Navy Red Crown Air Intercept Controller Seeks F-4 Pilots

OSCM Larry “ACE” Nowell, US Navy (Retired) is a retired US Navy Master Chief Petty Office (E-9) who wrote the following:
I served onboard the USS Chicago (CG-11) in 1971 and 1972 in the Tonkin Gulf where I was the Air Intercept Controller Supervisor.  I worked with many Air Force F-4s during air-to-air engagements with enemy Migs, during their airborne emergencies, and I guided some of them to minimum-state emergency inflight-refueling.  During my time on-station I used the call-sign Red Crown.  My personal call sign was ACE and my AICS number was 0012.
 
Lou Drendel talked about me in his book ‘….AND KILL MIGs’ on page 74, captioned “The Voice of Red Crown”.
 
In December 1971 I began providing critical information and guidance to air force fighters which were being threatened by enemy Migs in North Vietnam and Laos. I was officially credited for assisting in 9 MIG-kills while controlling the air force fighters.  I was involved in more than 100 live air-to-air engagements. Additionally, I was also given credit for preventing four F-4s from running out of fuel by arranging emergency expeditious rendezvous’ for them with KC-135s when they reached minimum fuel while deep in North Vietnamese airspace.
 
At one point in 1972 an air force command in Thailand invited me to come over for an interview with the press but my commanding officer would not allow me leave the ship as he believed the trip was too dangerous to make.  I was offered a “box of squadron goodies” by one pilot but I could not give my mailing address to him as we were not on a secure net. I never got a chance to meet or talk to anyone in the air force about the engagements and saves, but I would surely love to.
 
In late 1972 I was awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal for my work on USS Chicago as an air-intercept-controller while in the Gulf of Tonkin and in 2005 I was inducted into the US Navy Surface Warfare Hall of Fame for that same work.  I would certainly appreciate it if you would publish this letter or some other suitable notice in your MIG SWEEP as request any of your RRVFPA members who were involved in any of the incidents mentioned herein to contact me. My telephone is 865-898-9273 and my e-mail address is larrynowell@gmail.com.
 
Very Respectfully,
 
2017-12-17T08:42:51+00:00 By |0 Comments

About the Author:

Rick Keyt has practiced law in Arizona since 1980. He flew the F-4 Phantom for five years in the United States Air Force, including combat missions over South Vietnam, North Vietnam and Laos in 1972. For more about Rick's bio including his F-4 bio see his resume on his law website. Connect with Richard at 480-664-7478 or on Google+

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