"Commando Sabre" is the project's official name, however, it is known by its call sign "Misty Fac".
"Commando Sabre" is the project's official name, however, it is known by its call sign "Misty Fac". The operation began a year ago when first tests were run with the F-100 "Super Sabre" jet to see if it could be used as a Forward Air Controller (FAC) aircraft in areas of North Vietnam's southern panhandle dominated by enemy anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) and surface-to-air missiles (SAM) making propeller-driven aircraft practically inoperable in these areas.
The "F" model of the "Super Sabre" was chosen for this duty because of the two seats in the aircraft, which enables the man in the back seat to look for targets and ground fire while the pilot flies the plane.
The F-100 proved it can survive in the hostile environment of enemy territory while functioning as an effective Forward Air Controller. The "Super FACs", as they were beginning to be called, were in for good.
The F-100 "Super Sabre" can stay over targets for extended periods with the help of KC-135 airborne fuel tankers for in-flight refuelling outside the danger area.
The "Misty FAC" crews are also involved in reconnaissance missions, and carry cameras for photographing areas where it is often impossible to spot the target with the naked eye. These photos also made it possible to carefully compare the landscape and target areas from day-to-day to note any changes which might not be noticed by the spotter.
The information from the photos is relayed to Headquarters, 7th U.S. Air Force in Saigon for use in directing future air strikes into the area.
A hand-held, motor drive, 35 mm camera has been adopted for use by the "spotter" in addition to the aircraft's reconnaissance cameras.
The missions begin approximately two hours prior to take off with briefings for the pilot and spotter detailing the current situation in target areas.
On the flight line, the pilot and spotter go through the routine of checking out the aircraft and prepare for take off.