reply to post by ghost
In the Spring, 1969, at Ft. Bliss, TX and again in the Summer, 1970, at Ft. Riley, KS I had the privilege of actually firing a Redeye missle. The
first instance was while at the Redeye training school after completing 8 weeks of basic training and 9 weeks of infantry AIT. The second instance was
during a fire power demonstration by the First Infantry Division (of whiich I was a member). At that time, the First was our NATO commitment and we
had two brigades at Ft. Riley and one brigade in Ausburg, Germany.
In or about November, 1970, the two brigades at Ft. Riley were going to Germany to participate in Operation Reforger, a war game training exercise.
The combat units within the division each contained an ADA (air defense artillary) section consisting of Redeye teams. For example, my armor batallion
contained an ADA section which consisted of 11 people. There were four 2-man Redeye teams (8 people), and a ADA Hq section which consisted of an NCO
in charge, an office in charge and a jeep driver (3 people). Virtually all of the ADA sections were skeletal and were in dire need of properly trained
personnel. The Dept. of the Army was unable to provide the division with school-trained, Redeye personnel, so the entire division was short-staffed in
virtually all of their ADA sections. While it was relatively simple to train someone how to fire a Redeye, the ability to train people to recognize
US, English, French and Soviet combat aircraft flying in a combat mission was much more difficult. Teaching them the properly military protocol so
that the person was a safe and effective Redeye "gunner" was equally difficult.
At the behest of our batallion commander, I began working on a training program so that we could train our own Redeye people for our unit. That became
a much more difficult task when we discovered that we had to implement a screening program in selecting the people who would be assigned to the Redeye
unit (it turned out that it took intelligence way beyond what was then the average level of military intelligence to be able to successfully complete
the training program.) When the Division HQ learned what we were doing, I was put in charge of developing and imprementing a division-wide program.
This program first had to develop an assessment mechanism to get the most qualified people, then I had to develop lesson plans, arrange training
staff, obtain locations and times for the training, develop schedules for all of this and, finally a testing program to determine whether or not the
trainees passed the training
As you can see, I had a lot of experiece with the Redeye missle. And, although I have never actually seen a Stinger (the successor to the Redeye) I
have seen them on film being used and they appear to be very, very close to the same size as the Redeye. "Back in the day," to the best of my
knowledge, the Redeye was the smallest anti-aircraft guided missle that existed. Even today, I do not believe the current genre of missles that trace
their origins to the General Dynamics' Redeye of the 1960's is significantly different in size.
Watching the Redeye firing at Ft. Bliss was interesting. Before the Redeye demo, they would show other air defense weapons, quad-50 caliber machine
guns, Dusters that fired two 40 mm cannons and Vulcans, 20 mm Gattling guns that fired 6,000 rounds per minute. There were 2 - 3 of each of these
units on the firing line as a propellor-driven, Arcat drone flew slowly back & forth. They never hit the drone (or at least knocked it out of the
sky). Then they replaced the Arcat with a jet drone called a Firebee. It towed an aerodynamic canister of propane that had a large burner on it about
80 yds behind it on a cable. This was a jet so it was much faster. The Redeye shot at the tow-bee. I never saw one miss except one round that was a
Edited-out private address.
[edit on 1-6-2008 by Skyfloating]