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Courage is like love: it must have hope for nourishment-- Napoleon Bonaparte
Memories of Flying a ThrashLight6004 Reads
I was a 1stLt. copilot in HMH463, and had only been in-country for a month at the time. I was assigned to the flight schedule for the nape drop, and was very excited to be going on one. I had heard about them, but this was going to be the biggest. Charlie Ridge was our target. The NVA there were in tight, and didn't want to move. Attempts to clear the area with fixed wing bombs had failed. Marines were taking heavy casualties.
Fixed wing aircraft and artillery also participated in the effort. At 0300 in the morning, artillery from all of the fire support bases within range (Danang, Ross, Ryder, An Hoa, Baldy, etc.) started firing into the area with 105 mm, 155 mm, and 175 mm. The goal here was to keep the enemy pinned down. At daylight the fixed wing bombing started, with 500 and 1000 lb. bombs. When the first flight of three CH53s hit the initial and started inbound, the fixed wing attack lifted. Then OV-10s would mark the target with Willie Pete for each of the four flights of three CH53s. Each of the wingmen would pickle their load when the lead dropped, bringing sixty 55-gal drums of napalm raining down (3300 gallons). When the last flight of CH53s returned to reload, the fixed wing started again. That day HMH 463 dropped 2000 barrels (110,000 gallons) of napalm.
Note: by Skip Burns
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