Chuck Shaheen – Caterpillar Club

Chuck ShaheenOn August 17th, 1968, I launched on my last Misty (Super FACs) Mission with Dick Rutan in the back seat of the ol’ F-100F into Route Pac 1. Dick was on his 105th mission which was a record number of Misty missions up to that time.

We found a truck park about 20 miles inland near the Quan Qui River and were directing some F-100s into the park. They were not hitting the targets. I was in a hurry to destroy the trucks and return to searching for two Mistys that had disappeared the day before (coincidentally the front seater was on his last mission as well), so I rolled in to strafe the trucks. I was pretty low and slow, but we hadn’t received any significant ground fire, so I lit the burner and pressed in to finish the job. As we pulled off, Bam!

We were hit underneath the aircraft! There wasn’t any thought in my mind except to head for the sea. With the fuel tank leaking like a sieve, we finally had to bail out bout 20 miles out, over the Gulf.

We were picked up separately about an hour later without any significant problems other than abrasions, contusions, and bailout traumas. The Jollys returned us to Da Nang and later that night we were returned to Phu Cat!

~ Chuck Shaheen