Robin Olds & Steve Ritchie - MIG Killers in Vietnam
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Uploaded on Nov 19, 2009
Robin Olds (July 14, 1922 June 14, 2007) was an American fighter pilot and general officer in the U.S. Air Force. He was a "triple ace", with a combined total of 17 victories in World War II and the Vietnam War.
The son of regular Army Capt. Robert Olds, educated at West Point, and the product of an upbringing in the early years of the U.S. Army Air Corps, Olds epitomized the youthful World War II fighter pilot. He remained in the service as it became the United States Air Force, despite often being at odds with its leadership, and was one of its pioneer jet pilots. Rising to command of two fighter wings, Olds is regarded among aviation historians and his peers as the best wing commander of the Vietnam War, both for his air-fighting skills and his reputation as a combat leader.
He was the mastermind of Operation Bolo on January 2, 1967. Olds worked up a plan to decoy the PAVNAF (People's Army of Vietnam North Air Force), setting up Phantoms to electronically resemble Thuds on a bombing mission. It was a historic ambush, one of the great aerial battles of all time.
In 12 minutes, the 8th recorded seven confirmed and two possible kills without a single loss. Operation Bolo established US air superiority over the North. In fact, four days later, the 8th, pretending to be a weather reconnaissance flight, shot down two more MiG-21s, forcing the North to temporarily ground its fleet. The 8th Tactical Fighter Wing had destroyed nearly half of North Vietnams most advanced fighters in only five days.
Olds was awarded a Silver Star for leading a low-level bombing strike on March 30, 1967, and the Air Force Cross for an attack on the Paul Doumer Bridge in Hanoi on August 11, one of five awarded to Air Force pilots for that mission.
His 259 total combat missions included 107 in World War II and 152 in Southeast Asia, 105 of those over North Vietnam.
He retired in 1973 as a brigadier general.
Awards: Air Force Cross, Air Force Distinguished Service Medal (2), Silver Star (4), Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross (6), Air Medal (40), British Distinguished Flying Cross, Croix de Guerre with Palm (France).
Olds expressed his philosophy regarding fighter pilots in the quote: "There are pilots and there are pilots; with the good ones, it is inborn. You can't teach it. If you are a fighter pilot, you have to be willing to take risks."
Brigadier General Richard Stephen "Steve" Ritchie (born June 25, 1942) was an officer in the United States Air Force and the Colorado Air National Guard, and a general officer in the Air Force Reserve.
Ritchie is a recipient of the Air Force Cross, the second highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States Air Force. Steve Ritchie destroyed five MiG 21s during Operation Linebacker in 1972. After completing 339 combat missions totaling over 800 flying hours, Ritchie returned from his second combat tour as one of the most highly decorated pilots in the Vietnam War.
In 1987 he was assigned to the Mobilization Policy and Plans Directorate of the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
Promoted to brigadier general in 1994, he became mobilization assistant to the commander of Air Force Recruiting Service. For six years, he traveled across the United States, speaking to approximately 1,100 audiences in support of Air Force recruiting efforts. He also flew more than 100 air show performances in the T-38 Talon.
He retired from the Air Force in 1999.
Awards: Air Force Cross, Silver Star (4), Distinguished Flying Cross (10), Air Medal (25), Mackay Trophy, Jabara Award.
Ritchie wrote in a Wall Street Journal editorial that: "The first time I ever saw an unlike airplane was a MiG-21 near Hanoi. In those days, we weren't allowed to train against dissimilar aircraft. They wouldn't let us train the way we were going to fight. Sometimes, I wasn't even allowed to fire back if fired upon."
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