The Day Nam Phong was Bombed By VMFA 115
I’ll bet most of you didn’t know that Nam Phong was actually bombed by VMFA 115 (well kind of).
Anyway here is what happened.
For you guys who weren’t in ordnance, you probably remember the aircraft taxiing to the end of the runway for take off. On the bomb racks there were red streamers attached that were marked “Remove Before Flight”. These were safety pins that held the bombs on the rack in case of an accidental deployment from a mechanical failure or a stray voltage.
The aircraft would stop at the end of the runway where an ordnance guy would do a quick final inspection of the load , pull the safety pins and signal the pilot the plane was ready for take off.
In theory, all would be safe since the actual circuits to the ordnance system would not be activated until a switch in the landing gear was activated when the gear was in the up position, indicating the plane was off the ground.
Anyway there was an over ride switch in the cockpit that would by pass the landing gear switch for testing the systems on the ground or emergency use. For some reason the air crews (although instructed not to), would often hit that switch in the arming area. They would also set their bomb controls before they where air borne (another no no).
One day, I armed a sortie of our F-4’s. I gave the pilot the OK to take off and after a snappy salute scampered out of the way. The pilots turned their engines up and as I crouched with my back toward them there was a bang and a bunch of clanging.
I turned around and here was a Phantom moving down the runway real slow. On the ground was guess what………
His whole load of general purpose bombs.
Well that God of Thunder went back to the flight line. Lucky me got to defuse the bombs and remove the lugs so I could roll them off the runway. We picked them up with a loader later that day.
Of course the problem was quickly diagnosed as stray voltage. Gee, I always wondered where the safety wire went to that was attached to that over ride switch!!
That was the day Nam Phong got bombed. (well kind of)
My, it was always a treat to be in the arming and dearming areas!!!