August 28

This Day in History

Vietnam War

Aug 28, 1972:

U.S. Air Force gets its first ace since Korean War

The U.S. Air Force gets its first ace (a designation traditionally awarded for five enemy aircraft confirmed shot down) since the Korean War. Captain Richard S. Ritchie, flying with his "backseater" (radar intercept officer), Captain Charles B. DeBellevue, in an F-4 out of Udorn Air Base in Thailand, shoots down his fifth MiG near Hanoi.

Two weeks later, Captain DeBellvue, flying with Captain John A. Madden, Jr., shot down his fifth and sixth MiGs. The U.S. Navy already had two aces, Lieutenants Randall Cunningham and Bill Driscoll.

By this time in the war, there was only one U.S. fighter-bomber base left in South Vietnam at Bien Hoa. The rest of the air support was provided by aircraft flying from aircraft carriers or U.S. bases in Thailand.

Also on this day: Back in the United States, President Nixon announces that the military draft will end by July 1973.

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