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vans at each of the two radar sites within 5 or 10 seconds of each other. Within about three minutes, the rest of the radar sites had taken fire and the buildings were in flames. The mis- sion was a perfect success. The Iraqis now had no eyes to see with over a large portion of their border and a coalition air armada streamed into the country above our two helicopter for- mations. I do not believe anybody detected our initial wave of fighters going into Iraq. We had no hits against our helicopters; however, we did


take some fire, Corby Martin’s formation did have a couple of SA 7’s fired at them. The SA-7’s seemed to be fired accurately. The crew members of the Pave Low called out the inbound missiles. Berrett Harrison and Terry Null made the call for the helicopters to break and to jettison some flares to decoy the missiles. The flares did not seem to be effective as the missiles did not swerve at all toward them. The jinking of the helicop- ters plus the IRCMs, seemed to be what made the missiles miss the helicopters. Everybody returned, although a little bit fright- ened by the experience, safely. Kingsley’s formation went to Ar’ar to refuel and stood


by for search and rescue operations, while Martin’s formation refueled in the air and returned back to Al Jouf. Tom Trask and Tim Minish took their crews and airplanes over to Rafha to stand by for search and rescue operations, out of Rafha into central Iraq. We were very surprised that there were no shoot- downs reported to us the first night. We learned later that one Navy plane went down under fire with the wingman reporting it exploded and no expectation of a survivor. My expectation was two percent losses among the fighters. These were realistic expectations that I think all the generals had signed up to. Also, the strike aircraft achieved an almost perfect success rate on hitting their targets. That made for a lot of success down the road in the war plan. We like to think, and we do believe, that the first mission against those radar sites had something to do with the great success that air power enjoyed in our strike and fighter operations over Iraq. This history remains incomplete until I finish the story


of the part played by Bobby Jenkins who had volunteered to come in from his retirement to try to help. Well as I said previously, Bobby arrived in Saudi a little later than I’d promised; he got there after Christmas on the 28th of December instead of before Christmas. He briefed in on all the ways we were doing business with Larry Hunter and Dick Pinkowski. I went into the month of January with Ski and Bobby as the ranking flight engineer and the ranking gunner. They worked over the training schedule for classes on the threats, how many gun training flights, and how many


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desert landings and air refueling we needed before the UN deadline in the middle of January. Also, they ensured that all the tent areas were cleaned up, including the snack bar which was seeing a lot of traffic during the cold weather of winter. When the war began I flew into Iraq, crossing the border


about 45 minutes before the first bombs would fall on Baghdad. I was watching the helicopter in front of me; piloted by Mike Kingsley, it was the first coalition aircraft to cross the border. Among those in Kingsley’s six man crew were Ski and Bobby Jenkins, leading the way as we finally got onto the road which would get us home. I couldn’t help but pause in my work as Leonik’s co-pilot and think of Bobby, the most voluntary of volunteers, and of Dottie. I said a short prayer for his safety. The next day when I finally had done all my debriefs and


reports, I left the offices back at Al Jouf and I drove to our bar- racks after about 39 hours without sleep. Upon arriving in the parking lot, I pulled up beside Bobby who was standing beside a barrel stirring burning trash. I asked him if he’d slept any. He said a little, but the hootch was getting dirty and he needed to get rid of the trash. He said he liked to have a fire on cold winter days and the warmth felt good. Although he hadn’t felt it during the flight the night before, he said he really had a chill when he got back, said he couldn’t sleep much when the place was dirtied up and needed cleaning. I walked around the corner toward the door and ran into Ski, carrying a bag of trash. He said we had only been in this new barracks for two days and the place needed a GI Party to clean it up. He said the guys will be waking up soon and all the enlisted crews not taking up the rescue alert tonight will be assigned detail duty to get things cleaned up. I walked then into the kitchen area and MSgt Mike Lael was sitting at the table writing out the detail assignments. He left a blank in there for an officer to be assigned to partici- pate each day on cleaning up the kitchen. He said that the pilot schedulers had agreed to put a name in on each day to have the officers help out with the housework. Things being under control, I went to bed.


All photos of Pave Lows courtesy of the Pave Low community and Vince A. DePersio Fall 2011 │ AIR COMMANDO JOURNAL │ 17


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