Guns, MIGs, SAMs, and a Push

Welcome to the seventy-fourth episode of the Lessons from the Cockpit show! I’m your host Mark Hasara, retired KC-135 pilot, author, and entrepreneur!

We laid to rest another American veteran this week involved in one of the greatest air strikes of Air Force histroy. He left his mark on aviation because of his incredible courage in the face of overwhelming enemy odds, innovative technique to save two commrades, and airmanship in pulling off a feat which almost got him court martialed. Twenty-two years later an evaluation board awarded him the Silver Star for his efforts to save lives. On this March afternoon, his target was the most heavily defended piece of real estate in enemy territory. This was the first time a large strike package was allowed to bomb this lucrative target.

And the enemy knew he and buddies flying in a twenty-seven aircraft US Air Force strike package were coming.

This extraordinary photo of a 57th Fighter Interceptor Squadron F-4C Phantom courtesy of and photographer Baldur Sveinsson

This episode of the Lessons from the Cockpit show is supported by the book Tanker Pilot, found in all four formats on Amazon. Tanker Pilot is now listed on General Mike Minihan, Commander of Air Mobility Command, Leadership Library reading list. Thirty-two pictures are included in the book, many taken during the events described in the chapters. The hardback, Kindle and Audible versions have the pictures in color, the softback in black and white.

The Lessons from the Cockpit show is also sponsored by Wall Pilot, custom aviation art for the walls of your home, office, or hanger. You can choose from 136 Ready-to-Print four, six, and eight foot long graphics printed on vinyl you can peel off and stick to any flat surface. Wall Pilot can create your favorite aircraft with your name, tail number and codes, and favorite weapons load by filling out a custom request form. These are very detailed and exhaustively researched aircraft profile graphics which you can read the stenciling on the aircraft and weapons. Go to and order one or two profiles for your home, office, or hanger.

This F-4E Phantom II was part of the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing based out of Takhli Royal Thai Air base during the Vietnam War and is armed for a Surface-to-Air Missile or SAM suppression mission carry CBU-52 cluster bombs dropped on SAM sites to destroy the missiles and launchers. The F-4Es flew in formation with the F-105F/G Wild Weasels which would locate the SAM radars and control vans.

The Republic F-105F two seat Thunderchief accomplished many missions during the Vietnam War. One special mission was flying night time air strikes in a role called Ryan Raiders. This aircraft was assigned to the 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron and painted in the distinctive Ryan Raider wrap around paint scheme. The paint scheme was created by Major Ralph Kuster, Thud Pilot extraordinaire and MiG-17 Killer.

Russian Mikoyian and Gurevich (MiG) fighter aircraft defended the Thai Nguyen Steel Mill on 10 March 1967. The North Vietnamese Air Force flew early model MiG-21 Fishbed fighters like this example assigned to the famous US Air Force Red Eagle squadron based out of Area 51 near Tonopah Nevada.

These two graphics depict the two F-4C Phantoms Bob Pardo and my ROTC instructor Bob Houghton were flying during the event now called “Pardo’s Push”. 

Thanks for downloading this and previous episodes of the Lessons from the Cockpit show found on my website at under the Podcast pull-down box. I really do appreciate all of you swinging by and downloading a show or two. We are over 23,000 downloads of the show now! All episodes can be downloaded from my website. The Lessons from the Cockpit show will soon be moving to its own home and website after the Christmas Holidays.

My family and I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. There will be one more show, maybe two before the end of the year.

Check out this episode!

Mark Hasara

Have a great Day!

Sluggo Sends!

P.S. — If you’re reading my book Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit, I’d really love to hear your thoughts in a review on Amazon here, I read them all.

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