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The view: Herding Chicks in Southeast Asia

The pilot: Dale Hill, callsign ‘Nail 49’

The airplane: North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco

The mission: As Forward Air Controllers (FACs), we often supported supply convoys coming up the Mekong River to deliver food, fuel, and ammo to the people/defenders of Phnom Pehn (Papa-Papa), the capitol of Cambodia.  The bad guys would lie in wait for the convoy and then attack it with heavy weapons (quad 50-caliber machine-guns and mortars).  With inputs made by the convoy commander aboard one of the riverine boats (the smaller ships in the picture) we supplemented their ‘friendly fires’ by directing fighter aircraft on where to drop their bombs.

The memory: At the end of the day and getting our ‘chicks’ safely past the enemy, we made a low pass to say, “Happy trails to you, until we meet again…”.  The picture captures several of the riverine boats that helped defend the convoy as well as one of the tugs who had to cut away the cargo barge it was towing because the enemy managed to drop a mortar round on it and set it on fire.  The fire quickly spread to the ammo onboard, and it started cooking off.  The convoy commander made a wise decision to cut it loose because the barge soon blew sky-high!

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Dale Hill
2 replies
    MIKE MENTZ says:

    Hey Dale, Can you give me any information on Joe Mejaski, he was a senior FAC at Can Tho.
    He flew P-51s in WWII “STINKY”
    O1Es and U-17s in Vietnam, 1965-? retired in 1978 as Colonel

    • Dale Hill
      Dale Hill says:

      Sorry Mike. That was before my time and I can’t find his name in any of the historic documents to which I have access.


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