4 December 1967 – On this day during the Vietnam War: U.S. and South Vietnamese forces engage Viet Cong troops in the Mekong Delta. (1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69nxwf1s7Tw&lc=z223xp2ybzj2zfvws04t1aokgti0lg43uezcimvwos4kbk0h00410 (1) Wikipedia
John Lyons France
John France was born in Forest City, Missouri, on September 11, 1933. He earned a BFA and a law degree from Denver University, and he attended a number of military schools. He entered the USAF as an airman, in November of 1952, was selected as an air cadet, soloed in a PA-18 at Marana Air Base in Arizona, in April 1954. He received his wings and commission in March 1955. He served in Japan, Taiwan and he flew an F-86 during the Korean War.
He joined the 120th Fighter Squadron of the Colorado Air National Guard in October 1958 and flew as a solo pilot for the jet precision demonstration team, called the “Minutemen”. The Minute Men were the first and only federally recognized aerial demonstration team in the history of the Air National Guard. As a member of the team, John flew the F-86 at air shows in the US and five foreign countries.
In May of 1968, during the Pueblo crisis, he led the flight of Colorado Air National Guard F-100s on deployment to Phan Rang Air Base in South Viet Nam. They compiled a record of 5934 combat sorties (8904 combat hours), with the lowest abort rate and highest munitions reliability rate in the theater.
During this one-year tour, he flew 239 missions and 337 combat hours. After his return from Viet Nam and he was assigned as Commander of the 120th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Commander of the 140th Tactical Fighter Group, then Commander of the 140th Tactical Fighter Wing. In 1977, he led the Colorado Air National Guard, flying A-7s, on deployment to Holland, where the unit received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. He led the 140th Tactical Fighter Wing to the “Gunsmoke ’81” gunnery competition, to be named “World Champions”.
In August 1979, John France was named Adjutant General for the state of Colorado. In this position, he implemented a program to provide T-43 navigator training for US Air Force Academy cadets. As Adjutant General, he was responsible for more than 5400 Air and Army National Guard, and Civil Air Patrol (CAP) personnel. He brought the High Altitude Training Site to the Eagle County airport and has assisted in planning the TCA for Denver International Airport.
During his long military career, John France received many awards and decorations. General France is a Command Pilot, having flown many different military propeller and jet aircraft. He also is a rated helicopter pilot. He has amassed more than 6600 flying hours.
He was promoted to major general on June 18, 1982. In 1993 he was inducted into the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame.
After retiring in 1995, France served as president and vice president of both the National Guard Association of the United States and the Adjutants General Association of the United States. He was also a former board member of the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum. His A-7 aircraft is on display there.
France’s Minute Men jet is on display at Buckley Air Force Base, Aurora, CO
(source: http://www.coloradoaviationhistoricalsociety.org/bio_popup.asp?id=120 and Colorado.gov)