I have a “fond” memory of the -26s from 1969. An flight of four F-4D’s with two canisters of BLU-26s and 4 AIM-7s and two AIM-9s were trying to land at Udorn at about 0400 and we had a lot of very small little thunder storms coming through. The command post reported the flight had landed. I was running maintenance control and looking for aircraft we could turn quickly for the morning sorties. Three of the aircraft turned up at their revetments but we couldn’t find the 4th. I drove the ramp looking for it without success when the command post called and reported a large fire about a couple of miles off the end of the runway. I joined up with a fire truck and some security vehicles and we headed out into the rice paddies. It turned out that one of the pilots got too busy looking for the runway between little storms that he wasn’t paying attention to his decent rate. He bellied into the rice paddy with his gear up about about two miles from the end of the base. When they hit the paddy the backseater ejected about the same time the only tree in a quarter mile took off the righy wing so the ejection created a fuel fire that followed the aircraft through the paddies as it bounced along. Eventually the front seater got out and he and the back seater were sitting on a paddy dike when they remembered the warheads in the AIM 9s and 7s and backed away another 100 yards. and watched the aircraft burn.
We finally got there before the sun came up but the sky was beginning to lighten so we could see a bit. As we walked toward the aircraft which had about burned out, I noticed these round 2" bare spots in the rice which was about a foot tall. Then I notice a spot where something had taken a bite out of the dike. and I realized that the two CBUs must have come off as the F-4 touched down and the BLUs had tumbled along behind the aircraft. I watched the dike VERY closely as I walked and saw probably 20 BLU-26s along the dike, mostly stuck in the side but some on tip in the footpath. We stopped and regrouped and carefully make our way to the aircraft, but we returned to the road later another route that avoided the BLUs. When it got light it was an impressive sight to see the strip of rice paddies covered with bare spots!
EOD spend quite a bit of time in tnose paddies, and put flags on all the live GLUs they could find, but every evening the BLUs under some of the flags would disappear. I never figured out what the Thai’s were doing with the “stolen” BLUs but as far as I know none ever hurt anyone, Thai or American! All I got out of the whole mess was a very intense memory. Lots of respect for the EOD guys who found and cleaned up those BLUs out of the paddies.
Unfortunately, a week later the front seater was shot down and killed over Laos. About 7 years ago his remains were recovered.