Have we got some awesome video content at OV-10 Squadron? Wow!
From the boneyards back to the sky, Mike Manclark of Newport Beach, CA is regenerating an entire squadron of OV-10 Broncos back to the sky. An interest in one aircraft led to a fleet of eight with three having already completed restoration. Two are currently serving as live fire platforms with operational M-60 machine guns with a multiple bomb rack for strafe and target spotting roles. The third is currently for sale with advanced avionics suite, upgraded engines and propellers. From the jungles of Vietnam, the Sands of Desert Storm, Cocaine fields of Columbia, the DMZ of Korea, Manclark’s airframes are rare warbirds with documented provenance and wear the sheet metal patches from actual combat damage. Perhaps even more rare these fifty year old light attack platforms are still live fire capable.
“White Lightning” has sold to a private individual in Europe and soon she’ll be flying “over the pond” to live with her new owner.
2018- Fifty years later she is tired. Her bushings worn, wires cut, bullet holes hastily patched, corrosion sets in. As her paint fades we set out on a journey this year to bring her back into service. As our Vietnam Veterans age too, they deserve to share the story of the close air support on the Mekong Delta. Patrols around The Parrots Beak, assaults on the Plain of Reeds, the heavy-hitting punches of 5″ Zuni Rockets clearing the way for Navy SEALs who are surrounded.
The Bronco in Vietnam was there for downed airmen. Troubled Infantry, reassured by the rapid response Black Ponies. Outgunned riverboats. Helicopter Escorts, and spotting targets for the heavy bombers and fast-moving jets.
- TT 10500, 120HR SM IRAN
- LE TTSN 3397 TSO 763
- RH TTSN 1825 300 SMOH
The narrative of the Black Pony pilots who distinguished themselves in the Mekong Delta during the Vietnam War includes sad, comical, horrifying, and heartbreaking elements. Using their turboprop Broncos to fly “down and dirty, low and sluggish,” they killed more enemy soldiers and saved more allied lives with close-air support than all other navy squadrons combined during their three years of service. Kit Lavell, the author, was a member of this squadron of “black sheep” who were given an opportunity to establish a name for themselves by flying these deadly missions. Light Attack Squadron Four (VAL-4) was the US Navy’s only land-based attack squadron, flying support missions for counter-insurgency troops, SEALs, and ally groups with borrowed, propeller-driven OV-10s. They were risky, unusual missions for fixed-wing aircraft, which readers rapidly grow to admire