Friday, November 1, 2013

The Friday Flyby - 01 November

This is for the guys who went "Downtown". The guys who know where "Thud Ridge" is. The guys who flew into the teeth of some of the strongest air defenses on Earth. And kicked some serious ass.

You might recognize one of the young fellas in this video, I posted about him here.One of my personal heroes.
Ed Rasimus
USAF, Thud Pilot

A-37 Tweety Bird

F-8C Crusader of VF-84
USS Independence

A-4 Skyhawk of VA-94
USS Bon Homme Richard
"Bonny Dick"

Vietnamese A-1 Skyraider
Bien Hoa Air Base
Republic of Vietnam

B-52 and KC-135
U-Tapao Air Base

F-4 Phantom
Udorn Air Base

F-105G Wild Weasel
Korat Air Base

F-100D Firing Rockets

Yes, the bad guys had jets too.

MiG-17 "Fresco"

MiG-19 "Farmer"

MiG-21 "Fishbed"









Colonel Olds Celebrates Returning from His 100th Mission "Up North"

USAF MiG Killers

USN MiG Killers

To those who went before. To those who will go again.

And especially, to...


  1. Excellent Post! Thanks for starting with Ed. Getting to fly with him regularly was one of the highest points in my flying career.

    Too bad Cunningham sacrificed his honor so cheaply, but there's no such thing as an honorable politician. There are only less dishonorable ones.

    1. I was amazed (and pleased) to find that video clip with Ed. I found his blog shortly before he passed, I felt that loss nearly as much as the loss of Lex. And I know a number of my readers followed Thunder Tales. (Just went back through the archives and followed a link over to Murph's place, he posted that video awhile back. I guess I should have watched it back then!)

      And you actually got to fly with him, that goes way beyond awesome!

      I wonder if Duke was always like that or if he grew into that role. I remember the shock I felt when that story came out.

      Still and all, he did a good job in SEA.

      Glad you liked the post, I figured you and VX would know some of these guys.

    2. Yeah, I had lost touch with Ed after our Holloman days and his retirement (He had an ALO job in the interim), but got back in touch with him after he posted a comment on Don Surber's Blog. His comment was pure Ed and he had signed it Raz, so I had emailed him. Found out he and the rest of the 421st (his 105 squadron from Korat) had an annual reunion here in Fredericksburg. I showed up one night and walked in the bar and there was Ed, scotch in one hand, shooting his watch. Instantly felt 30 years younger. Walked up, and asked him what he was drinking, he turned and said Hey Rick! Had a great time, well that night, the following morning wasn't so special.
      As you said, his passing was a loss to me.

    3. the following morning wasn't so special

      I've had a few of those.

  2. Cunningham sparks a memory. I worked for a man who was a Navy F-4 back seater. Had the greatest respect for what he did, going "downtown" many times. As a human being, he was a drunk, wife beater, and a swindling liar. On the other hand, I knew Lt. Col. Leo Thorsness superficially. He ran for public office (and won). His opponent was a friend who's campaign I worked. A completely honest and decent man as we diligently discovered. Guess it is one of the mysteries of life, how someone can be admirable and despicable at the same time, while the same crucible can produce great people.

    1. It's hard to tell sometimes. Perhaps it was the experience of going "downtown" that made him that way.

      That particular crucible will change a man.

      It's the truly special ones who can go through that and still be good human beings. Some are broken beyond repair. I've known both types.

  3. Very well done. I'm wondering how history will remember men such as Olds, et al. I know they're honored in their respective services, but these men don't have ANYTHING near the respect given to the Greatest Generation. The guys who Went Downtown are beginning to fade into the sunset... time is growing short.

    1. I know and that galls me.

      The so-called Greatest Generation had the full backing of the folks back home. The guys who went Downtown were under appreciated and under supported when they were heading north. They fought under much more stringent conditions. Can you imagine if we'd given the Luftwaffe sanctuaries to flee back to?

      It's a shame very few of them seem to be known outside of a fairly small circle. A damned shame.

  4. I miss Ed. Thanks for posting that.

    Wright Patterson AFB museum has a section dedicated in part to Ed, to Robin Olds and Dick Rutan (former Misty pilot) and it's worth visiting for that alone, IMHO.

    Met Gen. Ritchie couple of years ago. Nice guy. (Ed didn't impressed when I posted on it, though.)

    1. I've gotta get out to Wright-Pat, I've heard great things about that museum.

      I was thinking of you when I included Raz. I know you thought highly of him.

  5. Great post... Worked on F-8s and A-4s back in the day... And Raismus was one of the GOOD ones!

  6. Great post. At first my hairs stood on end, then I started to tear up--I thought I was past that, but I guess I never will be..

    (PS: I have the "River Rats" patch plus the 100 msns North F-4 patch PLUS the Ace of Spades 200 msns Vietnam F-4 patch)--when I came back to do my Quang Nam FAC tour they weren't giving tour patches, just lots of beer, lol)

    1. I knew you'd "been there, done that" Virgil. It's something I've wanted to do for a while, a tribute to those times and the men who flew those tough missions.

      Geez, AND you did a FAC tour. Good on you Virgil!

  7. PS: Did I mention here or was it over at Buck's that I had DeBellevue's sister (Renee--a blond tall drink of water) as a student at Southwestern Louisiana when I was a TA grad student in 1972 fresh out of the AF? Was she ever proud of her "big brother!"

    1. That was here. I had to check the archives but it was the Friday Flyby of 23 August where I praised the Phantom. Rather lavishly I thought.

      (Though you didn't mention she was a blonde that day!)

  8. PPS: And that pic of Olds being carried triumphantly with a cigartette in his mouth? NEVER AGAIN in this PC Air Force no matter how many Migs ANYONE shoots down!

  9. You're undoubtedly right, mores the pity!

    1. Agreed.

      No nose art. No fun. No booze, No cigars or cigarettes.

      Hell when I was a young airman we'd have an open bar at Commander's Call. When I retired? Ah gee, no, someone might overindulge.

    2. Ah. Former Happy Days, as it were. I remember the officially sanctioned Friday afternoon beer call at the 761st Radar Sq back in the day (which would be 1978 - '80). You weren't REQUIRED to attend but those who did got off duty at 1600 hrs to go to the Club, those who chose not to go worked until 1630... and GOD help you if you split early. The first round was usually on the commander, who made every single beer call. Every single one.

      BIG-ass sigh.

    3. Those indeed were the days Buck.

      Had a Captain at Omaha, once a month we'd have a meeting off base. We'd all depart the office round about noon and rendezvous at a local pub. We'd order food, then we'd have an honest-to-God shop meeting. With notes and everything. Then we'd play darts, drink beer and just B.S. One of the best officers I ever worked for.

      Captain Kelly. I'll never forget you Sir. (Of course the AF treated him like sh!t, so he got out at the end of his tour. What a waste.)

  10. All the time we were growing up, did we hear about the heroes??, no and no......the MSM at work

    1. You nailed it Greg. I didn't know any of these guys from back then. The Lame Stream Media, not doing their jobs. Then and now.


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