The Badger pilots were a little too relaxed, now that the most dangerous part of their mission was behind them. They didn’t spot the four American fighters until they were less than a mile away, their robin’s-egg-blue paint blending them in perfectly with the clear morning sky. Buns selected her cannon for the first pass and triggered two hundred rounds into the cockpit of a Badger. The twin –engine bomber went instantly out of control and rolled over like a dead whale. One. The major howled with delight, pulled the Eagle up into a five-g loop, then over to dive on the next target. The Soviets were alerted now, and the second Badger attempted to dive away. It had not the slightest chance. Nakamura fired her Sidewinder from a range of less than a mile and watched the missile trace all the way into the Badger’s left –side engine, and blast the wing right off the airplane. Two. Another
Badger was three miles ahead. Patience, she told herself. You have a big speed advantage. She nearly forgot that the Russian bomber had tail guns. A Soviet sergeant reminded her of it, missing, but scaring the hell out of her. The Eagle jerked in a six-g turn to the left and closed on a parallel course before turning in. the next burst from her cannon exploded the Badger in midair, and she had to dive to avoid the wreckage. The engagement lasted all of ninety seconds, and she was wringing wet with perspiration. “Butch, where are you?” “I got one! Buns, I got one!” The Eagle pulled up alongside. Nakamura looked around. Suddenly the sky was clear. Where had they all gone? “Navy Hawk-One, this is Golf, do you read, over?” “Roger, Golf.” “Okay, Navy.
We just smoked four, repeat four, Badgers for you.” “Make that five, Buns!” the other element leader called in.