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F4S MiG17 San Diego Aerospace Museum
Image by wbaiv
MiG 17 (NATO name "FRESCO") and F4S Phantom II painted to commemorate the battle in which Randy "Duke" Cunningham and his RSO, "Willie" Driscoll, became the only US Navy aces in the Vietnam war. Cunningham and Driscoll shot down 3 MiGs on a single mission. Their F4J was so badly shot-up that they had to bail out just before the could get back to land on their carrier, but they had been rescued and arrived soon after a swim.
As is pretty widespread, the plane they have been flying that day wasn’t "their" plane, the 1 with their names marked at the edges of the cockpit. It was the squadron commander’s, so to be entirely genuine his and his RSO’s names ought to be painted on this 1. The actual #one hundred is, of course, at the bottom of the South China Sea, and all 3 of the MiGs they shot down became scrap metal. So these stand-ins have to serve.
The MiG 17 was slower than an F4 but unquestionably a lot more agile. It also had two or three quite difficult-hitting cannon, even though the F4J had NO gun, but 8 missiles. A lot of the F4’s possible advantage, firing AIM-7 Sparrow missiles that would house-in on radar reflected from a target, was canceled by rules of engagement which required visual confirmation that a suspected enemy was, in truth, an enemy. (Neither a new problem nor a negligible a single- portion of our military’s problems in Viet Nam was that our cold-war weapons have been created, a lot more or less, for WWIII, total war, with the possibility of nuclear weapons. Its *feasible* AIM 7s would have been fired with no visual confirmation of the target, in WWIII. Weapons and techniques aligned with the mission from day one particular could have reduced US casulties in VIet Nam, but it wouldn’t have won the war.)
Confident and aggressive, as all fighter pilots must be, Cunningham and Driscoll had practiced and tested tactics which employed the strengths of the F4 against what they knew of the MiG’s weaknesses. They succeeded in applying shock, fire and maneuver to win 3 separate fights in a single mission. Achievement-oriented, as all fighter pilots must be, they also preferred to shoot-down an enemy who was unaware of their presence and made no moves to defend themselves, but it did not always work out that way.
At the time, it was believed that their last opponent was North Vietnam’s highest scoring ace, a shadowy "Col. Tomb". I never know what contemporary light throws on the question. With no a doubt, the last pilot they fought was himself a confident and aggressive individual, who’s luck, talent and equipment have been just a tiny weaker that day. He could be reasonably credited for destroying Cunningham and Driscoll’s Phantom II.
Soon after his military service, Cunningham ran for Congress and served as the Representative for the San Diego area. Aggressive, confident and success-oriented, he crossed the line in accepting gifts and rewards from firms, mainly defense contractors, who benefited from his official activities. Right after conviction and sentencing, he apologized, in tears, and is serving time in Federal prison today (2010)
95–17 F4J MiG17
Mini Mean Machine
Image by Sascha Grant
Scratch-constructed down-scale of the Estes Mean Machine. 38" tall x 20mm diameter. Flies on 18mm motors. Was launched on an RMS D13. Rocksim predicted altitude of 2,000′ and by the appears of it, it did that and far more – nevertheless the eject charge failed to push the parachute out the end 🙁 and it came in ballistic. The nosecone was fully buried to the shoulder in difficult earth and all but the final eight" of the physique was destroyed. I will rebuild!