The F-100F was the original Wild Weasel, and it was followed by the F-105F/D Thud during the Vietnam War. I remember seeing Thud Weasel patches with the words “Wild Weasel – YGBSM!” For those who are not familiar, that stands for “You’ve Gotta Be Shitting Me!” After all, the mission of the Wild Weasel was to piss off the Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) operators enough to turn on their radars and start shooting. They were playing the ultimate game of Chicken, and losing was not a desired outcome (i.e. being shot down, captured, or killed). The origninal game plan was using Hunter/Killer tactics with dumb bombs and rockets. Winning meant hitting the site with cluster bombs and rockets from the Killer fighter before SAMs timed out from the Gomer on the ground. Weasel EWO's would find the radar site with state of the art electronic gadgets and then pass the info to the the Killer wingman. Hence the patch, YGBSM! Any mission that has a blood thirsty Ferret with a copious capacity of hunting and killing vermin absolutely kicks ass! Check out this old video on the Weasel mission and judge for yourself:
I've had many friends who’ve flown the Wild Weasel. Most of them in the F-4G. The first weapon developed for killing SAM radars was the AGM-45 SHRIKE. It was a modified Aim-7 Sparrow with a seeker cranium that homed in on SAM radars. It was followed on by the AGM-78 STARM and finally todays weapon the AGM-88 HARM. When our Weasel brothers would target the Varmin SAM Radar you would hear the call "Shotgun" or "Magnum" over the radio. It was a welcomed call, as you knew the SAM operator was soaking up seat cushion in the Chicken game with an inbound HARM. As Charlie Sheen would say if he were a Weasel driver, Winning! The radio call alone was often followed by the Vermin SAM site turning off the radar. There are many War Stories during the last 40 years of Fighters being targeted by SAMs, and then calling "Shotgun" or "Magnum" over the radio resulting in the Gomer on the ground shutting down his radar.
I actually started out my career in the back seat of an F-4E and had several of my B-Course buddies go back through a six month course at Mather AFB to become an Electronic Warfare Officer (EWO). Buddies like The Flying Hawaiian (Gil Z). Gil was a true pal. When I was dating my future wife in the 80s, I flew a T-38 in to meet her at Mather AFB one weekend when Gil was going through EWO School. Gil was nice enough to lend me the keys to his Q room so I could lower my rather high white count. Unfortunately, Gil shared his kitchen with another bro who had his wife in town. Sadly for Gil, they walked in on a mature engagement and thought I was Gil. When I met Gil back at the club, I told him I had some good news and some bad news. I said, "the good news is I feel a lot better, the bad news is ---well let’s just say you have some esplaining to do to Lucy." In true Weasel fashion, The Flyin Hawaiian said "YGBSM right?"
I also had the privilege of flying with the 389th Fighter Squadron T-Bolts when I was at Mountain Home in the 390th. The T-Bolts flew F-16CJs which were the follow on to the F-4G. It was the first Weasel that was single seat. The Weasel mission was always a two-seat mission prior to the CJ, mainly because finding and targeting SAM sites was a full time job and it gave the pilot time to concentrate on not being a dead duck for some SAM operator trying to win the Chicken game. The CJ’s really did a great job, but even they admitted it was tough duty doing it single seat. Most who flew both feel the F-4G had a superior system to find and target SAMs. Up for discussion if you want to roll in on it. Here's another video that takes a look at Weasel history from the Thud to Viper. It's pretty infromative, but the clown doing the talking seems to think the Weasel mission can be single seat because of the F-16's fly by wire system. What does that have to do with the making the Weasel mission single seat? YGBSM right!
So here’s to all you True Men of Genius --- "Mr. Wild Weasel Ferret Dude who has a copious capacity to hunt and kill sorry SAM vermin bastards.” This Buds for you.
You struck a nerve with this one, my friend.
Brings back huge memories as one of only 2 1Lts to become WW pilots in the Vietnam war era (Bob Gatliff the other).
We were too young so we couldn't go to the weasel schoolhouse at Nellis, so we got an in-country checkout with an experienced Bear in the rear.
Checkout was 10 rides, 9 in combat!
Once we got past that, we were turned loose and were usually teamed up with the newest Bears to arrive at Korat. The Sq CC said it was to give them "real" experience…….
One of the videos on the site was at Takhli, and Bob is in it along with Will Snell.
Man, I'm ready for a reunion!
Say hello to Sky King for me at your next Weasle reunion.