Bull, the FAC
Vietnam 1964

by:Enrique del Rosario
© 2001

USMC Cessna OE Bird Dog single-engined utility aircraft (later designated O-1B)In the latter months of 1964, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 365 (HMM-365) was the only aviation unit the Marine Corps had in Vietnam. Although it was primarily a helicopter unit, its inventory included a Douglas C-117D twin-engined transport plane(an extended version of the R4D or DC-3) and three Cessna OE Bird Dog single-engined utility aircraft (later designated O-1B). The latter were piloted by Marine Naval Aviators known as Forward Aerial Controllers, or FAC. Administratively assigned to HMM-365, these pilots were on "loan" from Marine Observation Squadron Two (VMO-2). The job of the FAC was to provide HMM-365 squadron commander, Lieutenant Colonel Joe Koler, Jr., with the current tactical and meteorological situation over designated areas of operation through aerial reconnaissance and, if authorized to do so, to designate targets for destruction. The FAC, alone and armed with only a .38 revolver, flying low and slow, were an essential part of Colonel Koler's operations and contributed much to the spectacular success of The Magnificent Flying Circus.


Bull, the FAC

by Enrique del Rosario
© 1965, 2001

The Skipper went to the wall map,
To Happy Valley his finger tapped.
"There's a grunt platoon that's fighting here.
Now who would like to volunteer
To see if the VC has set a trap?"

Before anyone could answer that
Came a shout back from where we sat.
"Skipper - ME - let me go
And I will find and fix the foe
And I will tell you where they're at."

Who was that man who spoke so bold -
Who only wore a bar of gold?
Few knew his name in full.
Some referred to him as "Bull",
Or "Bullseye" as some old sergeant told.

Though Bull was new to Three-Six-Five,
He walked the walk and talked the jive,
Just like Marines of legends old -
He tried to fit into the mold
Of the finest fighting men alive.

Each night the Commies hold a rally
At the place called "Happy Valley",
Just a few clicks from DaNang.
For its the home of a rowdy gang
Who are known to all as Victor Charlie.

But off he went in his Bird-Dog plane.
Only a man with half a brain
Would fly into that VC lair
Where beaucoup dangers fill the air.
Was Bull possessed or just insane?

Over paddies low and mountains high,
Through clouds where birdies fly,
His spotter plane sped bravely on.
He found the spot and made his run.
It was time to do or die.

He came in low at tree-top height
And found the grunts in a fire fight.
The ground they held was zeroed in
And return fire was getting thin
With little ammo to last the night.

Straight he flew that flimsy craft
Though bullets drilled it fore and aft.
When lesser men would've turned around,
Or run that baby to the ground,
Bull just sneered and laughed.

Though sweat was running from his pores
He did not waver from his course.
Coming on through shot and shell,
Scornful of this firey hell,
Bull taunted them with a Maggie's Drawers.

He wasn't gone for very long
When the plane turned. Was something wrong?
No - Bull was making another pass!
A grunt shouted, "That crazy ass -
Holy Cow - he's MOONING the Cong!"

Cheers went up from the pinned down troops -
Cat calls, Rebel Yells, and war whoops.
This singular reckless act inspired
Them to get up and brave the fire -
Then that platoon MOONED as a group.

The Cong, they saw this rude display
As evident they'd lost the day.
They ran away for all they're worth
To get back to their home up north
And left the field in disarray.

It won't be forgotten very soon
What was done that afternoon.
Now the legend of the Bull has grown
And Happy Valley be ever known
As the Valley of the MOON.

bar of gold: insignia of rank of a second lieutenant

beaucoup: adopted by Marines from the French to mean the superlative of many (more than a lot); mispronounced "boo coo" and usually the extent of the Marine's fluency in that language

Bird Dog: Cessna OE (later designated O1B) light single-engined utility aircraft used by the Marine Corps in 1964-1965 primarily for aerial observation and control

Commie: Communist

Cong: Viet Cong

FAC: Forward Air Controller; a pilot of a light utility aircraft whose duty it is to control the airspace around a specified target area and to designate targets for destruction by aerial, ground, or naval ordnance

grunt: Marine infantryman

Happy Valley: a lowland area southwest of DaNang, Vietnam, that had been under the control of Communist rebels even before the French Administration demise in 1954

Maggie's drawers: a red flag waved by target pullers (butt pullers) to indicate a complete miss of the target

moon: to bare one's rump to another as an expression of ridicule

skipper: commanding officer

talk the jive: speech mannerism of confident men who have been in combat

Three-Six-Five: Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 365, the Magnificent Flying Circus

VC: Viet Cong; pronounced "vee see"

Victor Charlie: phonetic alphabet for VC, or Viet Cong

Viet Cong: our worthy adversary

walk the walk: a swagger that shows an air of confidence in oneself and disdain for those around him
Report a Broken Link / Photo, or eMail a Comment
© 1995-2023. All Rights Reserved.