THE MICHIGAN DAILY
sunday, January 14, 197w
PO§e Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Why bombing accidents occur
T e 'cehe
$AIG N (A') - A Vietnamese
radio operator gets "three" mix-
ed up with "two." A radarman"
slows his target blip to the
wrong spot on his computerized
screen. An overworked tech-
nician miswires a transistor.
That's all it takes for a bomb
to drop on the wrong target or
the wr ng people. What's remark-
able is not that it happens but
that it doesn't happen more of-
If it takes place in S o u t h
Vietnam the U.S. Command will
report - usually belatedly - a
"friendly fire incident," a eu-
phemisim for killing or wounding
American or South Vietnamese
troops or civilians. Such an inci-
dent was Monday's mistaken
bombing of Da Nang Air Base.
in which 10 Americans and a
Vietnamese were wounded. Pre-
liminary investigation indicated
somebody confused the target
with the primary reference point
- the Da Nang Air Base.
Last July, the month of t h e
heaviest U.S. air strikes in South
Vietnam in 1972, U.S. "friendly
fire incidents" killed 19 South
Vietnamese soldiers and wound-
ed 76. That month there were
five accidental bombings in more
than 14,400 strikes, or one in
WASHINGTON (P) - A special
Senate committee, chaired by Sen.
Walter Mondale (D-Minn.), s a i d
yesterday an extreme racial and
economic segregation of schools
in this country is mutilating the
spirit of millions of poor and mi-
Schools attempting to remedy
the consequences - vastly unequal
educational opportunities - a r e
hamstrung by their worst money
pinch since the depression, t h e
In a 440-page report culminating
three years of hearings, the com-
mittee called, for a national com-
mitment to socio-economic and ra-
cial integration beginning in t he
earliest grades and for greatly ex-
panded federal aid to schools.
The committee was unequivocal
in its endorsement of racial a n d
economic integration, including a
cautious use of busing as one tool
to achieve it. It also was plain-
spoken in saying such integration
Is far-fromtoday's reality.
The committee cited three prin-
cipal, interrelated causes of un-
equal education in the U n i t e d
States. These are: a severe econo-
mic and racial segregation of most
students outside of the South; an
unfair labeling of students by back-
ground rather than by their ability
or potential which almost insures
their failure; and what the panel
called a spectacularly inequitable
distribution of. funds which usually
guarantees that poor children at-
tend poor schools and rich students
attend rich ones.
The committee recommended a
combination of strategies and pro-
grams, accompanied by substan-
tially increased federal financial
underpinning of schools and in-
centives to persuade systems to re-
examine and reform themselves.
Gilbert & Sullivan
Come to a
ii MASS MEETING '-'
nearly 2,900. But a U.S. spokes-
man said the average was only
one in nearly 8,000 strikes for the
nine months after the North
Vietnamese offensive started on
An air strike can go wrong for
any number of reasons.
Pilots claim that in most cases
of accidental bombing they hit
the target they were instructed
to hit, someone else fouled up.
Only under severely limited cir-
cumstances is the pilot of a U.S.
tactical jet supposed to attack
"targets of opportunity." Al-
most always his strike is con-
trolled by a radar coordinator,
or by a spotter on the ground or
in a forward air control (F A C)
FAC pilots direct strikes by
firing white phosphorus marker
rockets and are usually very fa-
miliar with their areas. But they
have to learn some time.
South Vietnamese military of-
ficers have a reputation for a
spendthrift attitude toward U.S.
airpower. In many cases they
have preferred to "call in the
tac air" and blow an area to
pieces rather than risk losing
their own men by attacking with
Vietnamese spotters who ride
in helicopter command s h i p s
and approve Cobra gunship strik-
es are sometimes confused by
seeing familiar territory from a
bird's-eye perspective. They also
are sometimes influenced by air
crews eager to shoot something
Ground troops near a target
ignite smoke grenades to mark
their own positions. Occasionally
North Vietnamese troops nearby
are also equipped with s m o k e
grenades they have found, bought
or captured, confusing the pilots.
Ground officers sometimes mis-
take their own positions and ra-
dio the wrong map coordinates
to aircraft, an especially serious
problem in the case of c 1 o s e
air support. Incorrect directions
from the ground were blamed for
the strike Aug. 18 in which U.S.
Phantom jets hit a church near
Que Son, killing 27 civilians and
The language barrier also con-
tributes to misdirected strikes.
Many news correspondents have
seen U.S. advisers struggling to
communicate with their Vietnam-
ese counterparts over where and
when a strike should go in.
Scratchy radio communications
compound the difficulties:
UM SKYDIVING CLUB
16 JAN., 1973-7:30 P.M.
3532 S.A.B. BE THERE
"Did he say yes?"
"Yeah, I think he said yes."
"Okay, let's go get 'em."
Bad weather and maneuvers to
avoid antiaircraft fire also af-
fect accuracy. Close support of
troops in contact'with the North
Vietnamese increases the risk of
hitting friendly troops.
"Sometimes a ground c o m-
mander will have guys climbing
all over him, and he wants that
strike right in close," said one
Even in the best of circum-
stances of visual bombing it is
hard to hit a small target from
an airplane traveling a mile
every seven to 10 seconds. A one-
degree shift in attack angle can
mean a difference of 100 feet or
more in the spot where the bomb
Pilots of Skyraiders, the old
prop-driven warhorses used by
the South Vietnamese air force,
can pretty well guarantee a hit
within 30 yards of a given spot.
But jets moving between 300
and 600 miles an hour have a las-
ger margin of error - especially
along their flight path. They like
to aim no closer than 200 yards
from anything they don't want to
A few years ago there was a
rash of U.S. helicopter gunships
hiting friendly military positions
and civilian areas with their
rockets. Investigation showed
that vibration was breaking the
brackets holding the rocket
launchers. This caused the pods
to slip, and the missiles hit short
of their targets.
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Ann Arbor' Expects To Build More Bicycle Paths Soon.
Where Do You Think These Paths Are Needed Most?'
Please Help By, Filling Out This Questionnaire
Turn in or mail to:
Planning Dept., City Hall
100 Fifth St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
Or BIKE PATHS
417 Detroit St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
eats MICHIGAN UNION 11-5:30
Sorry, no personal checks
DAVID BROMBERG coming JAN. 24, Wed.
POWER CENTER $2.50 also now at Union
1. The Ann Arbor Bicycle League has distributed a bike path questionnaire.
Have you turned in one of these AABL questionnaires? Yes L] No Q
(PLEASE ALSO FILL OUT THIS QUESTIONNAIRE)
2. How old are you?
3. In what area of the city do you live?
Campus, central part of town
North side, North Campus Q
Near west side L
Near east side [~
Outside of Ann Arbor L
4. What are your most frequent bicycling destinations?
Put one check mark for:
U-M central campus
Downtown (Central Business District)
Ecology Center, Farmer's Market
Westside shopping centers (Maple Vill)
Eastside shopping centers (Arborland)
5. Describe the bicycle routes you use most frequently:
6. How often do you use your bicycle?
All the time, year around Q '
All the time during good weather
About 4-5 trips per week LI
About once per week or less [~
7. What kind of bicycle trips do you make most often?
Commute to work
To visit friends
Commute to school
For fun and recreation
Shopping & errands
8. Do you have favorite routes, or are there problems or suggestions you want to offer?