The Line of DEATH!!!!

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Foreword by Mike
                      Muammar Qaddafi was/is the leader of Libya. He appears to be responsible for a lot of "bad behavior" including the bombing of a Pan Am  Flight over Scotland, the murder of an English Police woman try to protect his embassy in London and the harboring/funding of several terrorist groups.  This "bad behavior" has resulted in many innocent people being killed, so irrespective of your political views, religion or national origin, based on the above he's definitely a bad guy...

Oratory by Dino Boito
                     In April 1986, following an attack on American soldiers in a Berlin disco, President Reagan ordered the bombing of Muammar Qaddafi's terrorist camps in Libya. My duty was to fly over Libya, and take photographs recording the damage our F-111's had inflicted. 

Qaddafi had established a 'line of death,'  a territorial marking across the Gulf of Sidra, swearing to shoot down any intruder, that crossed the boundary.. 

On the morning of April 15, I rocketed past the line at 2,125 mph. I was piloting the SR-71 spy plane, the world's fastest jet, accompanied by a Marine Major (Walt), the aircraft's reconnaissance systems officer (RSO). 

We had crossed into Libya, and were approaching our final turn over the bleak desert landscape, when Walt informed me, that he was receiving missile launch signals. 

I quickly increased our speed, calculating the time it would take for the weapons, most likely SA-2 and SA-4 surface-to-air missiles, capable of Mach 5 - to reach our altitude. I estimated, that we could beat the rocket-powered missiles to the turn, and stayed our course, betting our lives on the plane's performance.

After several agonizingly long seconds, we made the turn and blasted toward the Mediterranean. 'You might want to pull it back,' Walt suggested. It was then that I noticed I still had the throttles full forward. The plane was flying a mile every 1.6 seconds, well above our Mach 3.2 limit. 

It was the fastest we would ever fly. I pulled the throttles to idle, just south of Sicily, but we still overran the refueling tanker, awaiting us over Gibraltar...

Dino Boito

Copyright Mike Wardley, 2010