Posted by lex, on May 15, 2006
John of Argghhh wrote to me a propos of certain flings (delivered in comments) against his “queen of the battlefield” – flings fllung by your humble scribe, as it turns out. He wrote as how he’d had the chance to duck some death from above, only the kind delivered by friendlies: accidental, like. Twice in fact, which is twice too often, says I. Though I say it with a guilty conscience, having had the occasion to fall short of perfect, once upon a time.
A CAS training mission it was, back in the day. Very exciting. Hard jinks, low pops, and fire support deconfliction. Tanks in the open, which is a damn fine place for ‘em to be, when you’re bringing the heat. MK-82 Snakeyes, on acount of the drag, you see – low altitude bombing makes an attack pilot yearn for safe separation, and retarded fins serve the purpose quite well.
I’d been having a pretty good day, shack hits left, right and center. Had to squeezle arround an emergent threat, which foogled up my final attack heading – this is all very technical, you understand – to where I was slinging iron in the general direction of the Forward Air Controller. Which was a bad thing.
Not to worry of course: Retarded fins, etc. Except you see, that the long and the short of it was that that it landed long, rather than short. Nearly in my FAC’s lap. The fins failed to deploy, you see.
Fortunately, the fuzing at least worked as advertised – without that sudden decel, the weapon dudded. Just like it’s supposed to. But it left us all rather thoughtful, at the end of the day.
It isn’t all beer and skittles, and sometimes the line between hero and goat is tended by fate, rather than skill. Which is worth keeping in mind.