We received an interesting email from legendary Bronco historian Mike Verieramri with some findings. Thanks Mke!
“I note you have recently uncovered Cliff Acree’s name on ‘418 – attached a picture I have come across showing the original aircraft and names – thought it might be of interest. Given the context, it’s quite poignant.
Cliff is famous for VMO-2’s epic deployment to Desert Storm – not wishing to miss the war he flew the squadron right across the USA, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Middle East rather than wait for seaborne transport.
Apologies for the pause in comms. I’ve been deep in the intricacies of the German target tugs (fastest Broncos ever built) and trying to piece together the amazing story of the DoS aircraft fighting drug cartels in Columbia (reads like a Tom Clancy novel!). ‘418 was one of those aircraft if I understand it correctly? Looking at the picture on your site I hadn’t realized that they just painted over each layer. I don’t suppose anyone in your paint shop would have an FS595 reference for that blue? (apparently ‘Law Enforcement Blue’ is not an official description, just a name someone thought of).
Also, I’ve been talking to some Vietnam pilots and documenting the Combat Dragon II missions. Assembling the full Bronco story is proving fascinating but rather like trying to put together a jig-saw that has moving pictures and a lot of sky! This means that the rough lists etc I sent you already have much more information to add. My aim remains to produce a narrative that the whole Bronco community (over five decades worth) will recognize their part in and, hopefully, even if they know the aircraft well, find interesting….so no pressure then!”
The United States Navy has a longstanding tradition of using Forward Air Controllers (FAC) to coordinate air support during military operations. These personnel are trained to communicate with pilots in the air and guide them to their targets on the ground. However, the Navy’s Airborne FAC program has been under scrutiny in recent years, with some arguing that it is outdated and unnecessary in modern warfare. The program’s defenders argue that it is an essential component of naval operations and provides crucial support to ground forces.
Those who advocate for the continuation of the Airborne FAC program argue that it provides a level of support that cannot be replicated by other means. They argue that FACs provide critical intelligence on enemy positions and can direct air support in real-time, which can be the difference between success and failure on the battlefield. Moreover, FACs are able to operate in areas where ground-based controllers may not be able to, such as in mountainous terrain or over water.
Opponents of the program argue that advances in technology have made the Airborne FAC program obsolete. They point to the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and other airborne sensors that can provide real-time intelligence on enemy positions without putting personnel at risk. They also argue that the cost of training and equipping FACs could be better spent on other programs that are more in line with current military needs.
The debate over the Airborne FAC program is a complex one, with valid arguments on both sides. Ultimately, the decision to continue or discontinue the program will depend on a variety of factors, including the strategic priorities of the Navy, the effectiveness of alternative methods, and the cost-benefit analysis of maintaining the program. While tradition and ceremony are important considerations, they must be balanced against the needs of modern warfare and the realities of a changing global landscape.
READ “FOR THE SAKE OF CEREMONY: SHOULD THE U.S. NAVY CONTINUE ITS AIRBORNE FORWARD AIR CONTROLLER PROGRAM?” by TREVOR PHILLIPS-LEVINE AND ANDREW TENBUSCH at War on the Rocks
We are back in production restoration on 155418. During some fuselage sanding a new set of names was revealed. Pilot Lt Col C.M. Acree, Commanding Officer of VMO-2, and AO, CWO-4 G.L. Hunter.
Both ejected 32 years ago on January 18th, 1991 while flying a mission over Southern Iraq/Kuwait in OV-10A 155435.
They both had a successful ejection in the LW3B Ejection seat, however, Col Acree suffered a neck injury. CWO-4 Hunter had some head-face injury from shrapnel from the SAM hit on the left boom engine. Both were then captured by Iraqi forces and held as POWs until the end of the war.