The view: Picking our way through thunderstorms at 10,000 MSL over Cambodia in the late fall of 1972. Or, has John Gillespie Magee, Jr. said it in High Flight, we “…chased the shouting wind along, and flung [our] eager craft through footless halls of air…”

The pilot: Two Nail FACs (Forward Air Controllers) with the 23rd Tactical Air Support Squadron stationed at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Base in NE Thailan, including the author, Dale Hill

The airplane: North American OV-10 Bronco

The mission: Deliver a recently “phased” Bronco to our detachment at Tan Son Nhat Air Force Base outside of Saigon, South Vietnam, and return with another Bronco ready to go into “phase” at our home field.

The memory: I had recently arrived in Southeast Asia and this was an opportunity to get acquainted with the area in which I would be operating, mostly by myself.

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6 replies
  1. Charles Lloyd
    Charles Lloyd says:

    Top notch photograph composition that draws you right into the low level situation with boomers starting to form all around you. Saw this same situation flying a Skylane all over the US at the start of this millennium. Sometimes the only thing to do was set down on the ground ASAP and wait it out.

    Reply
    • Lex Baer
      Lex Baer says:

      And twenty years later, how profoundly different it is to have ground radar in the cockpit, live! (Ok. Ten minutes old.) Zoom in. Zoom out. Look two hours ahead at your course and strategize the short deviation if the spacing holds or the long end run around the line of storms if the footless hallway collapses.

      Reply
    • Mac Hayes
      Mac Hayes says:

      Yup, I saw this often enough in Indiana and many points east and south of there, during my active years in the 1960s & early 70s. Not that I flew through TSTMs; that was a no-no, but lots of dodging VMC around weather that looked very much like this.

      Reply
      • Dale Hill
        Dale Hill says:

        Sometimes, the only way to get home was to go through the wall of T-Storms that formed along the Cambodian/Thai border. With no radar on board, you would listen to those ahead of you and follow their path through the areas where they didn’t get beat up so bad. Fortunately, these T-Storms were nowhere as vicious as what I’ve seen in the States!

        Reply
    • Dale Hill
      Dale Hill says:

      Didn’t have the option of setting down in ‘Indian country’ as John Wayne always called the territory outside of the fort in his Westerns.

      Reply

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