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