Tag Archives: SAM

22 November 1972

A Boeing B-52D Stratofortress dropping a load of bombs during the Vietnam War. The B-52D could carry up to 108 MK82 500-pounds bombs. (U.S. Air Force)

22 November 1972: The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bombers began combat operations in the Vietnam War with ARC LIGHT strikes against enemy troop concentrations and supply lines in June 1966. The B-52s flew so high and fast that they could neither be seen nor heard on the ground. It was more than six years before the first of the eight-engine bombers would be lost to enemy action.

Boeing B-52D-65-BO 55-0110 at U Tapao RTAFB. (U.S. Air Force)
Boeing B-52D-65-BO Stratofortress 55-0110, weapons loading. (U.S. Air Force)
Captain Norbert J. Ostrozny, U.S. Air Force

B-52D-65-BO 55-0110, call sign OLIVE 2, was assigned to the 96th Bombardment Wing, Heavy. It flew combat missions from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, and the U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield, Thailand. On 22 November, -110 was crewed by Captain Norbert J. Ostrozny, aircraft commander; Captain P. A. Foley, co-pilot; Bud Rech, radar navigator; Captain Robert Estes, navigator; Larry Stephens, electronic warfare officer; and Staff Sergeant Ronald W. Sellers, gunner.

Near Vinh, on the central coast of North Vietnam, OLIVE 2 was struck by an exploding S-75 Dvina surface to-air missile (NATO identified the S-75 as the SS-2 Guideline, commonly referred to as a SAM). The S-75 is a Soviet two-stage command-guided surface-to-air anti-aircraft missile. It is 10.60 meters (34 feet, 9.3 inches) long and 0.7 meter (2 feet, 3.6 inches) in diameter. It is liquid-fueled and has a maximum speed of Mach 4 and range of 24 kilometers (15 miles). The missile has a 200 kilogram (441 pound) fragmentation warhead. The loaded weight is 2,300 kilograms (5,071 pounds).

OLIVE 2 was seriously damaged and on fire, and the flight crew turned toward the airfield at U-Tapao.

North Vietnamese missileers prepare an S-75 Dvina (NATO: SA-2 Guideline) for launch. (Popperphoto/Getty Images)

After crossing the Thailand border, Captain Ostrozny ordered the crew to eject from the stricken bomber. All six crewmen escaped the doomed Stratofortress and were later rescued by a Sikorsky HH-53 Super Jolly Green Giant search-and-rescue helicopter.

55-0110 crashed 15 miles (24 kilometers) southwest of Nakhon Phanom, Thailand. It was the first Stratofortress lost to enemy action in more than six years of combat.

Boeing B-52D-30-BW Stratofortress 55-662 crosses the perimeter fence on approach to U-Tapao Airfield, Thailand. OLIVE 2 did not return from its final mission. (U.S. Air Force)
Boeing B-52D-30-BW Stratofortress 55-662 crosses the perimeter fence on approach to U-Tapao Airfield, Thailand, 30 October 1972. OLIVE 2 did not return from its final mission. (National Archives and Records Administration/U.S. Air Force)

The United States Air Force flew more than 125,000 combat sorties with the B-52 from 1966 to 1973. During that time, the bombers delivered 2,949,615 tons of bombs against enemy targets. A total of 31 B-52s were lost. 73 crewmen were killed in action and 33 captured and held as prisoners of war.

My thanks to Colonel Knox Bishop, U.S. Air Force (Retired), for contributing the additional details.

© 2017, Bryan R. Swopes

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11 August 1967

Republic F-105-1-RE Thunderchief 63-8311, 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, Korat RTAFB. (U.S. Air Force)
Republic F-105F-1-RE Thunderchief 63-8311, 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, Korat RTAFB. This is the type aircraft flown by LCOL McInerney and CAPT Shannon, 11 August 1967. (U.S. Air Force)
Colonel James Eugene McInerney, Jr., United States Air Force.
Colonel James Eugene McInerney, Jr., United States Air Force.

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to Lieutenant Colonel James Eugene McInerney, Jr., (AFSN: 0-23452), United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force as Pilot of an F-105 airplane in the 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, Korat Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, 7th Air Force, in action as Leader of a flak suppression flight in action against the Paul Doumer Bridge, a major north-south transportation link on Hanoi’s Red River in North Vietnam, on 11 August 1967. On that date, Colonel McInerney suppressed six active surface-to-air missile sites defending a strategic highway and railroad bridge. Despite concentrated barrages of anti-aircraft fire and three missiles directed against his flight, Colonel McInerney displayed the highest degree of courageous leadership in destroying two missile sites and forcing the other four into sporadic operation. As a direct result of his actions, the strike force suffered no losses and imposed extensive damage to this vital target. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, Lieutenant Colonel McInerney reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Air Force Cross
Air Force Cross

General Orders: Department of the Air Force, Special Order GB-123 (March 27, 1968)

Action Date: August 11, 1967

Service: Air Force

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Company: 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron

Regiment: 388th Tactical Fighter Wing

Division: Korat Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand

 

Major Fred Shannon, United States Air Force
Major Fred Shannon, United States Air Force

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to Captain Fred Shannon (AFSN: 0-3100995), United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force as an F-105 Electronics Warfare Officer of the 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, Korat Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, in action in the lead aircraft of a flak suppression flight near Hanoi, North Vietnam, on 11 August 1967. On that date, Captain Shannon suppressed six active surface-to-air missile sites defending a strategic highway and railroad bridge. Despite concentrated barrages of anti-aircraft fire and three missiles directed against his flight, Captain Shannon displayed the highest degree of courageous leadership in destroying two missile sites and in forcing the other four into sporadic operation. As a direct result of his actions, the strike force suffered no losses and imposed extensive damage on this vital target. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, Captain Shannon reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Air Force Cross
Air Force Cross

General Orders: Department of the Air Force, Special Order GB-123 (March 27, 1968)

Action Date: 11-Aug-67

Service: Air Force

Rank: Captain

Company: 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron

Regiment: 388th Tactical Fighter Wing

Division: Korat Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand

© 2015, Bryan R. Swopes

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