A big complaint of HoD is the lack of story and why should anyone care about the lighters. I really care about the Vietnam war knowing a few vets, and I think all the actions over there are not very well known. Below is story for each lighter. These could have been provided as an optional short cut scene one could click on each lighter to watch. A real legit cut scene not some still pic comic book crap like the intro and ending (those need to be redone imo). I didn't proof read them too close but I hope you enjoy them.
***Below contains some spoilers for Hours of Darkness and Far Cry 5 as it relates to a common character between the 2.***
The following is a work of historical fiction. Many of military units, bases, missions, and equipment were used in the Vietnam war. Readers are encouraged to look these up and read about the real actions of the poor kids who fought in the rich man’s war (if you had money you could enroll in college for a deferment or move to Canada). All persons in the following are fictional. All their actions are fictional although they maybe be loosely based on anecdotal information.
Hours of Darkness
Corporal Wendall Redler, 1st Squadron – 9th Cavalry – 1st Air Cavalry Division (airmobile), II Corps – Camp Radcliff, An Khe, Vietnam
Cpl Redler manned the M-60 machine gun of the UH-1 Huey. This flight he was flying with WO-2 Carl “Greaser” Vincesca (pilot) and WO-2 Dave “Double DD” Dunbar (co-pilot), callsign Python 2-5, to insert a replacement squad and resupply the reconnaissance platoon that had taken heavy losses the previous week. Command had a report of new enemy activity close to their position so rather than pull them out and replace them with another platoon command decided to augment, resupply and extend their time in the field (to the joy of the troops involved). Python 2-6 was the second ship in the formation carrying the rest of the troops and supplies. Wendall was always glad he was assigned to the Air Cavalry Squadron. It felt less dangerous behind the 60 and being able to fly out of a hot spot. He worried about his friends in the infantry squads of 1st Cav. when he’d drop them off. So far 1st Cav. had losses but not horrendous like some other units. Little did he know the Battle of Ia Drang would change that dramatically.
Cpl Redler was well liked by the members of his unit, and often told them stories of growing up hunting and fishing in Hope County, Montana. Several even talked about following him back there after the war if they made it. The open space and freedom enticed them.
FAC – Forward Air Controller Lighter
Capt. Robert “Robert E. Lee” Sharps – pilot, KIA
1st Lt. Paul “Puke” Green – co-pilot, POW
F-100F Super Sabre “Hun”, Operation Commando Sabre (aka “Fast FACs”), 7th AF – 31st TFW – Det 1 416th TFW, Phù Cát Air Base, South Vietnam
Callsign: Misty 21
Misty 21 was a “fast FAC” meaning they were rapid deployment to scout and mark targets for opportunistic strikes. Mostly checking and marking reports from other units not loitering and making sweeps for targets like the Bird Dogs. Capt. Sharps was returning to base from identifying and marking supply traffic on the Ho Chi Minh Trail with their phosphorous rockets. Only a single small supply convoy today. Capt. Sharps was flying around a SA-2 SAM site when it encountered the AA guns in the valley. Flying for maximum range instead of defense because of low fuel due to rerouting around the new SAM placement Capt. Green was caught by surprise. Breaking hard left at the first gun’s first burst of AA put him head on into the second gun’s burst. The AA scored a direct hit. He held it steady long enough to start the ejection process. Lt. Green got clear in time to safely parachute down, but Capt. Sharps wasn’t so lucky; the “Hun” was too badly damaged and lost altitude too fast. He died due to injuries he sustained by the hard landing because his chute didn’t open completely. Lt. Green was captured and the remainder of the war in the Hanoi Hilton. For his skill in holding his badly damaged plane stable enough for his co-pilot to eject safely Capt. Sharps was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. For his unwavering fidelity to his oath, and inspiring his fellow POWs to stand strong in spite of being severely tortured and denied medical care Lt. Green was awarded the Air Force Cross.
USAF Fighter Pilot Lighter
Capt. John “Scotch” Bryant– pilot, KIA
Capt. Lt. Bill “Wild Bill” Hickam – electronic warfare officer (EWO), KIA
F-105F Thunderchief “Thud”, Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (aka “Wild Weasel”), 355th TFW – 333 TFS, Takhli AB, Thailand
Callsign: Viper 6-1
Viper 6-1 was part of a 4 ship “Iron Hand” mission. Viper 6-1 was the “hunter” with Capt. Hickam, WSO, using special radar finding equipment unique to the Wild Weasel F-105F to detect and locate the locate the Fan Song radars of SA-2 Guideline surface to air missile (SAM) or the Fire Can radar of anti-aircraft (AA) gun installations. While Viper 6-1 could take out the radars with its 2 AGM-45 Shrike anti-radar missiles. Vipers 6-2, -3, and -4 were the real “killers” carrying a mixture of regular and cluster bombs to knock out radars, missiles or AA guns among them. This whole process necessitated flying around and acting as bait for the enemy air defenses, hoping the NVA would risk taking a shot at them. Once a radar was found the group then had to dodge SAMs and AA fire long enough to kill it. Most crews reaction the first time they hear the op briefing is “You’ve got to be sh***ing me!” and consequently “YGTBSM” is embroidered on all their hats. This day they were the defense for the slower moving B-52F “Arc Light” sortie that day. This necessitated being the “First In, Last Out” which was their motto. The group didn’t detect anything until the B-52s were returning to base; they had kicked the hive. The AA guns opened up first. Capt. Hickam was directing Viper 6-3 and -4 to the Fire Can radars when a Fan Song activated and a pair of SA-2s leapt into the sky to the right and another pair to the left of them. The Fire Can radar had fed the Fan Song its initial radar track in order to launch that fast. Viper 6-2 managed to just avoid the 4 missiles but Capt. Bryant wasn’t as lucky one detonated under Viper 6-1. Shrapnel killed Capt. Hickam instantly and knocked out the Thud’s single J-75 turbojet engine. Not even the Thud with its reputation for absorbing hits and still flying could take that blow. Capt. Bryant ejected and safely landed however his emergency radio was damaged in the landing. With the rapid destruction of Viper 6-1, the nearest aircraft Viper 6-2 evading heavy air defenses, Viper 6-3 and -4 targeting the other Fire Can radar no one saw where Capt. Bryant went down in the heavy jungle. With the heavy NVA presence in the area he was quickly located. He was killed by the search team when he tried to subdue the point man to escape. Capt. Bryant and Capt. Hickam were awarded the Air Medal posthumously for their courage under withering enemy fire.
USMC Fighter Pilot Lighter
1st Lt. James “Ramen” Cho – pilot, KIA
F-8E Crusader, VMF(AW)-232 “Red Devils”, Da Nang AB, South Vietnam
Callsign: Hotel 2
Hotel 2 was part of a 2 ship formation to strike the bridge at Dien Dak Lat. Outbound they were ambushed by the AA guns in the valley that the NVA had relocated the night before. The NVA were worried that the locations were becoming known to the US military and expected air strikes any day. Hotel 1 was able to evade the flak. 1st Lt Cho suffered controls damage by a nearby burst. His Crusader was only marginally controllable as he continued to evade the AA guns and chart a course back to base. His aircraft took a direct hit severely injuring him, and he ejected. He was able to land in a clearing and trigger his emergency beacon, while his wingman Capt. Dover in Hotel 1 flew cover of his location. Unfortunately, he was mortally wounded, and he gallantly waved off any rescue attempt to prevent further casualties. He succumbed to injuries before the rescue could arrive. Even though Capt. Dover managed to take out one of the AA guns the area was still too hot, and 1st Lt Cho’s location was marked for remains retrieval once the AA guns were neutralized. 1st Lt Cho was awarded the Silver Star posthumously for trying to bring his damaged fighter back to base under heavy enemy fire and waving off any rescue. Capt. Dover was awarded the Bronze Star with V device for valor for trying to neutralize the AA guns for the rescue and providing cover for the rescue attempt of 1st Lt Cho under heavy enemy resistance.
US Navy Recon Pilot Lighter
Lt. j.g. Eugene “Mean Gene” Smally – pilot, KIA
Lt. j.g. Bruce “Deuce” McCaullay – co-pilot, rescued
RA-5C Vigilante, RVAH-11 “Checkertails”, USS Kitty Hawk
Callsign: Sierra 3-1
Sierra 3-1 was flying over the valley to do a bomb damage assessment of the attack on the AA guns in the valley 10 minutes earlier. Unfortunately, this gave the AA gunners just enough time to reload and get ready again. This process resulted in RA-5C’s having the highest loss rates of the war. With the entire area still on alert the AA guns had plenty of early warning from spotters to get ready along the flight path of Sierra 3-1. With the recent practice on the strike group the NVA gunners knew exactly how to the guns were firing that day also. Lt. Smally could see a little smoke still rising in the distance and headed toward it to get pictures of the damage. He was on approach to the target, trying to maintain constant speed level to get good pictures, when the valley exploded in AA gun fire. Lt Smally held it on the line while Lt. McCaully watched for SAMs and checked the cameras. Lt. Smally had just started to break and evade at the end of photo run when 2 shells exploded close, one on each side. The shell on Lt. Smally’s side sent shrapnel into the cockpit severely wounding him and knocking him unconscious. Lt. McCaulley was wounded and momentarily dazed, but managed to pull the ejection handle. Lt. Smalley came to on the descent. He managed to land and get detached from his chute, but while trying to get to cover his shattered femur cut his femoral artery and he bled out. Lt. McCaulley was captured by a Viet Kong platoon after landing, but he was rescued 8 days later by US Army recon platoon. Lt. Smalley was awarded the Distinguished Fly Cross for his steadfastness to complete his mission in the face of overwhelming enemy opposition. Lt. McCaulley was awarded the Air Medal for his role in the reconnaissance flight and the Bronze Star for Valor for alerting the US Army platoon to his location and resisting his captors in spite of wounds sustained in flight and lack of food and medical attention for 8 days.
Air America Pilot Lighter
CIA Operator Brian “Bullseye” Mendoza – pilot, KIA
CIA Operator Carl “Tree” Lindgren – co-pilot, MIA, presumed dead
CIA Operator Ed “45” McKee – loadmaster, MIA, presumed dead
Hmong Soldier Foom – loader, MIA, presumed dead
Hmong Soldier Kaus – loader, MIA, presumed dead
C-123B Provider, 4802 Joint Liaison Detachment, Udorn Royal Thai AFB
Callsign: Food Truck
Food Truck was an air drop of food to General Vang Pao’s army in Laos. Vang Pao was the ranking Hmong general of the Royal Lao government that was embroiled in a civil war against the communist Pathet Lao. This was supposed to be an easy flight, a “milk run” as they say. The C-123B flying today was due to be converted to the new C-123K, and as such much of the maintenance had been put off to prevent unnecessary down time. With the Hmong taking a beating from the Pathet Lao right now every available cargo aircraft was double booked between all the support drops, troop drops, and medevac missions. But nothing else could be done. The Hmong would be wiped out without the support, so they had to keep flying. They got the food dropped on target and were returning when things went sideways. Engine 1 stalled first which didn’t make anyone feel good, but the cargo was gone and it would fly with 1 engine with no cargo. Bullseye cursed the delay in maintenance and applied rudder to compensate for the unbalanced thrust. Near the Ho Chi Minh trail they encountered a bunch of small arms fire. A Viet Cong supply group wanted to get frisky. They weren’t too worried until engine 2 caught fire. One the VC got lucky. Losing altitude Bullseye had the rest of the crew bailout while he tried to keep it in the air dead stick. Once they were away Bullseye jumped too, but the plane was losing control too fast without anyone at the controls and it clipped Bullseye’s arm and shoulder as he exiting. Shattering his shoulder it also decimated his emergency radio that was in the shoulder pocket. He landed hard trying to avoid a rocky outcropping by using only one parachute riser. He managed to get his chute detached, and was trying to make it to cover to use the second emergency radio he kept in his survival kit when a stumbled and fell next to a Chinese green tree viper. The startled snake bit his exposed injured shoulder. Bullseye tried to get his survival kit out to find something to use, but he knew it was too late. Feeling the effects of the poison already taking hold he radioed in his probable position and situation, and the he waited for the inevitable. CIA Operators Carl Lindgren and Ed McKee, and Hmong soldiers Foom and Kaus were never found. Given the inexact position of the bailout, rough terrain of the area, dense jungle disrupting long range radio, and hostile wildlife it was not unexpected that the CIA operatives were never found. The Hmong having greater experience with the jungle could have more easily survived and drifted back to their original villages. CIA Operators Brain Mendoza, Carl Lindgren and Ed McKee were awarded the CIA Exceptional Service Medallion for service in a hazardous area that resulted in the operatives’ death.
US Navy Pilot Lighter
Lt. David “Texas” Kellner – pilot, KIA
Lt. j.g. William “Danny Boy” Danvers – radar intercept officer (RIO), POW, died in captivity
F-4B Phantom II, VF-92 “Silver Kings”, USS Enterprise “Big E”
Callsign: Romeo 2-2
Romeo flights 1 and 2 were to take out the rail bridge and hydroelectric dam at Khe Dat. It was a typical interdiction deep air support mission. Romeo 2-1 and 2-2 drew the short straw of the more heavily defended dam. Romeo 2-1 was lined up to drop his 2 2000 lb bombs when 4 MiG 17s appeared on radar. Lt. Kellner broke formation to head them off as Lt. Danvers guided him with the radar. Texas got a lock and fired an AIM-7 semi-active radar homing missile at the lead MiG 17. He had to maintain lock so the AIM-7 could hit the target, but the more nimble MiG broke lock and the missile went wide. The other 3 MiGs broke formation at the missile launch and were jockeying for position on Romeo 2-1 and 2-2. Texas and Danny Boy did the best they could to keep the MiGs off Romeo 2-1 while he pickled his load. It was quickly turning into a fur ball with all 6 planes frantically vying for kill shots. Flying over the dam, but unable to line up the run Texas pickled his load to gain agility which the F-4B sorely lacked. The MiGs being at closer range now, almost too close, Texas lined up an AIM-9 heat seeking missile shot, and took cannon hits to the fuselage and left wing for his efforts. Unfortunately, it went wide. The lack of agility, poor hit rate of early air-to-air missiles and lack of a cannon made the F-4B a poor air combat aircraft. The F-4N model added the much needed 20 mm cannon, but it arrived later in the war. Romeo 2 flight tried to break contact and run for home. Texas realized now that the previous cannon hits had crippled his fuel tanks and he wasn’t going to make it to Big E at Yankee Station. Texas and Danny Boy told Romeo 2-1 to book it while they ran cover. Texas kept the MiG’s busy and tried to lead them farther south at the same time. Texas wanted to punch out as far south as he could. Texas managed to score to kills with his remaining 3 AIM-9s before they had to punch out. Danny Boy’s seat left the aircraft as it was struck with AA fire. It exploded into a fireball send shrapnel out in all directions wounding Danny Boy and killing Texas instantly. It was the rainy season and bad weather rolled in shortly after and prevented any rescue attempts for days. Danny Boy managed to evade capture for 5 days. Fever delirium from his badly infected injuries got him captured and taken to a nearby prison camp. The NVA sent word for a Soviet interrogator to be brought in but Danny Boy died before he could arrive. Lt. Kellner was awarded the Navy Cross for his gallantry in the face of a superior enemy force in assuring the escape of Romeo 2-1 at great peril to his own life. Lt. Kellner was also awarded the Navy Cross for his self-sacrifice in assuring the escape of Romeo 2-1 at great peril to his own life and his determined attempt to evade capture and reach friend forces.
USMC “Dumptruck” Pilot Lighter
Capt. Mike “Hammer” Klaus – pilot, KIA
A-1D Skyraider “Sandy”, Da Nang, South Vietnam
Callsign: Sandy 4-2
(this one is pretty far fetched because the Marines didn't fly Sandy's in 'Nam, wtg Ubisoft) Hammer was a F-8 Crusader pilot from the VAQ-33 “Firebirds” on the USS Coral Sea who had recently aborted to Da Nang after getting hit by an SA-2 on his last mission. He was an old school Marine having flew the “Dumptruck” as the Marines called the Skyraiders in Korea. He didn’t tolerate disrespect from his troops and was reprimanded for over-zealous punishment of subordinate infractions. However, he was a “do as I say not as I do” kid of guy, and was never one to ask permission first. He almost made Lt. Col, but a low-level sonic boom over the undergraduate pilot class graduation during the fly over was the last straw, and he was busted to down to Lt. He was good at flying, and pilots were in short supply so he lucked out and was not dishonorably discharged with 18 years in. Hammer hated sitting around but he didn’t have much choice until there was a flight heading back to the Coral Sea. He happened to be hanging out with a couple Sandy pilots in the lounge telling stories of his flights in Korea when the rescue combat air patrol (RESCAP) call came. A Marine AH-1 Cobra providing fire support to a couple of Marine recon platoons that were pinned down by an NVA mechanized infantry company bought it. Da Nang was the closet base that could respond. Vietnam being the cluster it was, and a rescue op caused everything to be dropped it wasn’t hard for Hammer to steal an Air Force flight suit and helmet and yell his way onto 1 of the RESCAP Sandys. He was going to save some of his brother Marines instead of sit on his hands. He ignored the tower and took off before making contact. Of course, he got told to land and that he would get court marshalled if he didn’t, but he didn’t care. They hadn’t thrown him out yet. Finally, the rest of the RESCAP took off and he followed them to the crash site. Like most crashes in close proximity to the enemy the LZ was hot. The Sandy’s were barely beating down the NVA, and they were taking heavy damage doing it. On one pass some not so small arms fire opened up one of Hammer’s fuel tanks already being lower on fuel because he took off earlier than the rest of the flight, and he really wasn’t going to make it back now. But he kept at it, Semper Fi. He had dropped the last of his ordinance so he lined up for strafing run. That run he took a round to his leg. He got the call the The AH-1 crew was rescued and to head for home. The Marine platoons suffered heavy losses, but the additional air support broke the NVA company and they were retreating with heavy losses. Capt. Hammer was trying to get as far back to Da Nang as he could, but he started losing oil pressure not far from the crash site. He leveled the Sandy, unstrapped and pulled the canopy back to bail out. He successfully bailed out, but nearby VC who were on the way to flank the rescue until the NVA called retreat saw the chute. While trying to hide his chute the VC came upon him. He went for his .45 Colt 1911, but it wasn’t there. He didn’t have his survival vest. He had the one he stole from the ready room. The motion of reaching of reaching for the gun that wasn’t there caused the VC to shoot Hammer in a reaction of self-perseveration. Capt. Klaus was awarded the Air Medal for his aerial attacks of the NVA and defense of the Marine recon platoons. Command would not authorize any higher award in light of Capt. Klaus’ actions leading to the battle, and they were reluctant to grant any awards.
USAF Bird Dog Pilot Lighter
Maj. Mark “MJ” Josephson – pilot, KIA
O-1 Bird Dog, 14th Air Commando Wing, Nha Trang, South Vietnam
Callsign: India 5
India 5 was the standard slow forward air control flight opposed to the Misty fast FACs that were to rapidly reach, search and identify targets in an area. This allowed the FAC to loiter longer waiting for targets of opportunity. This flight took MJ over a VC village that was bombed earlier in the day for a bomb damage assessment and for directing additional strikes to support a nearby Army Air Cav platoon. After confirming the village was leveled it was an uneventful flight, just the way he liked it. The Army platoon had not found any targets to be marked for air strikes. MJ decided to take one pass through a nearby valley before heading for home. There were some reports of AA gun activity, but it wasn’t confirmed to be from this valley. Flying over moderately high the little O-1 didn’t make a lot of noise. Then he saw it a couple of 100 mm optical sighted guns just down off the peak of a hill. With the valley in fog most of the time it is probably partially obscured. This battery’s commander didn’t want to confirm his position such a small aircraft. He assumed the fog had him well enough hidden. MJ called it in and requested a strike package. Unfortunately, all the strikes were committed so command took the location for a future strike mission. Turning for home MJ came up on a second well camouflaged AA gun battery. This commander didn’t care if he gave up his position to a small aircraft like the previous battery commander. A kill was a kill. He opened up with both his guns. The flak caught MJ by complete surprise and shredded his right wing. He barely had enough altitude to jump and have his chute open. He landed hard on the uneven terrain breaking his ankle. He managed to drop his chute, activate his emergency radio to call in the position of the second AA gun and call off a rescue attempt until he was out of range of the AA guns. As he hobbled away to find cover, he saw a squad from the AA gun approaching. Back tracking he passed over his chute and ran into a second squad from the AA gun. He took cover and took out 3 of the second squad before being flanked by the first squad. Under heavy fire MJ was wounded 4 times and managed to take out another 2 NVA before being killed. Capt. Josephson was awarded the Bronze Star for valor for his commitment to calling in the location of the second gun, waving off rescue, and his courage under fire from a numerically superior force during his attempted evasion.
Cpl. Redler was treated for injuries sustained during his evasion and escape at Camp Radcliff. However, his wounds eventually became deeply infected due to the lack of exposure to putrid and brackish water exposure. His immune system was likely weakened due to exposure to the chemical agents of Operation Ranch Hand although no one will admit it. With his condition worsening he was flown to Saigon and eventually to Yokota AB Japan for treatment. With the number of sorties he had completed, the points granted due to his awards for valor during his evasion and escape, and his injuries he was granted an honorable discharge. Although many in Hope County believe the lighters him and his fellow 1st Cav. Div. brothers carry are the lighters he found in the jungle all those years ago that isn’t true. After getting stateside Wendall did his best to track down the families of the men he had lighters for. It wasn’t easy records being what they were, and not having the Internet; Wendall did it though. Wendall and his fellow brothers, there just happened to be 8 the same as the number of lighters Wendall found, who loved his stories enough to follow him to Hope County. The 8 survivors engraved their own lighters from their time in ‘Nam as a reminder of those that did not return, the bond they shared from 1st Cav. Div., and their solemn oath to stand against those who would try to destroy America.
Source: Original link
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