In war, there are moments that an enemy is vulnerable. We often think of these in terms of physical combat. However, there are other forms of combat that significantly affects an enemy by causing them to waste time. I had the pleasure of watching one of these moments.
The base I was stationed at was a Tactical Reconnaissance Wing located in West Germany. The mission was to fly the RF-4C near enemy forces to spy on them in real time. Given the base’s location, it was selected to operate another mission. American’s never miss an opportunity to mess with the enemy and this would be a classic troll.
Almost every Air Force base is plagued by civilians that are “plane spotters”. These civilians will park their cars and watch the planes take off. Some even keep log books of the tail numbers of these aircraft. In the days before the internet, the plane spotting clubs would share this information. For a spy, you can deduce where the planes go, how many there are, and even the range of these aircraft. We knew that among the civilians there were spies.
The scene of the troll is a hanger that was located at the far end of the base. It was almost always unused, and close enough to the fence that it could be observed by the rotten commie scum. To make things even more curious the hanger door would open up just a bit. And if you looked real close you could see part of an aircraft that was painted flat black. Just little parts, like a wing tip here and there.
Starting in early November the hanger became active, but only at night. Every night the lights on the hanger would come on and the sound of mechanics working inside could be heard. During the day, there were guards located on the hanger. Since commies can’t stand being teased we noticed an increase in “plane spotters” even when our planes were not flying.
It was finally the big day. The Friday after Thanksgiving. Dignitaries arrived, base personnel and their families arrived. There were balloons and all sorts of decorations. Finally, the hanger doors were pushed open, and what to our wondering eyes should appear, but a Sherpa prop driven supply plane, painted flat black with a big round red nose. In the pilot’s seat was none other than Santa Claus. The kids went wild…the parents cheered…and a noticeable groan was heard from outside the fence. Poor Ruskies.
And that is how the Air Force trolled the Soviets.