"Little Green Bugs"

By Jim Schueckler

My first day of flying in Vietnam, probably January 10, 1969:

I was assigned as Peter Pilot to one of the most experienced Aircraft Commanders. Everything was going just like flight school--quick briefing, we marked our maps, wrote down frequencies, etc.

Crank up the birds, pick up the grunts, take off in formation, head for the LZ.

On final, the Aircraft Commander took the controls and said, "Stay on the controls with me, but I will do the flying, understand?"

"OK, you've got it." (Just like flight school, thinks I.)

Some noise and smoke in the LZ; we dropped off the grunts. Neat: just like flight school, just like I expected. After the formation was back at cruising altitude, I asked the AC about the one thing that I hadn't seen in flight school.

"What were those little green bugs?"

"What little green bugs?"

"When we were on final and down there in the LZ, there were little green bugs."

"Are you shitting me?"

"No, there were a whole lot of little green bugs; and they were going REAL fast."

"You ARE shitting me."

"No, they were there, real fast and real straight."

"Those were tracers."

"Tracers? But they were coming TOWARDS us!"

"Yes, they were coming 'towards' us!"

"Do you mean they were SHOOTING at us?"

"Yes, they were 'shooting' at us." (smugly)

"Oh," said I, the humble newbie.

While we were refueling, the crewchief said on the intercom, "Sir, I think we better shut down to see how much damage we have; some of those little green bugs bit the tailboom.


Copyright © 1994 By Jim Schueckler, All Rights Reserved

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