5. Demon 32 Going Down In Flames By David Ayers
Before I give any statements, I want it understood that if this is ever used in a court of law, that I was a "Devil" with the best AHC in Vietnam (and other bordering countries). Therefore, I was completely out of my mind from Jul 70 - Jul 71 and was thus legally insane.
I would like to clarify some of the story about my attempt to become the first ace of the North Vietnamese military. In reference to my having shot down Demon 32 with a flechette (i.e."nails") 2.75" rocket, I plead guilty as charged. Lt Offutt had been riding my backside about how lousy the Devils were in trying to hit a given target. One night in the O Club, he laid it on particularly heavy. I decided that "enough is enough"; and told him on the next CA that he was lead ship, I was going to put a rocket up his ass. As luck would have it, my mission for the next day was to cover a CA which was being led by none other than my really truly close friend--Tom Offutt/Demon 32.
We had been encountering a lot of command detonated mines recently and also mines stuck on poles in the middle of probable LZ's. Through experience, we (Gunnies) had determined that the best way to defeat these mines was to have the “Guns” shoot either nails or proximity fuse rockets. We thought this would take care of several problems for the slicks without exposing them to undue danger. For prep on the LZ, we fired a combination of just about everything we had since the area was reported to be extremely hostile with possible booby traps. As I normally did when I was AC, I loaded nails in the right pod and high explosive rockets in the left. When the slicks were on short final, I decided to put a few extra nails in the far right corner of the LZ just to make sure that we had the slicks (and grunts as well) covered as best we could. I then fired one of those crazy rockets that go where they decide to go. Every once in a while you get one like that whose trajectory is not anywhere close to where you're aiming. As fate would have it, the rocket came out of my right pod and decided that Demon 32 was fair game.
From that point on, the history text has it about as close as I can remember. Of course, I always told Tom that he was damned lucky to have survived what the VC/NVA had placed in the LZ for him, and very lucky to have had me covering him. For some reason, my crew chief and gunner thought the incident was pretty funny but swore they would never tell the truth.
Last modified: Monday June 27th, 2022