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When you put on a uniform there are certain inhibitions that you accept.

-- General Dwight D. Eisenhower

Vietnam War Victory Credits

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Headquarters Seventh Air Force issued a regulation for the awarding of aerial victory credits in Southeast Asia on November 12, 1966. Each combat wing or separate squadron subsequently established an Enemy Aircraft Claims Evaluation Board composed of the senior operations officer, the unit intelligence officer, and from two to four rated officers (pilots). Thereafter, each aerial victory credit claim was submitted in written form to the board within 24 hours. Within 10 days the board processed the claim and forwarded it to Headquarters Seventh Air Force, where another board composed of three operations officers, two intelligence officers, and one personnel officer reviewed the evidence and within one more day confirmed or denied the victory. If confirmed, official credit was awarded through the publication of a Seventh Air Force general order. The evaluation boards also assessed aerial victories claimed between the beginning of USAF aerial operations over North Vietnam in Feb 1965 and the establishment of the victory credits procedure, counting those claims that could be verified. For 1965, only four credits were counted.

The Vietnam victory credits list cites only members of the U.S. Air Force, or members of other services assigned or attached to Air Force units, who destroyed armed enemy aircraft in the air. Evaluators considered an enemy aircraft destroyed if it crashed, disintegrated, lost a vital flying component, caught fire, or was abandoned by its pilot. Confirming evidence consisted of written contemporary testimony of one or more witnesses, gun camera film from the time, or the sighting of enemy aircraft wreckage immediately after the event.

During the conflict in Southeast Asia, Air Force Chief of Staff John D. Ryan directed that each member of a two-man crew receive one full credit for the destruction of a hostile aircraft. Up to four men (two 2-man crews) could each receive one full credit for destroying a single enemy airplane. This liberal method of apportioning credit departed from the World War II practice of dividing credit into equal fractions among those responsible. It more closely resembled the World War I French and American systems of awarding whole credits to everyone involved in a victory. Totalling the Southeast Asia victories will therefore not produce the number of enemy airplanes destroyed in air-to-air combat.

President Lyndon B. Johnson's restrictions on flights over North Vietnam and the reluctance of the North Vietnamese to commit their few aircraft to combat limited aerial action over Southeast Asia. For more than three years after President Johnson announced a halt to all bombing of North Vietnam in November 1968, no American fighters overflew Hanoi or Haiphong, and no USAF flyers earned aerial victories. By the time American air strikes against the area resumed in May 1972, the North Vietnamese had constructed an impressive surface-to-air missile and antiaircraft artillery system and had built up a fleet of advanced Soviet-made fighters. The subsequent dogfighting produced three Air Force aces.

Gunners aboard B-52 bombers also earned aerial victory credits in Southeast Asia. Unlike the B-17s and B-24s of World War II, the Stratofortresses had only one gunner per aircraft, and flew in formations small enough to allow determination of which gunners deserved credit.

The Southeast Asia list includes the following data: name, rank, squadron, crew position, type of enemy and USAF aircraft, date, number of credits, and order number. Abbreviations are:

Rank: A1C, airman first class; SSG, staff sergeant; 1LT, first lieutenant; CPT, captain; MAJ, major; LTC, lieutenant colonel; COL, colonel.

Unit designation: TFS, tactical fighter squadron; SW, strategic wing.

Crew position: AC, aircraft commander; P, pilot; WSO, weapon systems officer; EWO, electronic warfare officer; G, gunner.

NAME RK UNIT SV SERIAL CR DATE POS TYPE ENEMY US ORDER WAR
ANDERSON ROBERT D MAJ 389 TFS US N/A 1 67/04/23 AC A MIG 21 F 4C N/A SE ASIA
ANDERSON RONALD C CPT 45 TFS US N/A 1 65/07/10 P A MIG 17 F 4C N/A SE ASIA
AUTREY DANIEL L 1LT 35 TFS US N/A 1 72/09/12 WSO A MIG 21 F 4E N/A SE ASIA
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BAILEY CARL G LTC 13 TFS US N/A 1 72/07/18 AC A MIG 21 F 4D N/A SE ASIA
BAILEY CARL G LTC 13 TFS US N/A 1 72/07/29 AC A MIG 21 F 4D N/A SE ASIA
BAKER DOYLE D (USMC) CPT 13 TFS US N/A 1 67/12/17 AC A MIG 17 F 4D N/A SE ASIA
BAKKE SAMUEL O MAJ 480 TFS US N/A 1 67/05/14 AC A MIG 17 F 4C N/A SE ASIA
BARTON CHARLES D CPT 34 TFS US N/A 0.5 72/10/06 AC A MIG 19 F 4E N/A SE ASIA
BASEL GENE I CPT 354 TFS US N/A 1 67/10/27 P A MIG 17 F 105D N/A SE ASIA
BATTISTA ROBERT B<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">? </span> 1LT 433 TFS US N/A 1 68/02/06 P A MIG 21 F 4D N/A SE ASIA
BEATTY JAMES M JR CPT 35 TFS US N/A 1 72/05/23 AC A MIG 21 F 4E N/A SE ASIA
BECKERS LYLE L<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">? </span> LTC 35 TFS US N/A 1 72/05/23 AC A MIG 19 F 4E N/A SE ASIA
BECKERS LYLE L<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">? </span> LTC 35 TFS US N/A 1 72/09/12 AC A MIG 21 F 4E N/A SE ASIA
BELL JAMES R 1LT 555 TFS US N/A 1 72/05/11 AC A MIG 21 F 4D N/A SE ASIA
BETTINE FRANK J<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">? </span> CPT 4 TFS US N/A 1 72/08/19 WSO A MIG 21 F 4E N/A SE ASIA
BEVER MICHAEL R<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">? </span> 1LT 433 TFS US N/A 1 67/05/13 P A MIG 17 F 4C N/A SE ASIA
BINKLEY ELDON D<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">? </span> 1LT 555 TFS US N/A 1 72/12/21 WSO A MIG 21 F 4D N/A SE ASIA
BLAKE ROBERT E<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">? </span> CPT 555 TFS US N/A 1 66/04/23 AC A MIG 17 F 4C N/A SE ASIA
BLANK KENNETH T<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">? </span> MAJ 34 TFS US N/A 1 66/08/18 P A MIG 17 F 105D N/A SE ASIA
BLEAKLEY ROBERT A 1LT 555 TFS US N/A 1 66/04/29 P A MIG 17 F 4C N/A SE ASIA
BOGOSLOFSKI BERNARD J MAJ 433 TFS US N/A 1 68/01/03 AC A MIG 17 F 4D N/A SE ASIA
BOLES ROBERT H CPT 433 TFS US N/A 1 68/02/06 AC A MIG 21 F 4D N/A SE ASIA
BONGARTZ THEODORE R 1LT 433 TFS US N/A 1 67/10/24 P A MIG 21 F 4D N/A SE ASIA
BRESTEL MAX C CPT 354 TFS US N/A 1 67/03/10 P A MIG 17 F 105D N/A SE ASIA
BRESTEL MAX C CPT 354 TFS US N/A 1 67/03/10 P A MIG 17 F 105D N/A SE ASIA
BROWN FREDERICK W MAJ 523 TFS US N/A 1 72/10/15 WSO A MIG 21 F 4D N/A SE ASIA
BRUNSON CECIL H 1LT 34 TFS US N/A 0.5 72/10/06 WSO A MIG 19 F 4E N/A SE ASIA
BRUNSON JAMES E LTC 555 TFS US N/A 1 72/12/22 AC A MIG 21 F 4D N/A SE ASIA
BUTTELL DUANE A JR 1LT 480 TFS US N/A 1 66/07/14 P A MIG 21 F 4C N/A SE ASIA
TOP
CAMERON MAX F CPT 555 TFS US N/A 1 66/04/23 AC A MIG 17 F 4C N/A SE ASIA
CARY LAWRENCE E 1LT 433 TFS US N/A 1 67/01/02 P A MIG 21 F 4C N/A SE ASIA
CHERRY EDWARD D MAJ 13 TFS US N/A 1 72/04/16 AC A MIG 21 F 4D N/A SE ASIA
CHRISTIANSEN VON
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