USS Midway VA-25's Toilet Bomb
For those too young to remember, during Viet Nam conflict, carriers were So woefully short of ordinance that missions were often launched with only a half load just to keep the sortie rate up so that the REMF's in DC would not send out blistering messages about failure to support the war effort, etc.? Given that the loss rate approached, and sometime exceeded, one aircraft a day, all will understand that there was a degree of reticence to launch with less than a full load -- if I must dance with the elephant at least let's make it worth while.? Nevertheless, the indomitable spirit of the carrier aviators, and their squadron-mates, prevailed in some rather perverse ways (see below).
I have every hope that today's successors to the mantel left at the Cubi "O" Club bar persevere as well.? Kick the tires, light the fires, bolt for the blue and brief on guard -- last one up is lead.
Back in Nam, I know you weren't on USS MIDWAY in Oct 1965, but thought you'd get a kick out of one squadron's ingenuity.
Yes, this really happened Once again history is stranger then fiction, and a lot funnier:
USS Midway VA-25's Toilet Bomb.
In October 1965, CDR Clarence J. Stoddard, Executive Officer of VA-25 "Fist of the Fleet", flying an A-1H Skyraider, NE/572 "Paper Tiger II" from Carrier Air Wing Two aboard USS Midway carried a special bomb to the North Vietnamese in commemoration of the 6-millionth pound of ordnance dropped. This bomb was unique because of the type... it was a toilet!
The following is an account of this event, courtesy of Clint Johnson, Captain, USNR Ret. Captain Johnson was one of the two VA-25 A-1 Skyraider pilots credited with shooting down a MiG-17 on June 20, 1965.
"I was a pilot in VA-25 on the 1965 Vietnam cruise.
572 was flown by CDR C. W. "Bill" Stoddard. His wingman in 577 (which was my assigned airplane) was LCDR Robin Bacon, who had a wing station mounted movie camera (the only one remaining in the fleet from WWII).
The flight was a Dixie Station strike (South Vietnam) going to the Delta.? When they arrived in the target area and CDR Stoddard was reading the ordnance list to the FAC, he ended with "and one code name Sani-flush".
The FAC couldn't believe it and joined up to see it. It was dropped in a dive with LCDR Bacon flying tight wing position to film the drop. When it came off, it turned hole to the wind and almost struck his airplane.
It made a great ready room movie. The FAC said that it whistled all the way down.
The toilet was a damaged toilet, which was going to be thrown overboard.
One of our plane captains rescued it and the ordnance crew made a rack, tailfins and nose fuse for it. Our checkers maintained a position to block the view of the air boss and the Captain while the aircraft was taxiing forward.
Just as it was being shot off we got a 1MC message from the bridge, "What the hell was on 572's right wing?"? There were a lot of jokes with air intelligence about germ warfare.? I wish that we had saved the movie film."
Thank you Jim Rice for sending these photos.
LEAVE IT TO THE U. S. NAVY TO GET RESOURCEFUL thinking.....Proves the statement about the AD Skyraider..."The Workhorse of the fleet"....Great plane....