L19 Bird Dog Recon Story - Bill Kelly
 
An event that occurred at Herzo one night in the summer of 1950 provided days of cheerful talk around the base.  An L19 Bird Dog recon aircraft began circling the base in an apparent effort to land in the pitch of darkness, this in spite of the revolving red light on top of the highest hanger warning of danger.  The duty officer's fruitless effort of flashing Morse code on his jeep's headlights not to land, of course, went unheeded.  That pilot HAD to land as he was out of fuel. 

Well, the plane landed.  The pilot had flown blindly down through all the antennae and guy wires without touching a single one.  Later, at the officers' club when he was told what he had accomplished, he rather pooh poohed the duty officer's description of his feat.  He had no idea as to the extent of the obstructions he had luckily glided through. 

The next morning, after obtaining fuel and gassing up AND ignoring the advise of his newly made Herzo friends not to try taking off through all that wire and steel, the pilot quickly rammed the throttle forward and just as quickly clipped a wing. So now he was forced to take that advice. A flatbed truck was brought in to ferry off the "Bird Dog", the pilot riding away as copilot of the truck.

This story probably already appears on one of the sites, but I took the chance to send it along, just in case. 

Bill Kelly  Aug. 1,2000


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