We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
F-16, call sign Stroke 3, dodging 6 SAM launches during Desert Storm
As the package proceeded to the Iraqi border the weather become steadily worse until everyone was in the weather, unable to climb out into the clear. As planes got out of position, the package finally broke out into the clear just past the Iraqi border. At this time, a large calibre AAA gun began firing on the aircraft. The AAA consisted of extremely large airbursts that looked like big black rain clouds. The AAA, coupled with the confusion of sorting out the package formation, resulted in 25% of the package being sent home at that time. Meanwhile the package, now a 12-ship, pressed on to Baghdad.
As the flight approached the Baghdad IP, AAA began firing at tremendous rates. Most of the AAA was at 10-12,000ft (3,658m), but there were some very heavy, large calibre explosions up to 27,000ft (8,230m). Low altitude AAA became so thick it appeared to be an undercast. At this time, the 388th TFW F-16’s were hitting the Nuclear Research Centre outside of the city, and the Weasels had fired off all their HARMs in support of initial parts of the strike and warnings to the 614th F-16’s going further into downtown went unheard. The F-15’s also provided air cover and departed with the first part of the strike group. Again, a warning that went unheard. Without knowing it 614th TFS F-16’s were all pretty much alone in downtown Baghdad with no air cover and no electronic support assets.
A low overcast deck covered the northern portion of the city which extended south to the point where the AF Headquarters and the Republican Guard Headquarters were mostly obscured, and the package commander, Maj. John Nips Nichols, called a weather abort for those two targets. The southern portion of the city was clear, and the oil refinery was clearly visible to Crud and Stroke flights. As they approached the action point to roll in on the refinery, an SA-2 launch warning was received. The fighters turned to honour the threat missile launch warning, and some SAMs were seen in the air, but they were not an immediate threat. The remaining F-16’s each pinpoint bombed separate refectory towers on the site, and set the refinery ablaze. The destruction was so complete that the flames from the refinery were seen on Cable News Network (CNN) film for the next two weeks.
As the initial SA-2 launch warning faded however, Maj. ET Tullia, Stroke 3, received additional SA-2 and SA-3 acquisition warnings that went unheeded as he rolled in on the towers. The high angle diving delivery, combined with the on-board ECM pod delayed a full SAM missile system acquisition until he pulled off the target and turned south. As the missiles closed, ET's tape reveals the screams of the radar warning receiver into his headset of a missile launch. The missiles overshot and harmlessly detonated above his aircraft, and he turned back to the egress heading.
Multiple SAMs were launched at the package, some ballistic and unguided and some tracking with a full system lock-on. In spite of this, some members of the package refused to jettison their bombs until clear of the city to avoid possible damage to civilian non-combatants. One of the missiles guided toward Clap 4, piloted by Capt. Mike Cujo Roberts. A missile break warning sounded over the radio and Cujo saw the missile as it guided towards him. It passes behind his aircraft and detonates, and Cujo believes he is safe until his aircraft begins to pitch over and he loses control. As the jet approaches negative 1'g', Cujo ejected over downtown Baghdad. No one observed an ejection, nor saw a 'chute.