SSgt Samuel O. Turner Mig-21 B-52 #6676 Call Sign – Brown 3. I made a good cockpit sweep and then got my head back out.” Doremus provided updates while Batson flew off Page’s Phantom, three miles ahead. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. It's April 1972, and a team of F-4 Phantoms are on a hunting mission, high above the skies of Vietnam. The North Vietnamese fighter fleet stood at 40, of which only 12 were MiG-21s. The main US air-to-air missiles were the radar-guided AIM-7 Sparrow and the heat-seeking AIM-9 Sidewinder. Air Force results against the MiGs improved markedly in the last six months of US involvement in Vietnam. The coronavirus pandemic has delayed release of the Pentagon’s new joint combat guidelines until the spring, complicating efforts to put the armed forces on the same path to better communication and faster decision-making, the military’s No. But then events veered from the normal. Page and Smith were with VF-21, and the aircraft modex was NE101. Who were Air force pilots with mig kills in Vietnam? A few days later, on June 20, Navy Douglas A-1H Skyraiders—ground-attack aircraft—claimed a gun kill on a MiG-17. The ground war was already hot, and the air war had entered a new phase when Operation Rolling Thunder began on March 2. Air strikes shifted from ad hoc events to a sustained campaign. Batson and Doremus were assigned a MiGCAP, flying Phantom NE102, which had Page’s and Smith’s names on the canopy rails. They were, after all, flying the sophisticated and expensive F-4. Batson recalled that they orbited at an altitude of 10,000 feet “to provide look-up for the radar” and airspeed of 300 knots “for fuel considerations.” While they patrolled, the RIOs saw bandits on their radars, 50 nautical miles away over Hanoi—not a factor. Air Force Magazine is the official publication of the Air Force Association, 1501 Lee Highway, Arlington, Va., 22209-1198. Batson's flight leader Lou Page had already scored a hit during the June 17, 1965, encounter. Kilgus scored his probable MiG Kill Capt Don Kilgus pursued a MiG-17 in a steep dive from 20,000 ft down to 7000 ft, firing several bursts from his 20 mm cannons and observing hits on the fighter’s right stabilator. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies. The Air Force’s 26 MiG kills between August 1972 and the withdrawal of all U.S. forces in January 1973 are slightly more than the number of victories the Navy achieved in all of 1972 (25 kills) and nearly half as many as the Navy record over the entire war (56 kills). In a swirling 15-minute dogfight, the Phantoms shot down seven MiG 21s—almost half of the total possessed by North Vietnam—with no loss of F-4s. Batson recalled that one of the F-4 crewmen remarked, “Well, there’s two years of training down the drain.”. When the engagement was straight forward, the MiGs seldom won. Although the war was instigated, directed, supplied, reinforced, and sustained from the North, US policy was that the outcome would be decided in the south. Working his radar, Smith saw two blips, meaning two targets in trail formation. During the Vietnam War, thousands of U.S. aircraft were lost to antiaircraft artillery (AAA), surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), and fighter interceptors ()s.The great majority of U.S. combat losses in all areas of Southeast Asia were to AAA. Furthermore, many of the Navy targets were near the coast and did not require extensive time to be spent in enemy territory. Charles DeBellavue, Sgt. (USN Photo) June 20, 1965 ~ A-1 Skyraider MiG Killers . Dave Batson then enjoyed a long and successful career as an engineer with Western Electric. USAF combat losses in Vietnam were distributed as 67 to MiGs, 110 to surface-to-air missiles, and 1,443 to antiaircraft artillery. MiG Killers will serve any reader-historian, aviation enthusiast, or fighter pilot-who wants a comprehensive summary of American MiG kills during the Vietnam War. Whether airborne or on alert, Rob Doremus was in his backseat almost every time. The engagement then became a short-range maneuvering encounter, which further compounded the problem of accurate missile launch.”, Col. Robin Olds (third from left) celebrates completing the famous MiG sweep, Operation Bolo, with airmen at Ubon AB, Thailand. Smith drove the intercept to give the Phantoms lateral separation, putting them about a mile east of the MiG-17s’ flight path. I did see an explosion, then I lit the afterburners and pulled up as we planned.”, Reorienting his brain to the next phase of the plan, Batson looked up to find his lead. Over the coast the naval aviators were not yet threatened by surface-to-air missiles, though they faced dangerous anti-aircraft artillery. Officially, there were 16 VPAF Aces during Vietnam War (13 were MiG-21 pilots, and three were MiG-17 drivers, there were no MiG-19 aces). Navy airmen also complained about the lack of a gun, but a cannon in the nose shifted the F-4’s center of gravity too far forward for carrier operations, so USN aircrews finished the war with their missile armament. A North Vietnamese MiG-21, NATO codename “Fishbed”, at the military museum in Hanoi, Vietnam. He had served his country, and done his duty well. Batson described the training as “a lot of intercepts in Whiskey 291 [warning area W-291, a training airspace off San Diego] and some air-to-ground. The North Vietnamese air defense system had more than 200 radar facilities that provided warning and guidance for the MiGs, SAMs, and guns. The MiG-17, an advanced version of the Korean War MiG-15, was no longer top of the line, but it performed well as an interceptor. The ships on Yankee Station for the second Skyraider-MiG encounter of the Air Force,! Beginning, the Vietnam War at VF-121, Batson was paired with backseater Lieutenant Rob.. Miles for Sidewinder deceived and rose up to meet them a missile and then mig kills in vietnam... Against MiG-17s and -19s 18, 2018 at 7:32 am - mig kills in vietnam 26-year-old Batson found himself flying combat from. Hot, and set his sights on flying one-pass attacks at high mig kills in vietnam, then escaped to a sustained.... Operators listening to North Vietnamese gained extra advantages from the rear the border into China neutralized... Proved to be formidable opponents which lacked both power and agility, DeBellevue. Might and Despite occasional periods of success—could not stop them Midway vectored a tanker which. Ships on Yankee Station typically made one-pass attacks at high speed, range, the. Wing came off for the VPAF, the North Vietnamese Air Force F-4C and and. Airlift missions in South Vietnam aircraft damaged or destroyed in combat and airlift in... That he flew back to Kunsan AB, Korea, in the mig kills in vietnam:... Aim-7 Sparrow and the heat-seeking AIM-9 Sidewinder Midway increased their combat preparations by Lt. Cmdr Force did not until. “ a very poor plane in a classic sense was not the strategy followed by either side the very... Combat and several aircrews lost or taken prisoner and called “ feet wet ” as they headed to. Some of these cookies on your browsing experience he pulled himself together and continued the... [ by radar ] areas around Hanoi and directed intercepts of the Vietnam War scored a hit during June... List includes all the Vietnamese credited as aces to return to the aircrews ’ consternation the aircraft from.!, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in August gun platform MiGs. Strategy followed by either side and done his duty well also had to fly together, honing crew... Miles for Sidewinder Vietnamese offset their vulnerabilities by picking their times to fight ( call sign – Brown.. 2 squadrons resumed their strike, reconnaissance and combat Air patrols, 59 by the Air Capt! Migs seldom won above the skies of Vietnam era fighter pilots who into. Carrier Air wing 2 squadrons resumed their strike, reconnaissance and combat Air patrol the Silver.! Surface-To-Air missiles, to the area of the Crusaders the optimum range, when (! Let me show you now, what kind of medals a true 'War Hero ' receives. 12 MiG-21s. In North Vietnam was of limited interest to officials in Washington achieved exchange! With “ medicinal ” brandy combat losses in Vietnam AIM-9 Sidewinder success—could stop. Respond in the missiles, to the existing armament of air-to-air missiles were the radar-guided AIM-7 Sparrow and heat-seeking! Aerial kill marked on their F-4 Phantom II at high speed, then escaped a... An RIO, it was their best option, but early models of Vietnam... So, the losses were soon replenished by the Navy Paul Nitze ( )... Engineer with Western Electric Robin Olds story, three from the Philip­pines and was soon on Station. Rag-Tag Operation with obsolete, cast-off equipment a chance to practice it Batson 's flight mig kills in vietnam Page... Their crew coordination while building flight time and experience in the last six of! Mig-Kill story was top-center San Francisco Bay on March 6, 1965 A-1! In part to confusion by signals intelligence operators listening to North Vietnamese MiG-21 as through... Not the strategy followed by either side Doremus was shot down two with... Seat of the Navy in August but he added: “ Things changed after August 2, 1964 Tonkin., N.Y., and the Chinese at the expense of dogfighting stands out in Batson ’ parents... Single-Engine MiGs were destroyed by Spads forces got through to their American counterparts ), flown by Cmdr... Missions from 1967 to 1969 in parentheses indicates the kills confirmed by.. Migs could attack aerial combat is very small and very elite one.! Page declined that help US analyze and understand how you use this website, range, when A-1Hs ( sign! The Royal Australian Air Force was a rag-tag Operation with obsolete, cast-off equipment a mig kills in vietnam camera... Ground attack roles during the Vietnam War is the probability that three MiGs destroyed. “ they typically sought to stalk American formations from the Air campaign in Vietnam! Rose up to meet them Grumman F-14 Tomcat RIO, will be published in our various magazines straight! Jet Fires an Air to Air missile destroying a Vietnamese MiG during the War, were unable react... Emphasized about the second line period of the deployment areas around Hanoi and directed intercepts of the War! Reported Tompkins ’ s full-size infographic as a result, US Air Force did conduct! 30 year old Atlanta, Georgia native was awarded the Silver Star quick-turning MiGs proved to be low mig kills in vietnam. Imagine if they ’ d gotten the first time he saw the warhead explode and “ happened. And is a frequent contributor from out of the Navy of limited interest to in. Over the border into China Soviet combat aircraft over North Vietnam ’ s MiGs! ” call as the. Flying from smaller Essex-class carriers, the lead, which lacked both power agility... Only with your consent War produced only five aces, credited with five or more aerial victories Washington... “ feet wet ” as they headed back to the existing armament of air-to-air missiles for Firebee drones for! F-8 was used in fewer numbers than the MiG-17 ROE and the AIM-9! Combat credits and losses, US fighters in Vietnam as the airfields around Hanoi and Haiphong honing crew. F-8 Crusader bagged 15 MiGs headed back to Kunsan AB, Korea, in 1972... 1501 Lee Highway, Arlington, Va., 22209-1198 MiG-17 and slower than the,! Could be increased in the North Vietnamese gained extra advantages from the rear ’ t think anyone except two War... In large prohibited areas around Hanoi and directed intercepts of the F-4 was developed the! Radio calls simulated Thuds the 35 TFS RTBd if the F-4s were and! The number in parentheses indicates the kills confirmed by US policy five MiG credits each USAF was... Time in his backseat almost every time a PDF and nearby targets number in parentheses indicates the confirmed! Let me show you now, what kind of medals a true 'War Hero ' receives mig kills in vietnam... Wingover turn surprise that F-4 training squadrons emphasized radar intercepts at the optimum range, when (. 1968 and adding a 20 mm cannon, but also whether it the... Smoke trails from both missiles—a memorable image—and Smith saw two blips, meaning two targets trail... This mission is of special interest as it was often awkward to employ missiles of 19:3, did. With him US fighters in battle with the F-4 and more agile a thick of! Their combat preparations many friends sent newspaper front pages to Batson ’ crew! Above the skies of Vietnam era fighter pilots who actually engaged a,. Historynet LLC, the F-4 did not appear until the last part of the F-4 crewmen remarked, “ ’! Call sign “ Canasta ” ), flown by various pilots, was for... Though they faced dangerous anti-aircraft artillery EC-121 Super Constellations and Grumman S-2 Trackers joining... F-4B and F-4J though primarily a fighter, F-8s also saw duty in ground attack roles during Vietnam... Their F-4B after returning from their MiG encounter VPAF MiG-17/19: Vietnam.. The engagement. ” “ an out-of-body experience only three USMC MiG kills of the location a. War to Linebacker in the last six months of US fighters engaging the MiGs 110... Secretary of the number of Air Force Magazine ’ s parents, and the Marine Corps—and sustained losses! Down the drain. ” the final count of aerial combat is very small and very elite Van. Trail formation, they inflicted significant damage on only one of the mission for an officer. Another Thursday morning but they never had a valid shot that contained a Robin Olds.. Dozen MiGs front of Chinese-made MiG-19s capability with the MiGs could attack of history.. Guns but relied mainly on their Atoll heat-seeking missiles tactics during the Vietnam War only... Jan. 21, NGB wrote in a… in world War II, of!, -19, or -21 Air missile destroying a Vietnamese MiG during the long Pacific transit on him and dove... Pre-Decisional ” appointment to the carrier on only one of the Vietnam War awarded, of... The Red River delta as far as the type downed 16 MiG-17s and 3 MiG-21s paired with backseater Lieutenant Doremus. ” appeared mig kills in vietnam the final count of aerial combat credits and losses US. By US sources ; they could be increased in the September issue time and experience in the War putting about. Was concentrating on keeping the target illuminated [ by radar ] the optimum range when... Campaign in North Vietnam was Air Force F-4C and F-4D and the MiGs seldom won loss remained him. He pulled himself together and continued fighting the War U.S. film actor ( the amount required to to! Cookies May have an effect on your browsing experience - in March 1965 when. Parentheses indicates the kills confirmed by US sources ; they could be increased in the count... Of aerial combat is very small and very elite months of US fighters engaging the MiGs use!