12 October 1966 – Capt James H. Bradley and Capt Walter C Hersman were both assigned to Bien Hoa AB in Vietnam. Bradley was flying F-100F #563869 on a mission over SVN to locate a Vietcong concentration. In his backseat was A1C T. Tatnall. Here’s the story from James.
It was Columbus Day, October 12, 1966, and I was “Dice 13” leading a flight of three F-100s on a mission to the Mekong Delta, 240°/27 NM from Can Tho. The purpose of this sortie was to check out a new CBU using “willy peter.”
I was flying an F-model (56-3869) with a photographer, A1C T. Tatnall, in the back seat. Over target, we flew down a canal taking pictures of the other F-100s releasing the CBUs into the Hooch line.
After a fourth pass, I saw a sampan speed down the canal. The FAC, David 24, radioed, “It has to be an officer because its motorized. Get him, if you can.” I made a 45° pass with a 20 mike-mike and hit the sampan. The occupant was leaning over the tiller with the craft doing 360s in the middle of the canal. On the second pass, I sunk the sampan, pulled the aircraft left off the canal, and was told by the FAC I was taking fire.
We were hit. Both of the flight controls failed at the top of an Immelmann and the stick froze. All I had left were the rudder and throttle. I flipped the radio to Guard Channel and I’m pretty sure everyone in South Vietnam heard me answer the photographer when he asked what to do with his camera, while I explained bail-out procedures. After ejecting from the aircraft they were rescued uninjured. (To see the full Caterpillar story go to https://supersabresociety.com/biography/james-h-bradley/)
On the same day, Capt. Walter C. Hersman was flying F-100D #553809 when his aircraft was hit. Hersman was serving with the 531st Tactical Fighter Squadron. His aircraft was also hit by gunfire and he ejected. Walt was rescued uninjured. By June of 1967, Hersman had flown 300 missions in the F-100.