. Several of each were now falling in flames, and several others had crashed, for there were columns of smoke rising from a number of crash sites.

“Looks like the good guys are winning this one,” Tony observed, as an An-12 fell off to their left. “What'd they think they'd do? Land at Luke or Sky Harbor and just take over?”

“Don't know,” Guru replied. “But some jumped. There's quite a few chutes.” And sure enough, there were numerous parachutes, and that meant some of the paratroopers had jumped.

“Flight, Lead. This ain't our fight. We got business near the border.” Johnson reminded the flight, and everyone acknowledged. And the Phantoms and their Eagle escorts headed south. They got close to Tucson, and everyone could see A-7s and A-10s taking off, and even Army AH-1s. An Army Reserve unit flew AH-1S Cobras out of Marana Airpark, and some of them were headed off to war. The crews could also see a couple columns of smoke rising from Tucson near both Davis-Monthan AFB and Tucson IAP, and something had happened.

“Wonder if they had gate-crashers like we did,” Guru wondered.

“No bet. That was a given,” Tony replied.

Then the RWR came up. “Picking up SA-6,” Guru said.

“Got it,” Tony said. “How do you want the bombs?”

“Everything in one go.”

“Coors Lead, Chevy Lead,” the Weasel leader called. “Time for us to go to work, fella.”

“Copy that,” Colonel Johnson replied. “Get those guys off the air.”

“Roger that,” Coors Lead said. “Got an eight coming up.” That meant an SA-8 launch vehicle, and the SA-8 was still a relative unknown. “And...Magnum!” Coors Lead called as an AGM-78 Standard-ARM missile came off his Weasel.

The big missile stampeded away from the F-4, and homed in on the threat.

To the south, a Cuban SA-6 battery was trying to lock up the incoming aircraft. In the Straight Flush radar vehicle, the crew's morale was high. They had already shot down an F-4 and two A-7s, and sent an A-10 back damaged, and the Cuban missilers were exuberant. Then they heard a WHOOSH, then all of a sudden, their radar track exploded around them......

“SA-6 down,” Guru said, checking his EW repeater.

“Magnum!” Coors Lead shouted. And another AGM-78 went off in search of a target. It found a nearby SA-8 vehicle and exploded it just as it fired at Coors Lead.

“Coors Lead is Winchester,” he called. That meant he was out of ordnance. “Coors Two, it's all yours.”

“Copy. Chevy Lead, want to go in? I'll cover you.”

“Roger,” Chevy Lead replied. “Buick Lead, Chevy Lead. Any MiGs?”

“That's affirm,” the F-15 leader called. “Got some Floggers inbound.” That meant MiG-23s.

“Get some, Buick,” Johnson said. “Chevy Flight, same drill. South to North.”

“Roger, Lead,” Guru replied.

“Three copies,” Surfer called.

Chevy Flight rolled in, with Coors Two right behind them. Then he called, “Coors Two, Magnum!” as a Shrike missile came off the rail, and tracked something down below. As it did, Coors Two said, “Rifle one, and two,” as he shot his two AGM-65s.

“Roger that,” Chevy Lead said. “Lead in hot.” And Colonel Johnson rolled in on some armor barely a mile south of where they had flown their first strike. He put his bombs right on some APCs, and several Cuban BTRs exploded. “Lead's off.”

Right after Johnson called off target, Guru rolled in. “Two's in,” he called. And he went down the chute, picking out some tanks near where the Colonel had planted his bombs. “And...HACK!” Guru hit the pickle button, and a dozen Mark-82s came off the plane. He rolled out level, and got back down low. “Two's off safe.”

Guru's bombs landed among several T-55 tanks, and two of the beasts took direct hits. Several others fireballed as near-misses sent hot shrapnel into their external fuel tanks, on the rear decks of the tanks, and those exploded. And one of his bombs even flipped over a T-55.

“Three's in,” Surfer called as he rolled in, with the second Weasel alongside him. The F-4G then shot off his last Shrike as a ZSU-23 AA vehicle came up, and the Shrike found the Shilka's Gun Dish radar and exploded both the radar and the vehicle. While that was going on, Surfer found some Cuban 122-mm SP guns for his bombs, and Mark-82s rained down on the battery, exploding a couple of the 2S1 SP guns, and also taking out several ammo trucks, which set off sympathetic detonations as their ammunition exploded. “Three's off, and got some secondaries.”

“Roger that, Three,” Johnson said. “Let's get north. Buick Lead, form on me and RTB, now.”

“Copy that, Chevy Lead. Splash six Floggers,” the F-15 leader called.

“Good kills, Buick,” Johnson replied. “Coors, thanks for the help.”

“Anytime, Chevy, We're going to RTB. See you guys later.” And the two F-4Gs headed to the northwest, back to George AFB to refuel and rearm.

Chevy Flight and its escorts had their egress to the northeast, and as they approached Interstate 10, they saw a Boeing 727 ahead, inbound to Tucson. The white with blue trim paint job meant Republic Airlines and it was clear this guy was trying to get his plane and passengers on the ground. Then Buick Lead yelled on the radio. “He's got MiGs on his tail!”

“Republic 727, this is an F-4 at your Ten O'clock. You have hostiles behind you,” Colonel Johnson called on GUARD (121.5). There was no answer. “Buick Lead, get some.”

“Copy that!” Buick Flight hit their burners and charged in.

“Chevy Flight, let's go. Back up the Eagles.” Lead called.

Guru armed his two AIM-9s and followed his CO in.

Just as the F-15s got in AIM-7 range, the 727 took two missile hits to the tail and port wing, and the plane rolled left, then plunged down to earth, his tail and left wing on fire. The 727 crashed north of I-10, and exploded in a huge fireball.

Enraged, the F-15s took shots with their remaining AIM-7s, as the MiGs were now identified as MiG-21s. Two of the MiGs took Sparrow hits and exploded, as the Eagles got into a turning fight with the MiGs. One of the MiG-21s took a Sidewinder hit and blew up, while the last MiG tried to run south. He didn't get far, as Buick Four lined up a gun shot and sprayed him with his 20-mm Vulcan gun. The MiG fell, trailing fire, and the pilot ejected.

“Break off, Break off,” Buick Lead yelled. The four F-15s orbited as the MiG driver's chute descended, and several cars and trucks on the Interstate stopped. Once the pilot was down, the F-15s rejoined the F-4s.

Down below, about fifty motorists on both sides of I-10 had pulled over as they saw the 727 crash and the dogfight that followed. Several truckers picked up tire irons and crowbars, and ran for the downed pilot. One of them was ex-Air Force, and recognized the last MiG-21 as the F-15 shot it down.

The MiG's pilot was quickly surrounded by the motorists, and he was set upon by the crowd. He was quickly dragged to a nearby pickup, tied to the bumper, and dragged behind the truck. After that, he was strung up from a tree next to the freeway.

As the F-15s rejoined the F-4s, Colonel Johnson got on the radio. “Who were the MiGs?”

“Chevy Lead, didn't see much. They weren't Russians, or Cubans. They had FAS on the side.”

“Sandinistas?”

“Maybe,” Buick Lead replied. “Couldn't tell for sure.”

The flight headed back north in silence, and an hour later, they were back in the Nellis traffic pattern. Departing aircraft had priority, as no one waiting had battle damage. Soon, they were cleared, and Chevy and Buick flights landed. They taxied to their area on the ramp, and after the F-4s shut down, the crew chiefs came out with crew ladders. “Lieutenant,” Sergeant Calhoun said. “You've got a half-hour, sir.”

“Thanks, Sergeant,” Guru said as he took off his helmet. One thing he noticed about his crew chief, he was packing a sidearm. “Where'd you get that?”

“They're passing them out to all air and ground crew. Just in case those Spetsnatz try it again.”

“That's who it was?” Tony asked as he got out of the rear cockpit.

“Yes, sir. At least, that's what the word is.” Sergeant Calhoun said. He was packing a S&W .38 in a holster on his belt.

“All right, Sergeant, 515's still truckin'. No gripes. And no battle damage,” Guru said as he climbed out of the cockpit. And Colonel Johnson came over. “Boss.”

“Good work, both of you,” he said, putting out his hand.

“Thank you, sir,” Guru said, and Tony seconded it, shaking their CO's hand.

“Surfer, good work, you and Jasper.” Johnson said.

“Thanks, Colonel,” Surfer replied

Then a crew van came up, with Major Keith Pollard, the Ops Officer. “Colonel, got some sandwiches and drinks for you guys, and some other stuff.”

The crewers went over to the van, and picked out what they wanted, plus some bottled water. “What have you got for us, Major?” Johnson asked.

“Here's some maps of the border area, and a frag order,” Pollard said. “Free strike again, though head for Sierra Vista: the Army's holding the Cubans there, but they want some fast movers.”

“Will do,” the CO said. “What are we getting?”

“First, Java and Raven need a element: their wingie's radar went down, and the maintenance guys are working on that. They're yours if you want a four-ship again.”

“Tell 'em to come with us,” Johnson ordered. That meant Capt. Bob Lockwood and 1st Lt. Steve Matheny would be joining the flight for now. Ordnance?”

“Two birds get Rockeyes, two get Mark-82s,” Pollard said.

“All right, Major,” Johnson said. “Thanks.”

“Sir,” Pollard said, as he went looking for the XO's flight, which was the next on his list.

Then Lockwood and Matheny came over. “Boss.”

“Java,”

Guru whispered to Tony. “How'd he get his call sign?”

“He drank coffee like a fish in UPT. So guess what?”

“I get it.”

“Get something to eat, hit the latrine, and get ready to go back out,” Johnson said.

The crews dug into the sandwiches and bottled water Pollard had left for them, while the ordnance crews armed their aircraft. They noticed that the element leaders had the Mark-82s, while the wingmen had the CBUs. “Guess we'll be looking for some armor,” Java said to Guru.

“Looks like it,' Guru replied.

After they finished eating, the crews hit the latrines, then came back out. Colonel Johnson was waiting by his aircraft for them. “Okay, we're headed for Sierra Vista. The Army's holding off the Cubans there, and they need more fast-movers. One pass only, and get north as soon as you can.”

“Any F-15s or Weasels?” Surfer asked.

“Both. F-15s are Cobra Flight, and they go with us. We meet the Weasels near Phoenix again. Call sign is Michelob,” said the CO.

“Why do the Weasels always use beer for their call signs?” Guru asked.

“Ask them,” the CO said. “Any other questions?”

“How many more?” Tony asked.

“Don't know myself,” Johnson admitted. “Maybe after this one, we can have an hour or so to rest before going back out.”

“Maybe,” Guru deadpanned.

“To be wished for, Lieutenant,” the CO said. “Anything else?' No one said a word. “Okay, mount up and let's go.”

The crews went to their F-4s and mounted their aircraft. After a rushed preflight and engine start, they taxied to the runway, third in line behind a flight of F-111s and a flight of F-16s loaded for air-to-ground. When it was their turn, they found the Chaplain there again, and the crews saluted him as they taxied for takeoff. Again, the tower flashed a green light, and the F-4s rumbled down the runway and into the air.


Over North Central Arizona, 1155 Hours:



Chevy Flight, with their F-15 escorts, was flying south of Flagstaff, headed southeast at 6,000 feet AGL. As they flew, they could see some civilian aircraft trying to land at Flagstaff airport, obviously general aviation or commuter airliners. So far, their radar scopes were clear, and hopefully, they would stay that way until they got to the border.

“Tony, anything on the radio?” Guru asked his backseater.

“Got a Flagstaff station. They're repeating what's coming out of ABC News in L.A. Something's happened in Orange County, they said.”

“What kind of 'something'?”

“Riot of some kind,” Tony replied.

Great, Guru thought. “Scope clear?”

“So far,”

The flight kept heading southeast, then made a slight turn over Payson, East of Phoenix, the F-15 leader made a call.

“Chevy Lead, Olds Lead. Rhinos at nine O'clock.”

“Copy that,” Colonel Johnson called. “Rhinos at my nine, is that Michelob Flight?”

“You found us,” Michelob Lead replied. “Got two Standards and two Shrikes to play with.”

“Any HARMs?”

“Not us, but some of the guys went out with 'em.”

“Copy that, Michelob Lead. Join the party.”

The two F-4Gs formed up and followed behind Chevy Flight's four F-4Es, and the strike package headed on south, towards I-10. As they did, several more civilian aircraft appeared on their scopes, and the F-15s went ahead to check them out. As well as warning them about MiGs.

When the flight reached I-10, an Air Force ground FAC came up on the radio. “Chevy Flight, this is Covey Two-one. Authentication Alpha Six November.'

“Covey, Chevy Lead. Tango Four Bravo.” Colonel Johnson replied.

“Roger that, Chevy. Got a new tasking for you. Go to U.S. 191 north of Douglas. The Army's waiting on 191 for the bad guys. Kill anything painted green that's headed north.”

“Covey, what about Sierra Vista?”

“Army's taken care of that, Chevy. Hit anything on 191 from McNeal south to Douglas.” Covey replied.

“Copy that, Covey. Flight, Lead. Let's go.” Colonel Johnson radioed. And the flight headed for U.S. 191.


South of McNeal, Arizona, 1305 Hours:

Chevy Flight approached McNeal from the east, and then flew south, paralleling U.S. 191. As they did, they began picking up SAM radars. “Chevy, Michelob. Got a six and an eight.”

“Copy that, Michelob Lead,” Colonel Johnson said. “Get some.”

“Roger that,” came the reply, and the two F-4Gs broke formation and headed in. Then the Weasel leader called, “Magnum!” and an AGM-78 shot away from the lead F-4G. The call came again, this time from Michelob Two, and another Standard-ARM shot off towards a target.

Down below, a Cuban SA-6 battery was trying to lock up the inbound aircraft, and nearby was their mobile P-40 (Long Track) radar. Just as the Cubans were about to get lock, both ARMs came in, exploding the Straight Flush missile radar, and the Long Track vehicle.

“Six is down. And the air-search is off,” Michelob Lead radioed.

“Copy that. Chevy Flight, stand by. Two, with me. Three, you and Four find the rear of this column and hit that. See if we can't block the road,” radioed the CO.

“Copy, Lead,” Guru responded.

“Roger that,” Surfer replied.

Then another Magnum call came over the radio. One of the Weasels had picked up an SA-8 signal and sent another AGM-78 after it. The signal abruptly ceased.

“The other eights have dropped off,” Guru noted.

“Fine with me,” Tony replied. “Set it up?”

“Gotcha. Everything in one pass.”

“You got it, buddy.”

Chevy Lead and Chevy Two had the Rockeye CBUs, while Three and Four had Mark-82s. And Chevy Three found his target first. “Three's in hot!”

“Copy that, Three. Lead's in!” And Colonel Johnson rolled in and laid his Rockeyes on a number of supply trucks. As he pulled away, he was rewarded with several secondary explosions, as trucks carrying either fuel or ammunition exploded. “Lead's off target.” Then it was Guru's turn.

“Two's in hot!” Guru called. He rolled in, and lined up on some trucks just behind where Lead had dropped his load. “Steady, steady.....HACK!” And a dozen Rockeyes came off of 515. “Two's off.”

Below, a Cuban rear-services Major was having a professional fit. The mixed brigade of Cubans and Mexicans had halted near the town of McNeal, and word had it that the lead battalion, Mexicans, had stopped to loot once again. They'd done the same down in Douglas after crossing the border, and getting the Mexicans to get back in their vehicles and head north had taken half the morning. And a few executions, if the rumor mill was correct. Then one of his Sergeants shouted, and he looked to the rear, and saw two F-4 Phantoms making a bomb run on the rear of the column. Fireballs of exploding vehicles blended with bombs going off, and to his disgust, none of the Strela shoulder-fired missiles launched by the motor-rifle troops tracked the departing aircraft. Then another Phantom came over, and attacked the front of the column with cluster bombs, and not just vital fuel and ammunition carriers, but a couple of the BRDMs that were helping to protect the column went up as well. Then he heard another F-4, and he barely had time to see it depart when more CBUs rained down on his location. Several of the bomblets landed on his UAZ-469 jeep, exploding it-and everyone in it.....

“GOOD HITS!” Tony shouted. “We've got secondaries!”

Guru turned his head, and caught a quick glance of the convoy. Numerous vehicles were burning, and he saw several explode in oily fireballs. “Those fuel trucks?'

“Had to be,” Tony replied.

“Lead, Two. Where are you?”

“Chevy Flight, Lead. Meet up over Benson on I-10.” The CO replied.

“Roger that, Lead.”

“Three copies,” called Surfer.

“Four,” Java said.

“Olds Lead, Chevy. Copy my last?”

“Roger that. Sky's clear. No bandits.”

“Roger. Michelob?”

“Still got one Standard left. No radars up,” replied Michelob Lead.

“Form up and let's egress,” Chevy Lead called.

A few minutes later, the package reformed over Benson, east of Tucson on I-10. “Chevy Three, how'd it go?” Colonel Johnson asked.

“Good hits, Lead,” Surfer replied.

“Four had good hits,” Java added.

“Copy, all,” Lead said. “Olds, on us. Michelob, clear to RTB. Chevy, time to RTB.”

“Roger, Chevy. Be glad to work with you guys later,” Michelob Lead called, then the Weasels broke off and headed back to George.

Chevy Flight headed north, and as they went towards the tankers east of Phoenix, they saw several explosions on the ground near Davis-Monthan “What were those?” Java asked.

“No idea, Four,” Lead replied.

In 515, Tony turned his radio to a Tucson station. “Lead, Two. You won't believe this.”

“Two, what is it?”

“Those were Scuds!” Tony called.

“Oh, boy,” Guru said. “Who said?”

“Davis-Monthan,” Tony replied. “They had several this morning, all Scuds aimed at the base, but they keep missing.”

Guru swore. “Hope we don't have to go hunting for those.”

“Yeah. They'd be shootin' and scootin',” Tony said.

“If we get that call, we'll find a way,” replied the Colonel. “Let's head for the tankers.”

Chevy Flight joined up on the KC-135s, and now, there were four tankers up, and the F-4s formed up on one pair of tankers, while the F-15s took the other pair. They took on enough fuel to get back to Nellis, then headed northwest. Passing Phoenix, the crews could see where numerous aircraft had crashed, and at both Williams AFB and Sky Harbor IAP, there were airliners sitting on the tarmac at both fields.

“Anyplace in a storm,” Guru told his backseater.

“Yeah. Can you blame 'em?” Tony replied.

Guru frowned underneath his oxygen mask. “After what we saw on the last one?” He said, recalling the 727 shootdown. “No. Anything on the Phoenix radio?”

“They're saying there's Cuban paratroopers, and the National Guard and some Marine Reservists are engaging. Folks are to stay clear of several areas.”

“Cubans digging in?”

“You got it?”

The flight continued towards Lake Mead, and when they arrived over the lake, two F-5Es from one of the Aggressor squadrons came to check them out. It was strange, seeing the F-5s, with their Soviet-style markings and live AIM-9s on their wingtip missile rails. Nobody wanted to think of the reception they would've gotten if they had been Russians. After calling the tower, the flight was told to wait, as several outbound flights were about to depart, then Chevy Flight and two others were cleared to land in order. After taxiing to their ramp area and shutting down, the crews got out of their aircraft. And they found the XO waiting. “Colonel,' Major Scott Crenshaw said. “Want to take an hour or two? Because you guys look like you could use a couple hours' down time.”

“Anyone using the briefing room?” the CO asked.

“Other than to take a nap? No, sir.” Crenshaw replied. 'You guys ate before the last one?”

“We did.”

Colonel Johnson nodded. 'The next XO who's not acting like a mother hen-”

“Will be the first,” Crenshaw finished. “If you don't mind my saying, you guys look beat.”

“So do you, sir,” Guru said. “If you don't mind my saying.”

'I've only had two missions. You guys have had three. I'm going out in twenty, so....”

“I get it,” Guru nodded. Right now, he didn't care about whether the CO or XO wrote him up. Because he needed a nap.

“Guru's right, Major,” the Colonel said. “You look a little beat, but if you think you can handle it...”

Crenshaw looked past the four crews, where his own WSO was holding up a thermos. “All I need now is some coffee, Boss. I'll take a break after this one.”

“Okay, Major. Let's tell the intel folks what we saw and did, fellas, then let's flake out for an hour or two.” After going in, and debriefing all three missions with Capt. Danielle Lambert, the Squadron Intelligence Officer, the crews went into the briefing room, found chairs, and simply fell asleep.
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