Yesterday marked forty-nine years to the day since the first success of the Wild Weasel concept in the skies over North Vietnam. In honor of that accomplishment which established the foundation of the modern SEAD/DEAD mission, we bring you the story of the very first kill on a surface-to-air missile (SAM) emplacement by two of the very first United States Air Force aviators to earn the Wild Weasel name.
The video picks up with a description of the initial frustrations in Vietnam and loss of aircrew. Stay tuned, as it includes an interview with (at the time) Captain Allen Lamb and Captain Jack Donovan as they describe the first SAM kill.
“We knew now that yeah baby, every time you turn that SAM on your hand may tremble, because there may be a Weasel coming right down your throat.” – USAF Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Allen Lamb
Weapons spent and the target destroyed, Lamb led SPRUCE flight back to Korat in a formation resembling a V–for victory. The F-100 led a pair of F-105s on each wing, which was a clear sign to those below that the Weasels had found success. While the celebration was well underway at the O’Club, a cabled message back to Washington, D.C. read “Weasel Sighted SAM – Killed Same.”
While the kill was widely celebrated, it was not known who did it or with what, as the Weasel project was still classified at the time. The Weasels paid a high price in Vietnam, as 5 of the 7 F-100s were eventually lost. For what seemed a suicidal mission, Donovan coined the phrase “You Gotta Be Shitting Me” which still serves as an unofficial Weasel motto to this day.