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Lobbing a doo-doo bomb at the Gooks

Okay, this one’s just too hilarious not to put up here.

It’s True! A toilet was used as an aerial bomb during the Vietnam War

On November 4, 1965, some Vietnamese came across a very strange object that looked as if it had been dropped from the sky. Was it a bomb? Well, it had tail fins and a nose like a bomb. But it was white, and shaped like – a toilet?

It was a toilet in fact. It had been dropped by a VA-25 A-1 Skyraider on a mission to the Mekong Delta in South Vietnam. It had come from Dixie Station, an aircraft carrier base in the South China Sea. The plane’s pilot was CDR Clarence ‘Bill’ Stoddard.

As Stoddard approached his target, he began preparations for attack. He read the ordnance (list of weapons the aircraft carried) to Forward Air Control. At the end of the list, he read ‘and one codenamed Operation Sani-flush.’ What was Stoddard talking about?

The story of the toilet drop was told by Captain Clint Johnson, the pilot of another VA-25 A-1 Skyraider. The toilet was a damaged one that was going to be thrown overboard anyway. But some plane captains decided to rescue it, dress it up to look like a bomb, and drop it in commemoration of the 6 million pounds of ordnance that had been dropped by the U.S. Air Force. The Air Control team said it made a whistling sound as it came down, and that it had almost struck the plane as it came off. A film was made of the drop using a video camera mounted on the wing.

Just as the toilet was being shot off, Johnson said,’ we got a 1MC message from the bridge, “What the hell was on 572’s right wing?” There were a lot of jokes with air intelligence about germ warfare. I wish that we had saved the movie film.’

I can’t believe nobody at the storied Strike Fighter Squadron 25 (Fist of the Fleet) DID; it would speak very poorly indeed of all involved if they didn’t. But knowing Navy combat aviators as I do, and I do, I’d be willing to bet that CDR Stoddard at least might’ve glommed a copy for himself, which is probably still floating around (ahem) out there somewhere—making it the absolutely coolest family heirloom in all human history. I certainly hope that’s the case, anyway.

Before you ask, yes, there are pictures, and They. Are. Good.


Too, too perfect.

All this talk of the Able Dog and pictures and such-like practically demands a re-link of this old post, wherein you’ll find pics of one of the greatest experiences of my entire life, to wit: actually piloting one. It was arranged for me by my late, lamented cuz CPT Reggie “Regbo” Carpenter, God rest him.

See, Reg had an older friend who just happened to be the proud owner of an A1D, an Able Dog enthusiast scheduled to be flying at an annual airshow up in Hickory that Reggie had been instrumental in founding and running.

Reg didn’t tell me so beforehand, but as it turned out setting up a free-of-charge ride in a Douglas Skyraider would be just the beginning for me that fine day, the sneaky bastid. Although that would certainly have been enough and to spare, I would’ve been more than satisfied with it.

To my eternal delight, Regbo’s bud had me help out with the preflight walk-around when me, my cousin Mark, and my brother presented our giddy selves at the A1D’s assigned parking spot for our gratis check ride. I was then asked to fill out the preflight checklist form once I’d gotten myself strapped into the right seat.

Perhaps it was the pilot’s subtle way of making sure I knew at least something of what he’d soon have me doing, I dunno. If so, I wouldn’t blame him at all for his judicious exercise of caution. I was a complete stranger to this guy; whatever assurances Reg may have given him to the contrary, for all he knew, he was about to relinquish complete command and control of his cherished, expensive, and increasingly rare (3,180 built, fewer than 20 still airworthy) aircraft to a clueless noob who knew no more about flying a plane than most people do about the construction of a tokamak reactor.

Once we were wheels-up and level, he offered me the stick, whereupon I murmured a duly-stupefied “co-pilot’s airplane” through a grin so wide I nearly swallowed my own ears. After letting me ferociously toss that surprisingly-nimble pig all over the sky for a good twenty minutes or so, he pointed down to a house below (visible through the port cockpit window in one of the pics from the earlier CF post) and said, “See that house down there? That’s where my daughter and her husband live. Pilot’s airplane,” thereby assuming command of the trusty old warbird again.

From there, we racked back around to enter the landing pattern, which was crowded with a flight of three vintage Stearman biplanes in the queue ahead of us as we were coming out of the break onto final ourselves. A pic of them through the canopy:


The pilot was having trouble spotting the Stearman flight and asked me if I had ‘em visually, which I did after a moment’s scan of the airspace ahead. I then acted as his eyes in the sky, literally, helping to walk him all the way to a gentle, trouble-free touchdown—the most deflating, depressing part of every flight, for every aviator.

Because that’s the sad, sad moment, see, when it hits you that the fun is truly over, until the next time you’re privileged to take to the air once more, and truly live again.


3 thoughts on “Lobbing a doo-doo bomb at the Gooks

  1. Well, I’m jealous. I’ve never flown in a WW2 bird, much less had the controls.

  2. I just hope it was loaded with the proper content before drop.

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