PROPOSAL FOR PEACE
This chapter is accompanied by a video recording of the actual "Heads Up Display (HUD)" tape made during the events described below. To see the following video clip, you must have RealPlayer installed on your computer system. Click here to download this player for free.
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Click here to view the Chapter 33 HUD Tape.
I arrived at the squadron and walked upstairs to the planning room. Shortly after 22:00, Maj. Marsh walked in excitedly. "Hey, guys, come take a look at this
Maverick video. Stitch just finished debriefing his sortie, and you'll be amazed at what he did."
Everyone stopped what they were doing and walked over to the intel shop. A crowd of people, including Sweet Pea, was gathered around the television.
"What's going on?" Lips asked.
"Watch this tape, and you'll see," Sweet Pea replied.
He pushed the play button and a picture of Stitch's right MFD appeared
on the screen. After a few sweeps of the GMT radar, a small line appeared on the scope. Stitch slewed his cursors over the target and locked it up. A few seconds later, he switched the VTR from the right MFD to the HUD. The desert floor was clearly visible in the FLIR, and there was a road on the right side of the screen that ran to the northwest. As Stitch descended through 24,000 feet, I noticed the TD
box near the bottom of the HUD, just to the left of the road.
"I'm locked on a mover just west of the steerpoint," Stitch radioed.
While he continued to descend, I glanced at the instrument readings in his HUD. The nose of his jet was fifteen degrees below the horizon, and his airspeed approached 375 knots. In the bottom right-hand corner, the distance to the target read thirteen miles.
"I've got a single mover moving west in the desert," Stitch radioed again. "I'm gonna plan on firing on this one two."
"Two will support," Ensign replied.
"Okay," Stitch continued. "He's got tracks behind him, so he's probably
an APC or a tank, and he's heading to the west toward a bunch of revetments."
Everyone in the room stared at the television, waiting for something to happen. All of a sudden, a flash of light appeared on the left side of the screen. Stitch had just fired his first missile. The target was only 4.5 miles away, and sparks from the Maverick's exhaust lit up the FLIR. Moments later, Stitch called up the video to his second Maverick and
switched his VTR back to the right MFD. Everyone gasped as a close-up view of the target appeared on the screen. It was an armored personnel carrier, and the infrared picture was extraordinary. The bright, white image of the APC made it stand out against the cool, black desert background. The infrared detail was so precise that even the track marks (the heat generated by the friction of the wheels against the
sand) stood out. It suddenly dawned on me that this APC was going to explode right before our eyes. The first Maverick would reach the target within seconds, and we were watching a close-up view of the same target courtesy of Stitch's second Maverick.
"The Iraqis in that APC are about to be toast," Stinger said glumly.
A Maverick missile seen a split-second before impact
(click on image to see a larger copy)
A bright white object appeared on the left side of the screen. The Maverick missile struck the left rear of the APC, which disintegrated. A fireball of white light filled the screen as molten pieces of hot metal rocketed skyward. This was the first time any of us had seen such a vivid picture of death.
"Splash the mover," Stitch radioed calmly.