I had to put my binoculars down, as the Skyraiders came in much faster than I thought they would from the higher altitude. Seconds before I’d looked in the direction the Sandys were dropping down from, and seen the end of the day’s sunlight glint off something near the end of the road, but I wasn’t certain what it was. The giant three-thousand horsepower engines of the planes screamed and roared at the same time. They jinked and jerked around and through the big green tracers being fired directly at them, blasting by at maybe twenty feet above the canopy, which was no more than sixty or seventy over our heads. The sound of the plane’s engines, and the constant sharp clatter of the Russian fifty-caliber were suddenly drowned out when the Skyraiders opened up with their own twenty-millimeter cannons. The wing-mounted canons sounded like giant chainsaws for a few brief seconds, and then the planes banked hard into the sun and swept down the river, before veering upward and pulling themselves out of range.

The sounds of combat died out completely. I could hear the planes departing. The hustling swish of the rushing river water returned, as the Skyraiders got further away, but there was nothing from the Russian fifty-caliber. Fusner pressed the AN 323 headset against my left ear, until I replaced his hand with my own.