Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Nothing like a low-level jet flyby to get you up and humming

I was napping away, along with most of the rest of the ship, one hot muggy afternoon in the Tonkin Gulf in the summer of 1969 aboard the USS Mullinnix, DD-944, the last all-gun destroyer in the U.S. Navy. Fire missions off the coast of Vietnam were slow that day and I was on duty at my station outside the gun director with my sound-powered headphones on.

If my talents were required, a call would wake me up so I was catching a few z's in the sunshine. For some reason, I opened my eyes for a second and saw movement. A low-flying Thud, an F-105 Thunderchief Air Force fighter-bomber, was just clearing land over the coast of Vietnam and heading straight for us. He was real low, seemingly skimming the wavetops, and instead of reaching for some altitude he stayed low until almost on top of us and then rocketed over top the ship, barely clearing the mast and scaring the crap out of a shipload of sleeping sailors.

I'm sure the pilot was feeling jubilant about making it back in one piece after a bombing run and as soon as he cleared land felt like celebrating a bit. The gun boss, a slightly nutty lieutenant, went completely nuts and started hollering "Battle Stations! Battle Stations! Shoot him down!" but that was one time when us grunt sailors felt safe to laugh at him and ignore him.

Now take 3.5 minutes of your time and enjoy the Top 10 Low Pass Jet Flybys, all real and way better than the Hollywood make-believe version allegedly done by Tom Cruise in his Navy Tomcat: #10 F-16 (Royal Netherlands Airforce) -- #6 Blue Angels F-18 (Cleveland) -- #5 Harrier low pass -- #4 Alpha Jet (Belgian Airforce) -- #3 Mirage F1CT & L?onnaire - Chad -- #1 Blue Angels F-18 (SF Fleet Week 2007) -- as well as other high speed fly-bys of Vigilante, Tomcat, F-18, Jaguar and Rafale jets.

You're welcome.

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