April 19

This Day in History

Vietnam War

Apr 19, 1967:

Air Force pilot cited for bravery

Over North Vietnam, Air Force Maj. Leo K. Thorsness, from the 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron, and his electronic warfare officer, Capt. Harold E. Johnson, destroy two enemy surface-to-air missile sites, and then shoot down a MiG-17 before escorting search-and-rescue helicopters to a downed aircrew. Although his F-105 fighter-bomber was very low on fuel, Major Thorsness attacked four more MiG-17s in an effort to draw the enemy aircraft away from the downed aircrew. Awarded the Medal of Honor for his courageous action this day, Major Thorsness did not receive his medal until 1973--on April 30, 1967, he was shot down over North Vietnam and spent the next six years as a prisoner of war.

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