Sinking a Vietcong sampan North of Phan Thiet on the South China Sea 1967
Considering the fact that I could not take pictures of the actual sampan, I took the picture on the left. The picture was taken in Hoi An Vietnam, while I was in Vietnam in 2001. The picture on the right reminded me of the actual sampan but was found on the internet.
The tail number of the airplane was 028. That was the airplane that they installed the two M60 machine guns. I used that airplane to fly the early morning (sunrise) mission in Phan Thiet. The sampans were fishing in the dark. The VC would retreat to the small canals on the shoreline at Sunrise. I would arrive over their position at first light of the day. On that day I found a sampan in full view. I arrived at 2000 feet and pulled off the power and engaged the carburetor heat. I would then be silent. This time frame would be exactly at sunrise. This would surprise the Vietcong. I caught the fisherman out in the open fishing. I then engaged them with 028 with machine guns. The VC fishermen jumped out of the sampan when I started shooting. I could see their black shapes in the water swimming toward the shoreline. At that point there was no one to shoot at me, so I engaged the sampan. I used all the two machine guns ammunition. The machine guns used 30 Caliber ammunition. See the picture of the 0-1 with machine guns. The sampan did not sink at this point, so I began to shoot at the sampan with my M16. I had my M16 loaded with all tracer so that I could see if I hit the sampan. I had many hits. I had my Crew Chief, Gilbert Hartzog build an M16 clip holder on the door. As I remember the clip holder held 8 or 10 clips loaded with all tracer. At that point, I thought I saw ground fire coming from the shoreline. By that point, I was way too low and decided to climb to altitude to keep an eye on the sampan. The sampan was sinking when I left the area and flew back to Phan Thiet airfield.
When flying this airplane, we all thought we were mini fighter pilots. Pictured above is the Birddog with mounted M-60 machine guns. Note the machine gun is mounted on the inboard pylon and the ammunition container is mounted on the outboard pylon.
When flying this airplane, we all thought we were mini fighter pilots. Pictured above is the Birddog with mounted M-60 machine guns. Note the machine gun NOTE: I had M-16 clips of full red tracer ammunition located on the pilot's door, in a special tray. The tray was made to hold 8-10 fully loaded clips. It was normal to open the window and shoot the M-16 out the window. The automatic position would fire all of the ammunition in the clip in one burst. Fully automatic. One day, I was shooting something out the window, when an expended shell from the M-16 flew into the cockpit of the Birddog. It ricocheted around the cockpit and finally landed on my neck at the collar line of my uniform. It burned me so bad, that it took several years for the scar to disappear!