Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Huh, Imagine That

F-102 Delta Daggers of the 509th FIS over SE Asia
Before getting any deeper into things, I'd like to welcome FNG Dave to the blog. He is number 41. Perhaps I should generate personalized, numbered membership cards. Which the members could then print out and put into their wallets/purses and then years later pull out and say...

"What the Hell is this?"

Seriously though, Dave is a fellow Lexican (and friend) who is also an old member of the finest fighter wing to ever grace the skies over this planet. (Sit down you Navy pukes and quit clapping.) Yes, ladies and gentlemen, mesdames et monsieurs, 'tis the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing of which I speak. the "real" Wolf Pack. (I think they go by "8th Fighter Wing" these days.) He also has a blog which he hasn't updated in a while. Perhaps we can convince him to resume that activity. It's here.

Yeah, yeah. Your Mileage May Vary.

Dave, welcome aboard. Thy number is 41. Not 40, not 42. Forty-one.

Standard FNG rules apply.

Now what's up with the title of this post and those lovely cammoed up 102s in the lead in photo? Well, if you look at Dave's avatar, that's an F-102. While searching for an appropriate photo to welcome Dave aboard, I discovered that the F-102 (which I previously thought only served on air defense duties in the US) also saw combat in Vietnam.

Seems that the 509th Fighter Interceptor Squadron (FIS), well let's let Wikipedia tell the story...

The F-102 served in Vietnam, flying fighter patrols and serving as bomber escorts. A total of 14 aircraft were lost in Vietnam: one to air-to-air combat, several to ground fire and the remainder to accidents.

Initially, F-102 detachments began to be sent to bases in Southeast Asia in 1962, when radar contacts that were detected by ground radars were thought to possibly be North Vietnamese Il-28 "Beagle" bombers, which were considered a very credible threat during that time period. F-102s were sent to Thailand and other nearby countries to intercept these aircraft if they threatened South Vietnam at any time.

Later on, Boeing B-52 Stratofortress strikes, codenamed "Arc Light", were escorted by F-102s based in the theater. It was during one of these missions that an F-102 was shot down by a North Vietnamese Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 using an AA-2 Atoll heat-seeking missile. The MiGs approached undetected, and one of the F-102s was hit by an air-to-air missile, which did not explode immediately, but remained lodged in the aft end of the aircraft, causing stability problems. As the pilot reported the problem to his wingman, the wingman observed the damaged Delta Dagger explode in midair, killing the pilot. This was the only air-to-air loss for the F-102 during the Vietnam War. The other F-102 pilot fired AIM-4 missiles at the departing MiG-21s, but no hit was recorded.

The F-102 was tried with limited success for several years in the air-to-ground role, although neither the aircraft nor training were designed for the role. The 509th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron's Deuces arrived at Da Nang Air Base, 4 August 1964 from Clark Air Base, Philippines. The interceptor was equipped with 24 2.75 in (70 mm) FFARs in the fuselage bay doors. These could be used to good effect against various types of North Vietnamese targets in daylight. At night it was less dangerous to use heat-seeking Falcon missiles in conjunction with the F-102's nose-mounted IRST (Infrared Search & Track) on nighttime harassment raids along the Ho Chi Minh trail.
Huh, imagine that...

FWIW, Dubya flew the 102 during his National Guard service. (Hey, I like the guy!)

Let's hear it for Dave!


  1. Yay Dave! Pleased to meet you. I'm number 40.

    Susie. :-)

    1. I nominate Susie for, er, let me see...

      Something. She seems very friendly.

  2. Welcome to him... and the 102 was another 'strange' airplane the AF had...

    1. It was a wonderful flying experience. Stable at higher altitudes (for taking pictures of USSR Bears, etc.), fast for popping up (to shoot at high flying what evers) and futuristic looking (what no tail?) for attracting the lady school teachers at Itazuke. Armed with a variety of sand-seeking missiles, it would more or less do what the F89 (God forbid) was supposed to do, just the like the F106 would do what the deuce was supposed to do. Last resort tactic - slash the wing of the bad guy with the vertical stabilizer. Don't want to know how that might have worked.

  3. Welcome Dave! I've always been a fan of the "upgraded" 102--the F-106, which was so cool that it could actually land itself after the pilot had bailed out. (Google: "cornfield bomber" for the true story!) Like Old NFO said, Convair made some strange (and wonderful) aircraft.

    Now go update your blog with much airplane goodness, please.

  4. FWIW, Dubya flew the 102 during his National Guard service. (Hey, I like the guy!)

    Yup, I like him too. And, FWIW, I do miss him (said in answer to that famous "Miss me yet?" billboard).

    (Note the proper punctuation. It's that "attention to detail" thing.)

  5. Thanks people! Tomorrow I will fill you in a little about me and where one might (if interested) learn about this USAF guy's first and last trap in November of '65. It is getting to be ten pm here and I have to lay down by my sweetie of 49 years. That sounds a little creepy, doesn't it?

    1. Can't wait.

      (Doesn't sound creepy, sounds romantic.)

  6. I was directed towards the Neptunus Lex site way back when by VX who had for some reason googled the MA-1A emergency arresting system and came across my tale of using the thing at Ubon RTAB in 1965. The story begins here and you are welcome to read all about my "milk run".


    That being promoted, I now say thanks to all who reside here and there (internetedly connected). Reading about what goes on in the armed services today with a healthy mix of pron is a good way of spending some time and keeps me angry at what's going on. The USAF began to get screwed up when they went to "squadron maintenance scheduling" and took our names off of the aircraft. My deuce was number 41386, I have a model of it but nary a picture. The further screwing up occurred with the notion that aircraft would be scheduled by some desk jockey somewhere instead someone who knew what was going on. We had times when a Phantom would be scheduled for a mission even though it was AOCP. We used the spare, fine. The next flight had no spare, so if one aborted - there went a three ship! Does that make sense to anyone? I guess I am continuing to rant about an almost fifty year old pissed-off state of mind. Weird. Good.

    1. Brilliant story Dave. I hung on every word.

      Some things, you never get over. (Loved some of the comments between you and Virgil on that series of posts.)

    2. "...fifty year old pissed-off state of mind..."

      You too, Dave? Are you STILL sure you're not my long-lost blood-brother? :)

    3. It just struck me, we need just one more Phantom jock to make a full flight of four. Right now we've got Dave, Virgil and Juvat.

      Of course, we'd need four jets too. But first things first.

      Somebody? Bueller, Bueller...

  7. PS: ' Course you being a Gator Guy and me being a Tiger grad I guess that's muy impossible. :)


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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