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~. 6 JAN 1991 1988 U. S. Air Force Oral History Intervie K239.05l2-807 Col Joseph

~. 6 JAN 1991

~. 6 JAN 1991 1988 U. S. Air Force Oral History Intervie K239.05l2-807 Col Joseph W.
~. 6 JAN 1991 1988 U. S. Air Force Oral History Intervie K239.05l2-807 Col Joseph W.

1988

U. S. Air Force Oral History Intervie

K239.05l2-807

Col Joseph W.

Kittinger,

Jr.

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ALBERT F. SIMPSON HISTORICAL RESEARCH CENTER Air University

OFFICE OF AIR FORCE HISTORY Headquarters USAF

SCANNED BY ISA ALBERT F. SIMPSON HISTORICAL RESEARCH CENTER Air University OFFICE OF AIR FORCE HISTORY

UNITED STATES AIR

FORCE

ORAL HISTORY

PROGRAM

Interview

of

Col

Joseph W.

Kittinger,

Jr.

 

By

Lt

Col

Robert

G.

Zimmerman

Date:

5 September

1974

Washington DC

Location:

KITTINGER

said,

"Joe,

why

don't

you

come

with me

down

to

Eglin?

Why

don't you fly

down

to

Eglin and

let me

introduce

you

to

my

bosso"

Well,

I

was

right

in

the middle

of

the

Stargazer program which was

the

one

with

the

tele-

scope,

and MIT

[Massachusetts

Institute

of Technology]

and

Dearborn Observatory.

It was a really big program,

and we were

continually having

troubles.

It was touch

and go

all

the way,

but we were

supposed

to

fly

in about

October

or

so

of 1962.

 

I went

and

a fellow

I told

gram that I wanted to volunteer, that I wanted to get

in

down

to

an

interview with

L.]

who was

name

General

at

was

Pritchard

the

time

also

[Maj

Gen

Gilbert

by

the

the boss

who

of Ben King,

there.

them after

I'd been given a briefing on the pro-

that

I

had

a program

that

I

the Air Commandos but

was on that was going to delay me until October 1962. So General Pritchard said, "No sweat. We would love to have you down here, and you just put in your letter," which I did. There was a great deal of consternation

over this letter because it had to be forwarded and several of the people in Systems Command thought that

I was

which I really wasn't. I really enjoyed working, but

disgusted with

Systems

Command

and

so

forth,

it

was

the

only war

that was

going.

22

KITTINGER

Well, I finally made a Stargazer flight in December

in Harch and

April 1963, and each time--well, the March and April

1962,

and

I

was

headed

for

anotheT

one

flights didn't go.

Finally,

instead

of getting

in

in

October 1962, I actually arrived there in May 1963. When I arrived there, of course, I went in and I said

I would like to fly the T-28 course because I had a lot more single-engine experience. The T-28, in my view,

is

so slots were filled up.

about 100 hours

more

of

a

fighter

or

airplane

than

the

B-26.

I

had

in

the

B-26

and

all

So,

you know what

T-28

happened?

the

They said, "Well, you're going to fly B-26s." I was really unhappy about that at the time. Since then I

air-

plane over there. But that's how I got into the pro-

have been very happy that

I

did

get

to

fly

that

gram.

Z:

So

you

then

reported

to

Bien Hoa

in Project

Farm

Gate.

Would you

describe

this

operation?

K:

Well,

actually

I

was

the

last crew to

go

over

there

that was TDY from the Air Commandos.

As

you

know,

they

went

oveT

there

prior

to

that with

179

days

TDY.

Starting

in about July

1963,

they

started

sending

over

PCS

crews

for

a year's

tour

that

had

gone

through

the

training

at Hurlburt.

But

they

still

kept

a

certain

23

KITTINGER

input of Air Commandos

going

over

there

TDY

for

179

days,

and

I

was

actually

the

last

TDY crew

to

go

there

under that operationo

I

worked

for

a man

who

was

there

I

I

PCS.

The purpose, of course, never changed. We always had to have a South Vietnamese fly with us; they flew in

the jump seat behind the navigator. Most of them were

airman basic or very low ranking.

None

of

them were

eager to flyo None of them knew anything about flying or wanted anything to do with it. But those were the

rules.

Vietnamese Air Force] in the backseat, and the Gooney Bird had to have one on board. That was a requirement in order for us to flyo But they were reluctant dragons

I'll tell you. It got so bad at night that we would take their boots away from them. We would stand alert at night in a trailer. As a matter of fact, the only

air-conditioned buildings on the whole base were these trailers that we would stay in at night, and we would

put

from him. If we didn't, the guys would sneak out and

The T-28, of course, had to have a VNAF [South

the VNAF in

the

back

room and

take his

shoes

away

leave and, when it came time to fly, you wouldn't have

a guy to fly with you. eager at all to flyo

[laughter]

They

just weren't

24

KITTINGER

Z:

The original mission of the Air Commandos was to train the local Vietnamese people to use simple weapons, such as the T-28, comparatively simple weapons a This, in fact, was never in effect in Vietnam, was it?

K:

Not during my tour. Matter of fact, we had no indigenous people working on our aircraft, none whatsoever. They didn't refuel it. They didn't maintain ito They didn't arm it. It was completely done by US military personnel from start to finish. The only association we had with the VNAF was a VNAF sergeant that was our liaison, that we would complain to about the VNAF ob- server that flew in the aircraft.

25

 

KITTINGER

Z:

He

was

sort of their boss?

 

K:

He was

their bosso

He

was

the

guy

that

we would

go

to

and

say,

so-and-so

didn't

show up

or

he

showed up

late,

or he wasn't

ready

to

go

and

so

fortho

 

Z:

What

type

targets

did you strike

in South Vietnam?

 

K:

Every

kind,

every kind.

Villages

that were properly

marked,

troops

in contact,

trees,

sampans,

a variety

boats,

canoes,

elephants,

water buffalo,

of targets.

Z:

You

flew,

what,

day visual

recce

type missions?

 

K:

No recce

at allo

We

had

recce

aircraft that were there o

j

I

t

1

Ours was only strike. We flew about one mission at night per three in the daytime. Most of them were fragged targets. You'd take off and go to a certain

placeo We also flew close air support with the Army, pre-strikes for their assault landings in their choppers and close air once they were landed and after thato There was a variety of missions flown with good ordnanceo We used an awful lot of napalm and SO calibers--just a variety of missions o

26

I

i

j

I

I ~

KITTINGER

Z:

When

supporting

troops

in contact

or Army operations,

you worked with

the

ground

FAC

[forward air

controller]

in this?

K:

No, we worked with both. We worked with airborne and

ground. Some of the airborne were US types; some of them were VNAF types. You didn't know when you went up

what type

of

a

FAC you would

be working with.

Then

 

sometimes you worked with a ground FAC.

 

Z:

You mentioned

frag

orders.

Were

you

targeted by

2d

ADVON out

of Saigon?

 

K:

Yes,

we were.

All

of our missions were

fragged by

them.

Z:

At

anytime,

or maybe you wouldn't

know

at

your

level,

would

the Vietnamese happen to

know where

you were

going

to

strike?

K:

Yes,

pretty much so.

There

was

an

awful

lot

of bicker-

ing between

the Air

Force

and

the Army at

the

high

levels.

Gen Harkins

[Paul

D.]

was

a

senile,

grumpy bastard

that

was

out

to

sink

the Air

Force.

general that--the

relationships

27

We

were

had

an Air

Force

very bad at

high

KITTINGER

levelso

It was

not

so

at

the

low

levelso

We

worked

together

day

in

and

day

out,

and we

got

the

job done

in spite

of the

leadership

at

the

high

echelons o

Z:

lfuen Gen Westmoreland [William C.] came in and General Moore [Lt Gen Joseph H.] came in, there was the dif- ference between night and dayo The whole situation changed overnight to one of not working together to one of cooperation. Those two guys were fantastic com- manders that worked very closely togethero Overnight

the

the lower levels, because we had always worked together and got the job doneo But it made it so much easier for us to do the work. That was a great advance when those two gentlemen came in and took over the Army and the Air Force, respectivelyo We would never have gotten it done with the old administration because they were more interested in fighting themselves than fighting the gooks.

relationship changed o It never changed down at

You mentioned earlier that you learned to like or love the B-26 o Did you feel that it was a good airplane for the type mission you were involved in?

28

 

KITTINGER

 

K:

It was

a

hell

of

a

good

airplane

for

the

type

mission!

It

carried

tremendous

amounts

of ordnance

for

long

periods

of

time.

You

could

get

on

station

and

stay

and

stay

and

stay.

And

that's

what

you

need.

The

enemy

has

to

see

you

above

themo

If

the

enemy

can

see

you,

then

they're

going

to

be

reluctant

to

fight.

They're

going

to

be

reluctant

to

attack.

 

This thought of having a fighter sitting on a tanker, that you call him in, that doesn't deter the enemy

from attacking you. I'm a firm believer that the way to hold down the enemy is to have aircraft in sight, in sound, over the battlefield, and that's what the B-26 gave you. It gave you long staying power, tre-

mendous firepower,

and

a

twin-engine

reliability.

A

 

two-man crew was a very good concept--the pilot with the navigator. The navigator actually was more of a copilot than he was a navigator, and that made a real

good crew combination and a real fine aircraft.

 

Z:

I

was

just going

to

ask

you,

as

a

former

fighter

jock,

what

you

felt

about

having

a

navigator

in

the

right

seat

of your

airplane?

 

29

KITTINGER

The more

Then,

pilot-copilot combination.

help

you've

got,

to

the

better

F-4

fly

off you are.

has

of course,

I

aircraft;

went

the

do

You

a

which

the

airplane,

same

a better

job

a

combination,

safer

you can

lot better

with

that

in my opinion.

Z:

What

types

of ground fire

did you encounter

in South

Vietnam?

 

K:

During that period of time, .50 caliber was usually the largest that we ever had. We never had any 37 milli- meter. A .SO-caliber weapon is significant if it's properly utilized.

Z:

Were

they

fairly

good

shooters?

 

K:

They were very good shooters and their camouflage was just fantastic. You could not see them at all. They really knew how to use camouflage. Of course, they would pick the conditions when they wanted to fight. They were very clever on when they wanted to have a shoot-out, and in most cases, they would usually come out ahead, because they did pick when to fight. I was hit three times with .50 calibers and about three times with small arms. As a matter of fact, I was hit in the

30

KITTINGER

leg

on

one

of the missions

I

was

on,

probably

an M-16

or

something

like

that--small bullet weapon.

But

there

was

ground

fire.

 

Z:

The B-26 was noted for the wings coming off at a cer- tain G level.

K:

Yeso

 

Z:

Was

this

a

problem

over

there?

 

K:

It was.

The

aircraft wasn't designed

 

for what we were

using it for.

The

aircraft was designed for

low-level

Intruder

 

IG

type

maneuvering,

and we were

pulling

two,

two

and

a

half

Gs;

sometimes

you

got

a

little

scared,

and you'd pull

three

and

I'm

sure

four.

 

You

really

had

to have

a

delicate

hand with

the

aircrafto

Yes,

wings

came

off.

 

Yes,

we

had

to

compromise

our

tactics

because

of a known structural

problem

in

the aircraft.

What we

really needed.

really

needed was

a That would have been

SG

B-26.

That's

what we

the

optimum.

 

Z:

Is

this

part of the reason why the

Farm Gate

program

was

terminated?

 

31

K:

KITTINGER

Yes.

over

phase. What finally happened was, during a firepower

demonstration at Eglin AFB, in front of several hundred

Well,

before

no,

then.

that wasn't

We

were

it.

into

Farm

the

Gate

was

really

the pes

next phase,

reporters,

a wing

came

off

on

a

strafing

pass

of all

things.

A wing

came

off

of

a

B-26

in

front

of the

J

J

1.·

rJl

1

whole

assembly,

and we were

grounded

from

bombing with

any

Gs

over

there

 

We

then went

to

bombing

straight

and

level,

and we

came

up

got

with

a

flint-stone

a

protractor

and

a

gun

sight.

One

of our navigators

piece

of baling wire

and

a hank

of hair

and

got

in

the

back

end

of

the

airplane,

 

and

we

came

up

with

a bombsight where we would

drop

a

bomb

straight and level.

We

kept

flying

for

a month

after

wasn't very effective.

that,

just straight and level bombing, but

or

it

so

The only other problem we had with the aircraft was the engine. The engine had a high tension ignition system, and we were continually having engine problems with the high moisture content over there. Mag drops were a common everyday event and the crew chiefs would change

sparkplugs continuously.

had with the aircraft--the engines. Later on in the

That was

the

only problem we

32

A-26,

those

engine

problems

were

removed.

KITTINGER

The

A-26

was

basically

a

maintenance-free

aircraft by comparison

with

the

old B-26.

 
 

Z:

I

was

just

going

to

get

into

the

A-26 o

Forty

airplanes,

 

B-26,

were

sent

to

California

for

retro

fitting

into

the

A- 26K

 

K:

The

B-26K.

 

Z:

The

B-26K.

Would you

discuss

the

conversion?

I

know

,

 

you mentioned here

just a little

bit

on

the

engine,

but would you discuss

the

conversion

on

the

airplane?

 

K:

Well,

it was a fantastic improvement over the old alr-

craft--new engines, with a beautiful ignition system,

new

engines, reverse pitch, which they didn't have on the old B-26. The cockpit was cleaned up and made modern, good lighting and good switches. All the switches were the same, whereas on the old B-26, everyone was dif-

propellers,

better propellers,

higher

thrust

feren. Eight forward firing machineguns versus six

for

airborne, whereas in the old B-26 they were a hand job--

if you could do it.

the

old B-26.

Gun

chargers

where

you

put

could

do

it

There

was

a

strap

on

the wing

33

KITTINGER

 

to improve the maneuvering G limitations on the aircraft. All of the problems that were in the B-26 were taken out. It was a fine piece of machinery--well designed, cheap, put out quickly, a fine product. It really was. All of us loved flying it; I don't believe anybody ever flew the aircraft that didn't enjoy the machinery.

 

Z:

You

returned

to

Southeast Asia when Project Big Eagle

 

in

1966

flying

came

out.

I

 

K:

Well,

in the meantime,

it had changed from the B-26

 

to

the A-26.

 

Z:

Same

airplane?

K:

Same airplane. The designation changed to A-26. We started training in March 1966 for going back over on Big Eagle. We concentrated primarily on night tactics and night ordnance delivery. We had very realistic training. All crews had been over there to SEA

[Southeast Asia]

before

or were

experienced.

They

were all volunteers, and they were highly motivated. We trained from March until June. And in June 1966 I

34

led

eight A-26s

across

the

ocean.

We

KITTINGER

actually

had

two

flights.

I

led

one

flight with a C-97

out

of the

Georgia

Guard,

and

the

second

flight

was

led by Mitchell

with

a

C-97

out

of Tennessee.

Z:

That's

John Mitchell?

 

K:

John Mitchell.

We

flew

across

without

any problems

whatsoever

and

landed within

an hour

of when we had

going

to

land

at

NKP

[Nakhon

Phanom]

proposed we were with no problems

at

all.

 

Z:

How would

you

describe

NKP

at

that

time?

 

K:

It was

the most

remote

base

that

there was o

It

was

very austere. It was rugged living; that's the best I can say. We had a PSP [pierced steel planking] runway, PSP taxi strips. The enlisted men--see our guys worked

in the daytime and slept at night--the maintenance guys.

It was pretty rough on our enlisted troops;

it really

was. We were TDY, don't forget--now we went over there TDY with all of our enlisted guys. Our enlisted guys had been over there before, and they were all Air Com- mandos, and they were really professional. They just did a fantastic jobo An interesting little sidelight--

35

j

j

KITTINGER

when we

got

ready

to

to

leave

be

out

of Clark,

over

Laos

at

Charlie

said,

I

felt

that

as

if we were going

flying

we might

least

well have

caliber machineguns.

ordnance

in our airplanes,

I

and

got

.50-

who was

how

So

sergeants--I

Dave,

one

getting

We

has

anyway,

of our

super

"Charlie,

those

about

some

ammunition

loading

with us,

guns

up."

didn't

any loaded more bombs

even

though

he

have

armorers

and

is

but

than most

Charlie Dave have

armorers

guns

a

crew

chief.

So Charlie Dave went out to the ammo dump and stole,

I

think,

a

hundred

thousand

rounds

of

.50-caliber

machinegun ammunition and hand loaded, himself, eight B-26s, eight guns apiece, on the ramp at Clark. We violated more regulations than they wrote in a year at that time. When we actually left there, we flew across Laos with eight B-26s with machineguns ready to go to war if we had to; not only that [laughter], Charlie Dave had loaded up an additional 50,000 rounds of .50 caliber in the C-97s that we took into NKP with us.

Z:

Your

prime mission

routes

at NKP was

interdiction

known

as

of enemy

Chi

supply

in Laos,

properly

the

Ho

Minh

Trail;

would you

describe

a

typical mission?

36

K:

K:

KITTINGER

Yes. You get in trouble when you describe a typical mission, because typical missions change based upon the time that you were there and the tactics and the resistance and the enemy's tactics also. But we would take off with two flare racks and a variety of ordnance, using the bomb bay, you would have frag bombs or 100 pounders or sometimes even 500 pounders in the bomb bay. And on the wings, oh, it varied. We tried napalm for awhile but the CBUs [cluster bomb unit] ended up to be the best ordnance that we carried.

(End

Side

1,

Reel

1)

We

carried

on coordination with Blindbat,

flares

and

CBUs

the wings.

We

close

which was

worked

C-130A

in

models,

and

these

guys

did

a

fantastic

job.

We

didn't

carry enough flares

really

to

do

a

lot

of flare

work.

We

many.

we

TACAN

used

will

our

flares

sparingly because we didn't have

call

the

Blindbat

radial

out

over

the

and

trail.

that

So we would normally

at

[tactical

meet

say

off of the NKP

a air navigation]

such-and-such

Now

they

had

good

radar

in

those

C-130s,

well not

ex-

cellent,

but

they

had

ground mapping

radar

that was

37

KITTINGER

pretty good, and their guys were well-trained on how

to use

it.

So

we would

say okay we will

meet at

such-

and-such a place on the TACAN. We would fly out

there

and the guy would say, "Okay, I am gOlng to drop

a

flare." We had known interdiction points, known areas,

that we knew were bottlenecks. We knew there was open

terrain that the trucks had to travel through, and they

,

1

I l

,j

1

I

were Alpha,

other places that we had names for--Tchepone. We had

a language of our

They would usually come in and drop a couple of flares and we would be in a position to immediately go down and see if we couldn't find a truck.

Bravo,

Charlie,

own.

We

Delta,

and

then we had

we were

going

knew where

to.

Normally, if you were going to get a truck, you had to get him on the first flare that came out, because after that he would hide and you would never find him. So the first pass, first flare, was the key pointo You would go down and you would look for trucks; you wouldn't find anyone and you would go someplace else

and

until the fuel or ordnance were expended. Normally, the missions would run 3 hours or so, and you flew from

sundown to sunup, allover Laos, usually from Tchepone north up to Mu Gia and Ban Karai passes, and we would

light

another place

of the

trail.

Then you

do

this

38

just run those roads

through

that

area,

KITTINGER

and we

knew

 

every

inch

of

the

road

through

that

area.

 

Z:

Did Blindbat

have

a

starlight

scope

at

this

time?

K:

No,

it did not have a starlight scope,

just strictly

a

ground

radar

and

the TACAN and

the

genius

of their

crews

working

together.

They

carried

a

load

of flares,

and

they

did

a

fantastic

job;

they

really

did.

They

were

a

professional

group.

Matter

of

fact,

I

went

down

and

flew

a mission with

them

to

see

it

from

their

side.

 

Z:

One

of the

complaints

about

the

Blindbats was

that

they

were

there TDY for

very

short periods

and

by

the

time

the

crew

got

to

be

pretty

good

they would go back to

Okinawa

or wherever

they

came

from

and be

replaced by

crew

that wasn't

as

experienced.

Did you

ever

find

this

to

be

true?

 

K:

No,

we

never

had any

complaints with

those

guys.

They

just did a grand job.

them.

We

39

never

had

any

complaints

with

KITTINGER

Z:

How

about

Candlesticks,

were

they

flying

at

this

time?

K:

Yes,

they were.

Z:

Did you

feel

that

the

123 was

a

good backup

aircraft?

K:

We had very limited--well,

I

guess

they

really

 

didn't

the Nail

start until about the time

FACs

out

there

at night

I

left.

too.

We

did

have

We tried a starlight scope in the B-26.

Matter of

fact,

I flew the mission in the back end of the airplane.

I

had a fellow by the name of John Wolf flying the

plane. I picked the best pilot there was in the squadron. If I'm going to fly in the back end, I have to get the best to fly the airplane. We ended up on a very moon- lit night, and I had the starlight scope, and we opened the bomb-bay doors and flew down on the trails I would look for trucks. I didn't see any on the particular

mission I flew this

down the roads spraying the roads with the bomb-bay doors open and me shooting clips of M-16s, and we

air-

night,

and

then we

ended up

going

laughed our heads

this new secret weapon of a B-26 with a tail gun.

off thinking

about

the

go oks

reporting

40

But we

that application.

open the

light scope.

tried

that.

bomb-bay

KITTINGER

We

didn't

a

and

have

rather

look out

any

success

with

do

That's

doors

crude way

through

to

the

it--

star-

Z:

The

26 was

one

of

the

few

aircraft

over

there

that

 

strike without FAC direction.

 

K:

Yes,

we

FACd ourselves.

 

Z:

Normally,

would you

try

to

find

something yourself

until

your

flares

ran out

and

then

join up with

the

Blindbat

or

flareship?

 

K:

No,

usually we liked

to

start right off working with the

flareship

if you got something, you didn't want

to

have

because to pull up

and

drop

your own flares.

You want

to

be

able

to

let

them keep

flaring;

you

just keep

putting

nation

you would

the

ordnance

downo

So

a and normally

it made

real

good

combi-

if you worked together,

desire.

that's what

If you ran out of ammunition--we could

hit better than any airplane out thereo

We

could hit

with more

accuracy

than

any

of the

jets,

any

of the

old

A-Is,

because we did

it

day-in

and

day-outo

I've had

 

41

KITTINGER

A-Is come in that were obviously day people and they

couldn't see. You would see a truck

they couldn't see it, so

trained for night worko It takes special people to do a special jobo You can't take day people and make night people out of themo You really have got to be trained. You have got to get the eyes--you've got to get your whole system attuned to night living and night fighting. It just takes a different type of person.

on

the

ground,

to

be

and

I

found.

You have

Z:

I

imagine

also

the

advantage

of having

a navigator with

K:

More

eyes

looking--the more you've

got helping you,

the

better off you are.

It's

just that

it's

safer

that

way

too.

You've

got another

guy

to worry

about

the

airplane, machinery,

and

to

help manage

the

systems;

the

navigator would flip

the

switches

for

the

ordnance

and

it

allowed

the pilot

to

devote more

time

to

looking

out

and

flying

the

airplane

safely.

It's

just a

lot

better combination.

But

there wasn't

anybody

that

could do

it

as

good as

we

could,

and

if we would run

out of ordnance

and we would have

had

jets,

then we

would have

had to

try

to

put

them

in.

But

they were not

effective.

They were

not

effective.

They

couldn't

42

"

j

l

KITTINGER

see

the

targets;

we

could see

the

targetso

Also,

we

worked down below the flareso Most of these guys weren't used to delivering ordnance at low altitudes; they were used to very steep dive angles, very high pullouts. At night, your visual acuity is based upon slant range, and when you start into a 45-degree

dive angle and you've got to be out by 5,000 feet, you

can't see a truck on the ground. A truck is

very small thing on the ground when you are diving at it, particularly at night when you want to be pulled out a little bit extra tooo So it's just a requirement to have a highly trained crew for night flying.

a very,

Z:

You mentioned that your CBU was •

ordnance

your most

effective

K:

For stopping the trucks.

The

reason was

that you only

get

one

pass

on

a

truck

to

stop

it.

You can't

drop

a

bomb

at

low

altitude;

and what we would

do,

we would

load up our CBUs--you would see a truck running down

the

roado

You'd run

right

over

the

top

of him and pop

the

CBUs,

and

that would stop him.

Now once

you got

him stopped,

The

Machineguns--you couldn't

you could

the most

go back

then

and

try

that we

to

kill

tried.

CBU was

effective weapon

get

the machinegun on them

43

himo

KITTINGER

quick enough. You wouldn't see him quick enough, or you might not have the right dive angle. A lot of

things could be wrong; but you could always get close enough with the CBUs where you could stop the truck,

kill the crew, and be able

trucko So that was the best combination we had. Of course, this was rearward firing CBU out the tubes. That was the best ordnance we had for stopping them.

to

go

back

then

and kill

the

Z:

What

did you think

of the

19-fold rocket

launcher?

K:

It's

fun,

but

it's

not very

accurate.

We

used

Willy

Pete [white phosphorous munitions], of course, in there

to help, but because of the

you just--a truck, once again, is a small target, and

to hit

amongst them. If you have a whole bunch of trucks, you

can't go in and fire economically.

rockets

inacuracy of that

get

down

in

at

one

truck,

rocket

there

it you really have got to

19

Z:

You

didn't

 

bomb?

K:

No.

have

the M-3l

44

or

the 1'1-32

thermite

petroleum

Z:

KITTINGER

Did you

couldn't get what you wanted to

what

ever

have

an

ordnance

expected?

shortage where you

carryon

an

airplane,

you

thought was

K: I guess we occasionally had problems, but I don't think really the whole time I was over there that you could really say that we were, really, significantly affected by a lack of ordnance. I've heard complaints of it; I've seen times when you wanted CBU-52s, and we couldn't get all of them. But normally there was something else that you could fall back on and use. I think that people have overstressed ordnance shortages. I think that you can change your tactics and use what's available. It's

not

to use it the best that you can and do the best you can.

always

the

optimum,

you know.

You have

to

be

able

Z:

How was

the

ground

fire

out

on

the

trail at

this

time?

K:

There's

no

comparison between

the

ground

fire

on

the

trail and the ground fire

in

1962-64

in South Vietnam.

On

the

trail

they

had

37 millimeter,

57s,

CBUs.

They

had

significant

ordnance

on

the

trails.

 

Z:

Which weapon would

you say was

45

the most effective?

KITTINGER

K:

I

would

say

the

37 millimeter

probably was

the

most

 

effective.

 

Z:

What

tactics

would you

take

to

avoid

the

37

millimeter?

K:

Well,

of course,

at night you had the

advantage

in

that

you could

see

them

fine.

They

can't

see you;

that's

the

fun

of flying

at

night.

In

the

day

it's

just the

opposite--you can't

see

them,

and

they

can

see you.

 

So

we had

a

few

losses

at night,

but not

as

much

as

the

daytime.

The

advantage

is

to

the

guy

in

the

airplane

at

night,

if he can utilize

the

terrain and be properly

trained.

 

Z:

Have

you ever worked

in

conjunction with

the

T-28

 

Zorros

[call

sign

of the A-Is]

up

in Steel Tiger?

K:

No,

no we

didn't.

We

did not.

 

Z:

Did you have

occasion

to

see

their

operation

at

all?

K:

No,

they weren't

doing

very much during my stay

there.

46