I accomplished 339 engagement operations for over 800 flying hours in my occupation as a United States Air Force pilot. I am one of only two Air Force ace aviators from the Vietnam War, where I reverted as one of the most embellished aviators in biography. And I am lucky enough to have survived to tell my tale.
Many of my fellow aviators and crew members did not.
It is for them we pay tribute on Memorial Day; those gallant men and women who died in the act of service to our great nation.
This Memorial Day is of particular importance to me because it falls on the 70 th commemoration of the United States Air Force. Upon graduating from the Air Force Academy in 1964 until retiring as an Air Force Brigadier General in 1999, I encountered some of the bravest and the most altruistic men Ive ever known; whose acts spoke volumes of their adoration of country and dismis for self.
So while you enjoy some additional time off, consider taking a moment to reflect on the altruistic assistance of the companion American service men and women who helped and succumbed to retain our liberty- better hitherto, depict your endorsed by taking part in a neighbourhood Memorial Day event.
It is also the ongoing 50 th commemoration of the Vietnam War, which is the conflict where I helped as captain, becoming one of three wizard aviators( a person who is shot down five opponent aircraft during aerial engagement ). Of the many American fatalities during Vietnam, nearly 3,000 were Air Force service men and women. These Americans put aside their differences cultural backgrounds, religions, and political considers to answer the call of their country. Whether they necessarily agreed with the premise of struggle, or not, these gallant patriots laid down their lives to protect our nations principles and advanced liberty for the downtrodden.
Despite the various types reviews, the United States accomplished some very critical objectives during the fight in Vietnam. Among them, and most importantly, we facilitated stem the tide and spread of communism in that field, which eventually led to the descent of the Soviet Union and the advance of freedom and democracy, which is felt around the world today.
For this and many other reasons, our living veterans of the Vietnam War deserve respect and admiration make sure to thank them on this day but their service pales in comparison to those who represented the ultimate sacrifice for our country; “and its” those fallen soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines whom we reputation on Memorial Day.
So, while you enjoy some additional time off, consider taking a moment to reflect on the altruistic assistance of the companion American service men and women who helped and succumbed to retain our liberty. Better hitherto, depict your endorsed by taking part in a neighbourhood Memorial Day event.
While many of the conventional Memorial Day festivities have declined over the years, the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington , D.C. is one of the glittering tributes that exist to preserve the gift of the decline. I look forward to taking part in the parade this year, and I will do so with my fallen friends in my heart and recollection.
Brigadier General R. Steve Ritchie is a member of the American Veterans Middle Advisory Board. Hes the only Air Force ace captain of the air struggle in Vietnam. A veteran of more than 800 engagement hours in the F-4 Phantom during 339 operations over Southeast Asia, Ritchie is the only American pilot to down five MiG-2 1s, the most sophisticated boxers in the North Vietnamese fleet. By the time “hed left” active function in 1974, Ritchie had been awarded the Air Force Cross, four Silver Stars, 10 Distinguished Flying Crosses and 25 Air Medals – stirring him the 30 th most highly embellished man in United States military biography . i>