We were doing Air to Air gunnery on the rag at the water range near Matagorda Island. Had an explosion and FIRE WARNING LIGHT coming off the firing pass. Turned toward the beach and hoped and prayed I would make land before I punched out. I did and landed in a clump of trees ( the only trees in a 100 acre field). I crossed my legs and ended up about 12 inches from the ground. Chopper with resident Flight Surgeon aboard returned me to Foster Air Force Base.
Like all good flight surgeons, Doc Sullivan had some combat liquor rations in the medical kit and I was served a couple of doses. Arrived at the hospital and gave a statement which had to be redone the next AM because the board president could not decipher the first one. He said it was somewhat slurred.
~ Peach Vanek