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Wolf FAC

Posted by Jolly on February 3, 2014

A former Wolf FAC, Bulldog, asked us to get this on our site. Thanks for recommendation.

As the SEA interdiction campaign spread to North Vietnam and Laos, slow-moving forward air controllers (FACs), in their O-1s and O-2s,began to encounter intense ground fire. It was then, in l967, that the jet FACs began to take over in high threat areas. A former commander of the Famed 8th Tac Fighter Wing's jet FACs reminisces about these men . . .

Written by Mark Berent

It has been nearly thirty years now since I returned from combat, since I flew my last mission from a fighter base in up-country Thailand. And I'm filled with memories, some sweet, some bitter, but all of them so intense I can recreate any given moment in my mind.

Combat makes indelible marks on a man's spirit, if he thinks more than just gunnery-range thoughts. True, your political philosophy undergoes a massaging, a rethink. Then, eventually, comes an inner affirmation, more solid than you ever thought Stateside: "Yes, I know why I am here." But the down-deep emotional feelings, conceived and born from day-to-day living a war, undergo no such evaluation. They are just there; no chance at metamorphosis, or even redress. You can't change what you've seen and felt, and that's it.

In the bitter and the sweet, the dark and the light of my recollections is one that shines out brighter perhaps than all the rest. It is of a group called Wolf.

When I knew those pilots at Ubon, their radio call sign was Wolf, and they wore a simple "Wolf FAC" flash at the shoulder seam of their flight suits. They called their boss Papa Wolf on the ground and Wolf-Oh-One while airborne. Their F-4 combat unit didn't exist on any organizational chart. It had no unit manning document.

Instead, it was supported entirely by the four fighter squadrons of the Wolfpack of the famed 8th Tactical Fighter Wing. The squadrons supplied the aircraft, the maintenance, and the weapons people.

They also supplied the carefully selected, full-time pilots and navigators who flew the Wolf mission. Although they came from different squadrons, you couldn't find a more closely knit fraternity of fighter pilots than those fast-moving forward air controllers (FACs) who flew their jet fighters along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, in a role traditionally belonging to the slow-movers."


Posted by NoSlack on
I'm having drink, a drink to the heroes you flew and fought over Vietnam
Posted by StuM on
Mark has written two most excellent books '"Steel Tiger" and "Storm Flight" that are available on Amazon, I'm sure., Also, "The Last Wolf Home" by the late, great Wolf 05, Pat Clark is another good read on the "Woofs"

Stu Mosbey
Wolf 03
Posted by condor on
In my second tour, I was assigned to the 497th Night Owls at Ubon. We flew the same mission as the Misty's, patrolling the trails North into RPIII, and even a few into RPIV. We did it as a two-ship, with one working low as the OWL FAC, and the other as top cover with immediate strike capability. The partnership worked well, as the OWL rooted around in the weeds under a flare while Twop took out the ground fire and/or trucks, etc. Not much has been written about the OWL FAC's, which is too bad, as the guys were excellent at "doing it at nite." Night interdiction and strike control was a real art. I personally believe we saw the first SA-3 GOA fired by the North Vietnamese. B. V. Johnson (RIP) was the OWL that night and it was a spectacular experience. It missed. Great dialogue, guys. Keep it up.

Jim Quick
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