HIGHWAY OF DEATH
This chapter is accompanied by a video recording of the actual "Heads Up Display (HUD)" tape made during the events described below. To
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This video clip is best viewed after reading the actual chapter in Keith Rosenkranz's book, as he describes in great detail the sounds and
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Chapter 36 HUD Tape.
As I took off my patches and scarf, I removed myself from the emotional issue of killing Iraqi soldiers. I knew what was expected of me, and my attention was now focused on completing my mission
effectively. My objectives were the same as they had been since my first combat mission: destroy target, meet delivery parameters, maintain mutual support, and survive!
"Captain Keith Rosenkranz ... Dane 05 ... 3205 alpha ... Two AGM-65 Delta Mavericks ... Takeoff time 16:35 ... TOT range 18:30 to 19:00 ... 27 February '91 ... And tail number 416. Hopefully, this will be the last day."
I level off as soon as I reach 5,000 feet. There are one, two, three -
eight vehicles heading north along the highway! The only thing saving these poor bastards is the weather. The target is less than three miles away and it's a tank. The turret and gun are clearly visible, but the damn pointing cross won't stop flashing. Finally, the missile reaches its gimbal limits and breaks lock. While climbing through 6,000 feet, I call out: "Okay, I'm off... I'm gonna mark." I hit the mark button on my
up-front control so I can circle back and hit the same area. There are a lot of tanks down there, and I'm determined to get one. I continue west for ten miles, then circle back for another pass. As soon as I lock another target, I hit the uncage button and call up my Maverick
video. Like the pass before, the weather is terrible. I slew the missile tracking gates over the target and lock it up. For the second pass in a row, I've locked an Iraqi tank. Unfortunately, the pointing cross is still flashing. If I hit the pickle button, the missile will go straight into the ground. I continue toward the tank until the missile breaks lock.
I cannot believe this is happening to me. I've never seen such a
target-rich environment, and I can't get my damn missiles to lock. If a miracle doesn't happen on these next two passes, it looks like I'll have to take them back to Al Minhad. I roll out heading 140 and lock another target on my radar scope. With my left thumb, I slew the Maverick tracking gates along the highway, searching for another tank to lock. The weather is still poor, but there's a large truck in the
Maverick field-of-view, and it looks like it's pulling a flatbed trailer. It could be a Scud launcher! I continue toward the vehicle, but the missile won't lock. There's another vehicle right behind it, so I slew the Maverick over it instead. It looks like a recreation vehicle. The pointing cross goes steady. But just as I'm about to hit the pickle button, it begins to flash again.
"Dane 05, say status," Jackal radios.
"God, they're all over the place! I'm gonna make another run."