Videos Military

Distinguished Wings Over Vietnam

This video made by PBS channel KPBS is about four men who flew aircraft in the VIetnam War.  One man was a helicopter gunship pilot.  Another was a Huey helicopter pilot.  The last two men were fighter pilots – a Navy A-4 pilot and a USAF F-100 pilot.  The intro to the video says:

The honest, personal accounts of four combat pilots during the Vietnam War. From helicopters to jets, these men reveal how they felt risking their lives in a war that was confusing and unpopular, to say the least. They share their missions, the close calls, and how they were treated when they came home. Saving lives by taking lives, changed them forever.”

2017-10-15T08:30:23+00:00 By |0 Comments

Linebacker II Documentary

On December 16, 1972, for the first time in the nine year old Vietnam War the B-52 bombers entered Route Pack VI to drop bombs on North Vietnam.  On the first night 129 Buffs launched to attack targets at Kép, Phúc Yên and Hòa Lạc and a warehouse complex at Yên Viên.  The second and third waves of B-52s struck targets in Hanoi.  Three B-52s were shot down and one crew was rescued.

On the second night 93 B-52s launched to attack targets at the Kinh No Railroad and storage area, the Thái Nguyên thermal power plant, and the Yên Viên complex.  No Buffs were lost.

On December 20, 1972, the third night of B-52s flying the same headings at the same altitudes and making the same 140% post bomb release turn North Vietnam shot down 8 B-52s and only two of eight crews were rescued. 

This 38 minute movie was made by the son of Brigadier General Glen Sullivan, the commander of the B-52 Unit at Guam.  He called SAC headquarters and told his commanders that he would not order his men to fly any missions unless SAC eliminated its copy-cat tactics.  The Buff crew members interviewed in the movie explain the stupid tactics ordered by SAC the first three nights of Linebacker II. People interviewed in the movie include Ed Rasimus, BC Connelly, Jeff Duford, Bud Day and Jeremiah Denton.

Air Force historian Earl Tilford wrote the following about the first three nights of Linebacker II,

“Years of dropping bombs on undefended jungle and the routines of planning for nuclear war had fostered a mind-set within the SAC command that nearly led to disaster. . . Poor tactics and a good dose of overconfidence combined to make the first few nights of Linebacker nightmarish for the B-52 crews.”

 

"Sully: A General's Decision" from Peachtree Films on Vimeo.

An original film about operation Linebacker II that brought an end to America's involvement in the Vietnam war. The filmmaker encourages comments from everyone and for sure those who have served our country.

In good faith, this film contains copyrighted and non-copyrighted material for non-commercial & nonprofit educational purposes. The producers have neither monetized this work nor sought any profit from its distribution.

Please view in HD and full screen by using buttons on bottom right of screen.

2017-12-24T21:03:38+00:00 By |0 Comments

There Is a Way

I love this documentary about heroic men who flew the single seat F-105 Thunderchief, aka the “Thud,” in the air war over North Vietnam in 1966.   I first saw the film in the fall of 1970 when I was in Officer Training School (OTS) at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.  I was in awe then just as I am now watching these men talk about flying combat missions over the most heavily defended area in the history of aerial warfare.

The Thud drivers in the movie were flying in operation Rolling Thunder.  “There is a Way” was filmed at Korat Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, the same base my squadron, the 35th Tactical Fighter Squadron, flew from in 1972 during operation Linebacker I.  The Thud pilots in “There is a Way” were in the 421st Tactical Fighter Squadron of the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing.

Legendary American hero 1st Lt. Karl W. Richter explains why he volunteered to fly an additional 100 missions over North Vietnam after flying his first 100 missions.  It was standard operating procedure for Thud drivers to be returned to the United States after they completed 100 missions over North Vietnam because the 100 mission quota was so difficult to achieve.  When Lt. Richter was flying combat missions 43 percent of F-105 pilots were either killed or declared missing in action before they completed 100 missions over North Vietnam.  Lt. Richter was single and did not have any children and he loved flying the Thud so he asked to stay at Korat and fly a second 100 missions over North Vietnam.

Lt. Richter beat the odds and successfully completed his second 100 missions.  Unfortunately on July 28, 1967, Karl Richter was killed in action  when his airplane was shot down by flak.  Richter was rescued by a helicopter, but died on the chopper before it could get him to a hospital.  In another article I wrote about Richter I said:

“There is a statue of Karl Richter at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, on which is inscribed, the following words from the prophet Isaiah:  “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Here am I. Send me.”  Lt. Richter gave his life in the service of his country.  Karl Richter’s spirit and sacrifice will live on in the annals of the United States Air Force and American history.  The December 1992 issue of Air Force Magazine contains an article called “Here Am I.  Send Me” about Karl Richter.  Read Lt. Col. Hank Brandli’s article called “Karl Richter’s Last Mission” to learn more about this American hero.”

2017-01-20T18:32:05+00:00 By |0 Comments

USAF Needs More Fighter Squadrons & Fighter Pilots

VOANews:  “The U.S. Air Force says a shortage of fighter pilots has become so dire that it is struggling to satisfy combat requirements abroad.  ‘We have too few squadrons to meet the combatant commanders’ needs,’ Major General Scott Vander Hamm, the general in charge of fixing the fighter pilot crisis, said in an exclusive interview with VOA. The Air Force is currently authorized to have 3,500 fighter pilots, but it is 725 fighter pilots short. And with fewer pilots, the number of fighter pilot squadrons have also dropped, from 134 squadrons in 1986 to 55 in 2016.”  See: “Air Force Has Too Few Fighter Squadrons to Meet Commanders’ Needs.”

See also “Attrition: Fighter Pilots Threatened On All Sides.” and “Fighter Pilots Aren’t Flying Enough to Hone the Skills of Full-Spectrum War.”

 

2017-01-05T19:09:09+00:00 By |0 Comments

Roger Locher Talks about Getting Shot Down & Evading for 23 Days

On May 10, 1972, USAF Captain Roger Locher and his front seater Major Bob Lodge were shot down over North Vietnam in 1972 shortly after they downed their third MiG-21.  Bob Lodge elected not to eject and went down with the F-4D.  Roger Locher ejected and survived, but knew not to get on the radio because it would tip off the North Vietnamese that he was alive and where he was located.
 
During the intelligence briefing before the mission that day the aircrews were told that their mission over North Vietnam that day would to too far inside of North Vietnam so helicopter rescue would be impossible.  Roger knew his only chance to avoid capture or death was to walk west until he arrived at a location where he could be rescued.
 
Roger spent a record 23 hair-raising days evading capture and walking west before he was rescued and returned to Udorn Air Base, Thailand.  In this video from October of 2015 Roger Locher describes the mission that day, getting shot down, evading and being rescued.
 
2016-11-08T13:03:10+00:00 By |0 Comments

Vietnam POW 40th Reunion

On May 24, 1973, President Richard Nixon hosted the largest dinner party ever given at the White House.  The dinner honored the 590 men who were captured by North Vietnam during the Vietnam War, tortured and returned with honor after the U.S. signed the  Paris Peace Accord in January of 1973.   Over 1,200 people attended the dinner hosted by President Nixon and his wife.

Forty years later on May 24, 2013, the Richard Nixon Foundation hosted a second reunion of the former POWs.  Over 200 former POWs attended the reunion.

The video below is President Nixon’s address to the dinner guests.

On May 25, 2014, the Richard Nixon Foundation hosted a panel of former Vietnam War POWs.  The extraordinary panel consisted of Cmdr. Everett Alvarez (USN), 8-year POW; Lt. Col. Tom Hanton (USAF), President of NAM-POWs, 9-Month POW; Capt. Mike McGrath (USN), 6-year POW; Cmdr. Paul Galanti (USN), 6-year POW and Roger Shields, Nixon White House POW/MIA coordinator. Frank Luntz, President of Luntz Global, moderated.

2017-01-20T19:03:11+00:00 By |0 Comments

Leo Thorsness, Thud Pilot & His Medal of Honor

The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
to

THORSNESS, LEO K.

Rank and organization: Lieutenant Colonel (then Maj.), U.S. Air Force, 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron. Place and date: Over North Vietnam, 19 April 1967. Entered service at: Walnut Grove, Minn. Born: 14 February 1932, Walnut Grove, Minn.

Citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. As pilot of an F- 105 aircraft, Lt. Col. Thorsness was on a surface-to-air missile suppression mission over North Vietnam. Lt. Col. Thorsness and his wingman attacked and silenced a surface-to-air missile site with air-to-ground missiles, and then destroyed a second surface-to-air missile site with bombs. In tile attack on the second missile site, Lt. Col. Thorsness’ wingman was shot down by intensive antiaircraft fire, and the 2 crewmembers abandoned their aircraft. Lt. Col. Thorsness circled the descending parachutes to keep the crewmembers in sight and relay their position to the Search and Rescue Center. During this maneuver, a MIG-17 was sighted in the area. Lt. Col. Thorsness immediately initiated an attack and destroyed the MIG. Because his aircraft was low on fuel, he was forced to depart the area in search of a tanker. Upon being advised that 2 helicopters were orbiting over the downed crew’s position and that there were hostile MlGs in the area posing a serious threat to the helicopters, Lt. Col. Thorsness, despite his low fuel condition, decided to return alone through a hostile environment of surface-to-air missile and antiaircraft defenses to the downed crew’s position. As he approached the area, he spotted 4 MIG-17 aircraft and immediately initiated an attack on the MlGs, damaging 1 and driving the others away from the rescue scene. When it became apparent that an aircraft in the area was critically low on fuel and the crew would have to abandon the aircraft unless they could reach a tanker, Lt. Col. Thorsness, although critically short on fuel himself, helped to avert further possible loss of life and a friendly aircraft by recovering at a forward operating base, thus allowing the aircraft in emergency fuel condition to refuel safely. Lt. Col. Thorsness’ extraordinary heroism, self-sacrifice, and personal bravery involving conspicuous risk of life were in the highest traditions of the military service, and have reflected great credit upon himself and the U.S. Air Force.

Read “Commissioned in Hanoi” By Leo K. Thorsness:

Art Cormier, Neil Black, and Bill Robinson showed excellence in the POW camps around Hanoi.

 In 1967, there was a “unit” of approximately 300 Americans fighting the Vietnam War from within a Hanoi prison. The unit—later named the 4th Allied POW Wing—was located in the drab North Vietnamese capital. Within this unit, every man had the same job: prisoner of war.

All—except three enlisted airmen—were officers, including me. Our job description was to continue fighting for the United States while imprisoned.

The three enlisted airmen were SSgt. Arthur Cormier, Amn. Arthur Neil Black, and SSgt. William A. Robinson. All were crewmen on helicopters that rescued aircrews from downed aircraft. The three were shot down in 1965.

They were captured, taken prisoner, and ended up in the Hoa Lo prison in Hanoi (the “Hanoi Hilton,” in POW parlance).

Purchase Leo’s book “Surviving Hell: A POW’s Journey” from Amazon.

2017-01-20T19:03:13+00:00 By |0 Comments

River Rats Talk about Robin Olds & POWs

F-4 combat veterans talk about their Vietnam experiences.  Bob Pardo describes the “Pardo push.”  Robin Olds is remembered and honored by Gen. Robert “Earthquake” Titus.  Col. Ken Cordier describes the pain he endured while being tortured in the Hanoi Hilton.  Lt. Col. Bill Schwertfeger also talks about being a POW and being tortured.  Christina Olds tells about the USAF Academy class of 2011 honoring Gen. Robin Olds as the classes’ exemplar.

 

2017-01-20T19:03:15+00:00 By |0 Comments

Remember Me

by Lizzie Palmer

Near the end of November 2006, 15 year old Lizzie Palmer, a high school sophomore in Columbus, Ohio, used her artistic talents and modern technology to create an unforgettable video tribute to all of the brave men and women who serve and have served our country during a second time in American history when too many Americans wrongly and tragically believe they can support the troops, but not support the war they are fighting.

As of  February 5, 2012, the video had been viewed 30,687,173 times on YouTube and was its 18th most viewed video of all time. The images, text and music combine to create a powerful message that should be viewed by all Americans.

“I felt like there needed to be more support for our troops,” said Lizzie Palmer. “This video was my contribution.”

Chris Wallace’s Fox News Sunday showed the video on national TV. Chris Wallace said, “We had decided it was such a special, moving tribute to the troops, that you cannot watch it, no matter what you think of the war, and not be tremendously affected by her message. Uniformly, people’s reaction has been that they had never seen anything quite so special, quite so meaningful. It chokes me up just reading these e-mails.”

The background music is “Pacific Wind” by Ryan Farish.

2017-01-20T19:03:16+00:00 By |0 Comments