It's 1968. The war in Vietnam is being waged with all the technological might available to a Western nation. In the South China Sea, located at "Yankee Station" off the coast of North and South Vietnam, lies part of the U.S. Navy's Seventh Fleet. Tonight, two Grumman A-6A Intruders from Attack Squadron VA-35, the Blank Panthers, launch from their home carrier, the "Enterprise," to wage battle with forces of the North.
On this night, tropical rain has given way to the moon above and the flight crews are now flying by visual references and their altitude instruments which are glowing with the red night lights on the panel. The North Vietnamese radars are sweeping the sky for targets. Peasants will fire hand held rifles at the passing noise of the fighters. Anti-aircraft guns and SAMs lurk around the next bend in the river. But for now, all is tense quiet. One more moment to gaze at the beauty which is flying. It's really paradoxical, something as stunningly lovely as flight, mixed with the arresting starkness of war. Many are the combat veterans who found themselves questioning the validity of their perceptions.