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HISTORY - ACCOUNTS - Bob Foley
How low can you go?

While the squadron was deployed to Iwakuni in 77-78 air crews had the occasional chance to get a weekend x-country to Korea (ok), Okinawa (good), or the PI (great).

On one such weekend, our two plane made it to Cubi Point, I guess on Friday afternoon. On Saturday it seemed like a great opportunity to fly a low level (very low level) navigation training flight.

I guess everyone involved knows who the crews were so the names are not important.

Anyway, as we headed back to Iwakuni on Sunday afternoon, we landed at Kadena to refuel and have the planes given a once over by the small maintenance detachment we had semi-permanently stationed at Kadena.

When we went back out to the flight line after filing, the ground crew was quite excited to show us the leaves they were finding, kind of wedged into the sidewinder rails where they bolt up to the inboard wing pylons. As I recall that's 5-6 feet away from the intake and maybe a foot and a half under the bottom side of the wings.

The crew was good about loosening up the bolts so we could get the well wedged leaves out of the pylons. (And not documenting that maintenance event)

I knew we were a 'bit' low over the trees which were on some sort of farm or plantation. They were all very neatly aligned and growing in a nice, orderly fashion on what seemed like miles of rolling, undulating hills. This was somewhere south of Cubi: exactly where I don't recall.

I know the story floated around but never made it back to higher ups (at least no one ever said anything during the deployment)

I guess this was about as low as an F-4 will go without landing.

And it says a lot about the integrity and loyalty of the Marines with whom we served, and kept our Phantoms flying.