"1,000 ft. RULE?"
"1,000 ft. RULE?"
Submitted by - 1LT David Miller, Headhunter 45, Pleiku & Kontum
1,000' rule?? When I was a HH (Pleiku & Kontum) the "rule" that was never followed was 1500' - ask Bill Silva who got written up for getting caught working too low, by someone from staff (I think). I still don't think we could've done our job up that high ... besides, the "cone-of-fire" was too big at that altitude.
While we didn't talk openly about it then, we did most of our flying "work" between the tree tops & about 200'. Dragging wheels thru the trees happened now & then, while dropping a sandbag of mail or a case of rations, to some isolated radio relay guys. Or while supporting LRRP's - the bad guys couldn't easily see what we were doing. Also, it's really hard to see the footprints in the dirt etc., when doing a BDA (Bomb Damage Assessment) after an "Arclight" (B52 strike) at altitude. Bonus: my observer (from Dayton, OH) could put a round (grenade launcher) in or damn close to a bunker if I was flying "coordinated."
Beyond that, I can talk about that business, just west of Dak To, where we were taking small-arms fire from above, while flying thru the saddles - some of us got gassed, too - I put Crazy Al Morton in for the Silver Cross after that all calmed down.
And, I have an issue with some who say that Army Recon Pilots weren't allowed to FAC or run air strikes etc. Whenever I had a hot target of opportunity, I'd go up on guard & ask if anybody, who could hear me (& be close enough), had any ordinance to drop. (Fighter bomber jocks didn't like to go home with ordinance onboard.) I ran airstrikes by Thuds & F-4's & gave them the BDA when they were done. Would've liked to fire the Missouri, if I'd have been closer to the coast.
Didn't we do it all? Shoot heavy artillery missions as well as mortars, cover convoys & Dustoff's when needed, make deliveries when the choppers couldn't fly, run Donut Dollies around to the various S.F. camps, cover LRRP's, cover ground unit movements, support radio relay teams etc. etc. ??? About the only times we would fly at altitude were on admin trips like taking a bird in for maintenance, or giving a familiarity trip to a new staff officer, or a milk run to Qui Nhon.
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