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USS Midway

VA-25's Toilet Bomb
(Updated June 2014)




 

The original source for this page is Troy Prince, www.MidwaySailor.com, with story by Clint Johnson.  Thanks to Ed Lipman for finding it.

This little piece of Vietnam history will make you smile and it seemed appropriate to put it in the Humor section.  It's related as told elsewhere on the web.  Video at the bottom of the page.

"We gave them everything we had..... EVERYTHING!'     A true story from VA-25.  Just as this AD was being shot off, we got a 1MC message from the bridge, 'What the hell was on 572's right wing?'

According to Squadron Historian Holt Livesay, on 4 November on the last mission of the 1965 cruise, CDR Clarence W. Stoddard, Jr.,  Executive Officer of VA-25 "Fist of the Fleet", flying an A-1H Skyraider, NE/572 "Paper Tiger II" from Carrier Air Wing Two aboard USS Midway carried a special bomb to the North Vietnamese,  It was to commemorate the 6-millionth pound of ordnance dropped. This bomb was unique because of the type... it was a toilet!

toilet1a

 

For those too young to remember, during the Vietnam conflict, carriers were so woefully short of ordinance that missions were often launched with only a half load toilet4just to keep the sortie rate up so that the REMF's in DC would not send out blistering messages about failure to support the war effort, etc. 

Given that the loss rate approached, and sometime exceeded, one aircraft a day, all will understand that there was a degree of reticence to launch with less than a full load.   Nevertheless, the indomitable spirit of the carrier aviators, and their squadron-mates, prevailed in some rather perverse ways. Yes, this really happened. Once again history is stranger then fiction, and a lot funnier.


The following is an account of this event, courtesy of Clint Johnson, Captain, USNR Ret. Captain Johnson was one of the two VA-25 A-1 Skyraider pilots credited with shooting down a MiG-17 on June 20, 1965.  

572 was flown by CDR C. W. 'Bill' Stoddard. His wingman in 577 was LCDR Robin Bacon, who had a wing station mounted movie camera (the only one remaining in the fleet from WWII). toilet 5

The flight was a Dixie Station strike (off South Vietnam) going to the Delta. When they arrived in the target area and CDR Stoddard was reading the ordnance list to the FAC, he ended with 'and one code name Sani-flush'. 

The FAC couldn't believe it and joined up to see it. It was dropped in a dive with LCDR Bacon flying tight wing position to film the drop. When it came off, it turned hole to the wind and almost struck his airplane. 

It made a great ready room movie. The FAC said that it whistled all the way down.  The toilet was a damaged toilet, which was going to be thrown overboard. 

One of our plane captains rescued it and the ordnance crew made a rack, tail fins and nose fuse for it. The squadron flight deck checkers maintained a position to block the view of the Captain and Air Boss while the aircraft was taxiing onto the catapult.  Just as it was being shot off we got a 1MC message from the bridge, 'What the hell was on 572's right wing?'


Video by Russell Falb, via Ken Young, the son of James E. Young, who was the Plane Captain of NE 572.  Originally, this old piece of film was silent, so music that just seemed appropriate was added.   To our knowledge there were no BDA reports.  


1 minute video