In contrast to the Korean War, fought a decade earlier, the U.S. Air Force used the naval A-1 Skyraider for the first time in Vietnam. As the Vietnam War progressed, USAF A-1s were painted in camouflage, while USN A-1 Skyraiders were gray/white in color; again, in contrast to the Korean War, when A-1s were painted dark blue. In October 1965, to highlight the dropping of the six millionth pound of ordnance, Commander Clarence J. Stoddard of Attack Squadron 25 (VA-25), flying an A-1H, dropped a special, one-time-only object in addition to his other munitions – a toilet.
Once again history is stranger then fiction, and a lot funnier: USS Midway VA-25’s Toilet Bomb
The following is an account of this event, courtesy of Clint Johnson, Captain, USNR Ret. Captain Johnson was one of the two VA-25 A-1 Skyraider pilots credited with shooting down a MiG-17 on June 20, 1965.
“I was a pilot in VA-25 on the 1965 Vietnam cruise. 572 was flown by CDR C. W. “Bill” Stoddard. His wingman in 577 (which was my assigned airplane) was LCDR Robin Bacon, who had a wing station mounted movie camera (the only one remaining in the fleet from WWII).
The flight was a Dixie Station strike (South Vietnam) going to the Delta. When they arrived in the target area and CDR Stoddard was reading the ordnance list to the FAC, he ended with “and one code name Sani-flush”. The FAC couldn’t believe it and joined up to see it. It was dropped in a dive with LCDR Bacon flying tight wing position to film the drop.
When it came off, it turned hole to the wind and almost struck his airplane. It made a great ready room movie. The FAC said that it whistled all the way down. The toilet was a damaged toilet, which was going to be thrown overboard. One of our plane captains rescued it and the ordnance crew made a rack, tailfins and nose fuse for it. Our checkers maintained a position to block the view of the air boss and the Captain while the aircraft was taxiing forward.
Just as it was being shot off we got a 1MC message from the bridge, “What the hell was on 572’s right wing?” There were a lot of jokes with air intelligence about germ warfare. I wish that we had saved the movie film.