"Misty" was the call sign used by the F-110F Fast Forward Air Controllers (Fast Fac's) during the Vietnam War. There were 155 pilots officially assigned to fly missions over North Vietnam from June 15, 1967 to May 19, 1970. 21 other attached pilots flew occasional missions. There were also Intelligence Officers, Flight Surgeons, and Maintenance Officers assigned. It was a small, tight knit group of people given a difficult task in a terrible war.
Misty began with 16 pilots and four aircraft as Detachment 1, 416 Tactical Fighter Squadron, Phu Cat Air Base, Vietnam on June 15, 1967. It's official name was "The Commando Saber Operation".
The Misty mission was to interdict men and materials headed to South Vietnam and to prevent SAM (Surface to Air Missile) deployment in their area of responsibility.
The general tactics employed by the early Mistys included: staying fast, 400-500 knots; continually "jinking" (changing flight path direction every 5-7 seconds; the time of flight for a 37 mm round); and staying at 4500' or above, unless making targets, participating in a RESCAP (close air support for a rescue mission), or taking a close look at a particular target. Violating any of these rules dramatically increased chances of being shot down; observing them was by no means a guarantee of safety.
Of the 155 Mistys, 34 (22%) were shot down. Eight others were shot down when not flying with Misty. There were seven KIA, and four became POW's. There was also one Medal of Honor recipient, two Air Force Chiefs of Staff, six General Officers, a winner of the Collier Trophy, a winner of the Lewis Bleriot Medal, a recipient of the Presidential Citizen's Medal of Honor, and the first man to fly non-stop, un-refueled, around the world. By any measure this was an unusual and exceptional group of men. Col. Robert R. Craner, the man we honor here was one of those unusual and exceptional men.
At the height of the Vietnam War almost 550,000 American and 800,000 South Vietnamese battled the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong in pitched battles on the ground and in the air. Over 300,000 American troops were wounded. A total of 650 POW's returned from the war. Four were Mistys:
Bud Day ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Bob Craner ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Guy Gruters ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? P.K. Robinson
A total of 58,229 names are engraved on the Vietnam War Memorial "Wall" in Washington D.C. Eight were Mistys:
Howard "Howie" Williams
Michael "Mike" McElhanon
John F. Overlok
Laurent "Lee" Gourley
Jefferson "Scotty" Dotson
Patrick "Pat" Caroll
Lawrence "Larry" Whitford
Bob Craner's story is intertwined with their story, and it is to him and this exceptional group of men that we humbly pay homage. The Mistys are more than a legend. They are the finest example of those who have come forward and gone in harm's way when our Nation has called.