The Hunt for Giap
Robert & Joan Wilhelm
Bob, Maybe someone in the EC-47 community and the Buff contingent can recall the efforts to locate and destroy Giap? I remember the missions from '69. ECs trying to triangulate and Buffs on CAP to respond if he was located.
Mike Crawford 9th ACS [email protected]
Great account! And by the ROE you did exactly the right thing, though I wish some others had been as strict. I watched two Lao villages gradually disappear because some of our newer FACs thought they were harboring truck workers--and said they heard AK-47 fire. I was always skeptical, but maybe those hooches did have somebody in them. The rice fields were fallow and the buffalo were all cooling off in muddy bomb craters.
They wouldn't tell us what was going on in Cricket West until I nearly hit a Royal Lao troop with a left-over WP rocket one day, casually showing my wingman something on the ground. We heard about it from Air Attache a few days later. Col. Johnson was astounded it was me, and I was called "the Phantom" for a while. But we did get our briefings after that, and we did get invited in to help from time to time as well.
I wonder if Giap knows how close he may have come? Too bad we are not yet in touch with our adversaries from back then. By the time we are, Giap will be in his grave. If you had put him there the war might have been shorter!
Thanks again, Bill Tilton
PeeDeeW wrote: Army... reminds me.
I had an Army major fly on several missions with me. I never saw him except when we flew. On one sortie we were looking for a spot to put a ground team in. They thought they knew where Giap might be and were going to tap his phone line. Then go back in, in a week or so, and pick up the recorder.
The spot was a high flat piece of Karst WNW of Khe Sanh. They were to be put in, go down the mountain, do their business and be picked up back on the top. It was way out away from the usual defended trails.
We were scouting it out and I made a pass from West to East maybe 500 feet above the top. I hit a nice steady downdraft just as I cleared the East face. I had the O-2 pointed away from the mountain, full power, just above a stall, with a drop rate a little steeper than the mountain. It was 20 or 30 of the longest seconds of my life. The engines began to overheat which didn't help the power any. It was a good feeling when we broke out and I could pull some power off. We were both very quiet and patiently waiting to pancake into the tree tops. But we didn't.
Not long after that I was given a "suspected truck park". I found the coordinates and here was this beautiful Villa. It was in the middle of a clearing in the jungle. The F-4's showed up and as they were inbound I made a few low passes, looking for anything that made this look like a "truck park". As far as I knew I drew no ground fire. I saw no sign of life. I saw no roads or signs of vehicular traffic around the building. I asked for confirmation of my coordinates. At first they refused but I insisted. They checked out. I chose not to destroy the site. I moved the strike to a route 9 interdiction.
Back at the base I had a personal call from some general.. Don't remember which one. He wanted to know why. I told him the story and he was satisfied I had done right based on what I knew. Then they told me it was thought to be a temporary headquarters of Giap. If they had not been so secretive I would have done the job. I often wonder if Giap owes me his life.
Sam Weaver, Nail 54......
Hap, sounds good, but us Army Laos Vets talk about Laos and all we get is........Laos. My boss Bob Moberg earned his third DFC there, as you say Hap, we need more different service participation...Is any one out there??
David L. Pompili NESSY Asst Lead Alarm Monitor JNTF Secy Admin 719-567-9646 David.Pompili mailto:[email protected]
J.C. Wheeler - 5648 Highway 21 - Clarksville, AR - 72830