Welcome to the OV-10 Shrine, step right this way...
One day a couple of years ago, I decided I'd like to build an electric-powered model of an OV-10 Bronco. What started as a few re-posted pictures on a page on my old web site eventually lead to my becoming a founding member of the OV-10 Bronco Association and the "owner" / webmaster of the largest OV-10 site on the net, OV-10Bronco.Net (where these very pages are located, and one of very, very few sites that have any OV-10 content at all.) As the president of the association, Mike Richardson, said about it: The matter is NOT where I want to take this thing. It's a matter of where it wants to take me!!! Currently it's looking as if it's growing into the de-facto organization to cover a lot of things, not just Broncos... in time I wouldn't be surprised to see it evolve into a Forward Air Control organization. I've never served in the military, and I honestly feel very thankful that I was never called to. But for while combat is a horrible thing that is not to be taken lightly, I have come to have a great respect for the brave men (and women now, of course) that have been willing to put themselves in danger to defend what they believe in. Today it's easy to see the evil politics behind the Vietnam war, or even to find some fault in the Gulf war, or a host of other observations and arguments that one could legitimately make... but the fact is, at any point in time, you must have somebody to defend and execute the military goals of the country. Whether you think we should be in a particular military action or not, there will inevitably be military actions. To be able to make any military action effective, your military must be capable. The FACs are often the guys who control all of that capability, and the more I learn the more I realize that these are some of the bravest people there are. Once in combat, somebody has to be in charge of the battle... this involves flying low, getting shot at, making decisions under incredible pressure, remaining aware of the overall picture, talking on ten radios to every friendly element that's involved and some who aren't, bearing responsibility for all the calls you make, and knowing what to do next based on experience and feelings. Oh, by the way - you have to keep flying your aircraft the entire time until the job is done, you are out of fuel, or you get shot down - whichever comes first.
War is horrible no matter how you look at it, to be sure. But it's a sad fact of life that there are some things in this world that are worth fighting for, and that we sometimes must stand up for them. Politicians and businessmen decide who, for what, and where we send our military to fight. But to those who are sent, the reasons for such decisions pale beside the fact that they won't come home if we don't do a damn good job of any battle we get involved in. Even in such horrible situations as Vietnam - where the reality and horror of the situation was far removed from the ideals cited by those who put us there - were it not for the bravery of the FACs who were just doing their thankless job, we would have lost many thousands more people on both sides, and for that, we owe these people our support and respect.
The OV-10 Bronco, while to me a beautiful and wonderful airplane, is after all just a machine, something created for a specific purpose. It's all those people whose lives have been touched by what it represents that stands out in my mind nowadays. To some, the Bronco represented the eye in the sky that helped them escape death, while to others that same plane was a bringer of death. The Bronco may represent just a utilitarian research platform, a profitable corporate endeavor, or a closed chapter of military history. Some OV-10s save people's lives and homes from the ravages of wildfires, while others help stem the flow of drugs into our schools. Some people think it just looks neat, and others will tell you it's been hit twice with the ugly stick. Sometimes flown in anger, sometimes flown for peace, and sometimes just flown, the OV-10 is but the common thread uniting some of the most incredible and interesting people and experiences I've known. And for that, I am proud to have become a part of the Bronco experience.