twenty minutes after we complete our attack.
In less than a minute, our four-ship descends from 20,000 feet to 300 feet above the ground while accelerating to 480 knots. As we maneuver across the desert
floor, my head swivels as if it's on a spring - checking left, right, forward, rear, high and low for enemy aircraft. As we approach the target area, our flight lead, Capt. Scobey "Sudds" Suddreth, calls out, "Fuujin 21, check cameras on HUD, master arm on!"
"Two!" "Three!" "Four!" each of us answers.
My eyes focus on my element lead, Captain Tim "Bopper" Bopp, as we approach the action
point. Exactly 4.5 miles from the target the two of us snap into a hard right turn. As soon as we roll out, I pull the nose of my F-16 up to a climb angle of 30 degrees. During the ascent, I use my left hand to hit the chaff dispense switch, sending multiple bundles of shredded aluminum into the air. The chaff diverts radars from anitaircraft artillery, surface-to-air missiles, and air-interceptor command guidance systems away from our jets.
As soon as I
see 4,900 feet in my HUD, I roll into 120 degrees of bank and make a five-G turn toward the target.
"Fuujin 24 is in!" I call out.
After we drop our bombs, our four-ship descends back down to 300 feet and egresses to the south. After a hard fought engagement with an enemy MiG-29, our formation crosses back into safe territory. We begin to climb, and then "Sudds" terminates the low level.
"Fuujin 21 flight, knock it off!" he radios. Our training mission is over.
The date is 2 August 1990. I'm a member of the 4th Tactical Fighter Squadron's Fightin' Fuujins, representing the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing from Hill AFB, Utah. My friends and I have been participating in a Green Flag exercise at Nellis AFB, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The first chapter of Vipers in the Storm will put you in the cockpit of an F-16. You'll
experience the thrill of flying 300 feet off the ground at speeds in excess of 500 miles per hour while being stalked by enemy fighters.
After the mission, which is designed to train American fighter pilots how to fight in a desert warfare environment, you'll learn the shocking news my friends and I had been given: Iraq forces had just invaded the country of Kuwait.