DATE: MAY 30, 1982
OBJECTIVE: HMS INVINCIBLE
Six aviators made the attack on May 30. Two of the four pilots didn't see the ship that was attacked, because after launching the Exocet missiles, two of the members of the Sky hawk squadron were shot down by the anti-air fire. Only two, first lieutenant Ureta and Ensign Issac flew over the ship and could speak about the combat. Ensign Issac said, " Our Squadron call sign that day was ZONDA. We prayed a Hail Mary on the runway and then took off in four A4-C's. We got together and about 70 km from the coast my artificial horizon broke and first lieutenant Vazquez ordered me to return. The leader of the squadron, on the ground, told me to continue. I had already turned around to refuel, which made me loose 50 km. The Super Etendards went to the Hercules that was in front and we went behind them. We went 200 km over the ocean alternating the JUICE hoses. We arrived at the point where we were going to split off, we formed two teams- the Super Etendard and the A4-C - and we broke off with that lonely sensation over the immense blue. We started the descent about 100 km later. The weather was horrible, with cumulonimbus clouds, wind, rain, and the ocean's waves white-capping. We were close. After a short period of time the Etendards ascended to a certain altitude to check their radar, then they descended and ascended again, alternating constantly. I was controlling my navigation. I knew that at a certain distance, we would have to launch the missiles. When my team indicated the distance, I looked towards the guide and I saw the missile as it was released from his right wing. It had a gray head and emitted a flame constantly, burning the fuel that was projecting it. Just after being launched, the missile started to ascend at a 15-degree angle, and, suddenly, it dove at a 30-degree angle towards the water. It looked like it was going to crash against the waves, but just before it did; it started to level itself. The missile started to distance itself and leave us behind, as it left a clear trail from the fuel's gases. The Super Etendard, having accomplished its mission, started to turn and return to base. We lost sight of the missile, and a moment afterwards, we saw it, impossible to confuse, enormous, majestic; we were coming up on the stern of the Invincible. I let the squadron leader know; up until now everything had gone perfectly for the ZONDA; ¡to the aircraft carrier! We started to join together. It was an overwhelming moment, impressive. It was a reality of what the heart can do against science. We started the attack with two on each side of it. As we approached it, smoke was started to rise from both sides of the tower (caused by the Exocet) and it quickly became more and more dense. About 13 km before arriving to the target, I saw an explosion to my left that consumed the first lieutenant Vazquez. The first lieutenant Ureta continued leading the attack and the first lieutenant Castillo and I were to either side of him. Only two kilometers off the target, there was another explosion, which shook my entire plane. The first lieutenant Castillo went down. He was, as a cadet, first in his class in Cordoba's Military School of Aviation. I pressed the trigger of my guns violently. When I arrived at the target, it was completely covered with smoke. Its mast covered my entire view. I dropped my bomb and turned quickly, fearing that I would crash into its tower that was hidden in smoke. The guide also dropped his bombs in front of me. I turned to the left, and then straight, then I turned to the right, I put the G negatives on, and then the G positives, I invented ways to juke the missiles that I knew they would be firing at me. I distanced myself from it, an aircraft carrier that had completely lost its plating and that was completely covered with smoke in the middle of the ocean."