30 September 1966 – LtCol Walter “Mel” Fowler’s F-100 #553502 is hit in the engine by gunfire over SVN. He came close to capture or death by closely advancing Viet Cong before his wingman suppressed the advancing VC and he was picked up from the rice paddy by an Army Helo. Fowler was serving with
John W. Redmond
Lt. Col. John (Jack) Redmond graduated from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and was commissioned through ROTC on June 6, 1959. He earned his wings at Laredo AFB, TX in Class 61ECHO and went on to F-100 training at Luke and Nellis AFB.
His first real assignment was to the 80th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 8th Tactical Fighter Wing at Itazuke AB, Japan. While in Japan he sat “alert” at Osan AB, Korea one week out of every three. The Wing transitioned from the F-100 to the F-105 in 1963 and moved to Yokota in 1964. While at Yokota the 80th Squadron deployed TDY to Korat AB, Thailand in 1964 and Takhli AB, Thailand in 1965.
One of his missions was the first raid against the Surface to Air Missile “SAM” sites in North Vietnam.
That mission was on the 27th of July 1965. Forty-eight Thunderchiefs “Thuds” (24 from Korat and 24 from Takhl) attacked two SAM sites and lost 6 aircraft. It was later determined the sites were dummies). Of the four aircraft in this flight, his was the only one without battle damage.
He returned to the States in December of 1965 as an F-105 RTU instructor in the 561st Tactical Fighter Squadron, McConnell AFB, KS. He returned to Korat in April 1968 where he became a “Wild Weasel” pilot in the 44th Tactical Fighter Squadron TFS. He completed 100 missions over North Vietnam that year. In early 1969 he transferred to Eielson AFB, AK, and returned to the Thud and McConnell AFB in 1971. In the spring of 1972, he went TDY to Korat for 179 days and back again in 1973 for another 60 days. He moved to George AFB in June 1973 and became the 35th OMS Commander. In 1974 he checked out in the F-4 and moved to the 20th TFS.
In November of 1974, he checked out in the F-5E and went as a remote advisor to the Imperial Iranian Air Force. He returned to the States in 1976 to the Tactical Fighter Weapons Center, Studies and Analysis, Nellis AFB, NV. In 1980 he moved to Keesler AFB, MS as DO for Battle Staff Operations, 7th Airborne Command and Control Sq. (Cricket, Alleycat). He returned to Nellis in July 1982 as the 554th Range Group ADO and in 1986 moved up to Vice Commander. Jack retired from the United States Air Force in December of 1987.
Jack remembers “As a bachelor at Itazuke there could not have been a better assignment. I lived in the Kitajima House with 5 other bachelors. Flying the Hun was great and $125.00 a month for room, board, maids, beer, booze, etc. couldn’t be beat. A 1st Lt. flying the Hun at Itazuke! It couldn’t possibly have gotten any better.”