The Amazing Mike Ross

Discussion in 'Modern' started by FLYBOYJ, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    During the services for my father in law I got to meet many of his old flying buddies. One of them was Mike Ross, LtCol USAF Ret.

    Mike Ross flew with my father in law as a B-52 navigator. Eventually Mike went on to flight school and became an F-4 driver. Mike made national news in 1987. Here's the story, taken from two sources...

    22 September - A U.S. Navy F-14A-70-GR Tomcat, BuNo 162707, of VF-74 out of NAS Oceana, Virginia Beach, Virginia, operating from the USS Saratoga, accidentally shoots down a USAF RF-4C-22-MC Phantom II, 69-0381, 'ZR' tailcode, of the 26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, out of Zweibrucken Air Base, West Germany, at 1550 hrs. EDT over the Mediterranean Sea during a NATO exercise, DISPLAY DETERMINATION. Both RF-4C crew eject, pilot Capt. Michael Ross of Portsmouth, Ohio, and WSO Lt. Randy Sprouse of Sumter, South Carolina, both of the 38th TRS, and are rescued by a helicopter from the Saratoga within 30 minutes, suffering numerous injuries. A Navy spokesman said that the F-14 downed the RF-4C with an air-to-air missile, but did not know whether it was a Phoenix, a Sparrow or a Sidewinder. When told by the Saratoga's Admiral that they had been shot down, Sprouse remarks "I thought we were supposed to be on the same side?" to which the Admiral replies "We're sorry about this, but most of the time we are." The Tomcat pilot is duly disciplined and leaves the Navy.

    A F-14 Tomcat downed a USAF RF-4 during an exercise in the Med after getting the call "Warning Red, Weapons Free", which was a standard exercise call at the time (vice Weapons Tight or Hold). The nugget pilot was alarmed by the call and asked his RIO if he was supposed to shoot. The infamous reply was "Yeah, go ahead and shoot em". Of course, the RIO meant making an exercise shot call, but the pilot was not on same wavelength and armed the jet, selected Sidewinder and shot the RF-4. Fast forward....the USS Saratoga plunked the hapless and demoralized aircrew out of the water who it turned out had no idea why their Phantom departed controlled flight and thought their careers were over. When told they had been shot down in error, their morale improved knowing they wouldn't be saddled with burden of losing a jet to unknown causes.


    Mike is a hell of a guy and I'm glad, despite the circumstances, I had a chance to meet him! :salute:
     
  2. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Jees! That F-14 driver was a little too anxious!
     
  3. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Wow! Heck of an incident Joe. To survive an AIM 9 up the chuff, without having the opportunity to attempt evasive action, or eject prior to, or on imminent impact, is amazingly lucky. Deepest respect to Col.Ross and his WSO!
     
  4. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    He has the gun camera clip of this incident with audio - pretty wild!
     
  5. Torch

    Torch Well-Known Member

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    Great story, would even be better to see the vid, must be something..:shock:
     
  6. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Wow that is crazy!
     
  7. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    I remember hearing about this on the news. Must have been a real shock to loose a plane and have absolutely no idea why. Wow.:salute:
     
  8. wheelsup_cavu

    wheelsup_cavu Well-Known Member

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    That would be a very interesting video to see. 8)


    Wheels
     
  9. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    Dang. What a wild trip! :salute:
     
  10. Splash

    Splash New Member

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    I was the guy with Mike Ross inthe RF4C that was bought and paid for by the USN. Good to be here inmore ways than one.

    Thanks
    Splash
    Randy Sprouse
     
  11. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Thanks Randy! Its and honor to have you post on this one. My father in law spoke about this incident on several occasions.

    BTW - do you remember Ken Gingrich? I guess he flew with you guys. These days I work with him. Small world!
     
  12. Splash

    Splash New Member

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    I definately remember Ken Gringich a great individual, very beneficial for me to have been associated with him in the early part of my career. A man I respect a ton, wonderful guy and great aviator. Make sure you tell him I said hello, and if any of you are ever in the Dulles IAP area give me a call I only live about 6 miles from the airport.

    Have a great day and Check 6

    Splash
     
  13. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Wilco Randy! Stop by here anytime!

    BTW - Ken says Hello!!!
     
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