Ronald J. Soule

 


Preferred Name: Ron

Nickname/Call Sign: Ron

Date Of Birth: January 19, 1933

Highest Military Grade Held: Lieutenant Colonel, (O-5)

Hometown: Randolph, VT

Biography

The Sweep by Ron Soule

In the winter of 1951, John Blackmer, Phil Morse and I frequently worked weekends and holidays as volunteer ski patrolmen at the Mad River Glen ski area in Vermont.  At the end of a day’s skiing, six or more patrolmen would gather at the warming hut at the top of General Stark Mountain, the terminus for the single-chair lift, and wait for the mountain to empty of skiers.  Then we would split into small groups and make one last run on each trail, making sure that all skiers were safely off the mountain.  We called this “The Sweep,” as in sweeping the trails clean.

On one such sweep, another volunteer patrolman and I were assigned the Catamount – an intermediate trail that curved through open terrain down the southeastern face of the mountain.  Interestingly, in those “good old days,” there were only three trails off the top of the mountain – the “Chute,” an expert trail, ran down to the mid-station under the lift line; the “Fall Line,” a narrow expert trail through the woods to the north of the lift line; and the “Catamount.”  After surveying their options at the top of the mountain, several “flatlanders” took the lift back down to the mid-station, where they could catch some easier trails.

The sun was behind the mountain, the air was cold, and the un-groomed Catamount had lots of beautiful powder snow – and the two of us had an exhilarating run.  We were both grinning big happy grins as we paused at the mid-station.   The other patrolman told me that he flew P-51’s with the Vermont Air Guard and that the kind of skiing we had just experienced was as close to the feeling of freedom he got from flying a fighter, as he could get on the ground.

“Then,” I said, “I want to be a fighter pilot!”

With this in mind, I took Air Force ROTC at Bowling Green State University, and upon graduation with a BA in Journalism, I also received a commission as a reserve 2nd Lieutenant, a slot in aviation pre-flight at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, with a follow-on to primary pilot training at Marana Air Base in Arizona in aviation class 57E.

Ron entered USAF pilot training that fall and earned his wings at Webb AFB, Texas, in December 1956. He was assigned to the 506th Strategic Fighter Wing (later Tactical Fighter Wing), Tinker AFB, where he flew the F-84F and later the F-100D. For the next eight years, Ron flew the F-100D/F, standing Victor Alert at Landstuhl AB, Germany (458th TFS) and RAF Wethersfield (55th TFS), and serving several years as an instructor at Luke AFB, AZ (4510th Combat Crew Training Group).

 

“The 470th TFS was the last squadron to convert to the F-100, so we had plenty of time to accomplish the ground training phases while still flying the F-84F.  Like any new aircraft, the F-100 presented a different set of performance criteria that the new pilot had to learn to adjust to.  The wing was also equipped with several dual seated F-100F aircraft, so initial flights were accomplished with the instructor pilot in the back seat.  One of the new wing instructors was heard to lament that the guy in front was the only pilot on board that could see what was happening.  From my later experience as an instructor pilot, I would agree with that statement – backseat visibility, especially to the front, was severely limited.

I wish I could have flown the F-100 in combat, but the quickest way out of the AFROTC assignment was via the Air Commandos and the A-1. The Skyraider was a great aircraft, and its mission in Southeast Asia was a great experience, and she ranks next to the Hun on my list of favorite aircraft. ”

Following an AFROTC instructor assignment at Miami University (Ohio), Ron was assigned to Hurlbert Field, FL, flying the A-1E/G/H/J Skyraider with the USAF Air Commandos, and was subsequently assigned to the 1st Air Commando Squadron (later Special Operations Squadron) (Hobo) at Nakhon Phanom Air Base, Thailand. In late 1968 Ron was part of the initial cadre forming a night attack squadron, the 22nd Special Operations Squadron (Zorro), which was initially dedicated to the night ground attack mission. Ron flew 191 combat missions, the majority of those at night on the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

Ron’s next assignment was as an Emergency Actions Officer at the 18th TFW command post, Kadena AB, Okinawa. While with the 18th TFW he checked out in and briefly flew the F-105D/F with the 12th TFS.

Ron was next briefly assigned as a Logistical Plans Officer, and later the Director of Logistics with the 71st Tactical Support Gp, Bergstrom AFB, TX, and was then reassigned as Director, Logistics Program Division, Directorate of Logistics, Headquarters USAFE. Ron was instrumental in negotiating several support agreements with NATO allies for the wartime logistical support of US forces in Europe. Ron’s last assignment was as Director of Airborne Battlestaff, 7th ACCS, Keesler AFB, Ms, where he retired in June 1981, with the rank of Lt. Colonel.

Following retirement in 1981, I stayed in uniform as the Director of AFJROTC at St. Paul’s School, Covington, LA. After six years of the high school madness, I went to work with a civilian contractor as a Range Control Officer and operated the Navy’s Tactical Aircrew Combat Training System (TACTS) at NAS Fallon, NV.

In 1995, I moved to Pawnee, OK and opened a bookstore. I moved to Florida in 2004 and play golf three to four times a week!

For more of Ron’s stories go to Https://www.xfighterpilot.com/flying-stories.html

(source Wall of Honor, https://airandspace.si.edu/support/wall-of-honor/ronald-j-ron-soule and Https://www.xfighterpilot.com/flying-stories.html)

Units Assigned

  • 1955-1956 Pilot Training Class 57E, Marana AB, AZ and Webb AFB, TX
  • 1957-1959 462nd/470th/458th Tactical Fighter Squadron’s/506 Tactical Fighter Wing, Tinker AFB, OK (F-84F, F-100D/F)
  • 1959-1961 4511th/4515th Combat Crew Training Squadron/4510 Combat Crew Training Wing, Luke AFB, AZ  (T-33, F-100 C/D/F)
  • 1961-1964 55th Tactical Fighter Squadron/20th Tactical Fighter Wing, RAF Wethersfield, UK  (F100D/F)
  • 1964-1968 Det. 640 AFROTC (Miami U, Ohio) (C-47, T-39)
  • 1968-1969 1 ACS/22 SOS – 56 AC/SOW, Nakhon Phanom AB, Thailand (A-1E/G/H/J)
  • 1969-1972 Hq 18th Tactical Fighter Wing (attached 12th Tactical Fighter Squadron), Kadena AB, Japan (T-33 / F-105D/F)
  • 1972-1974 71st TASG Hq, Bergstrom AFB, TX (O-2)
  • 1974-1977 HQ, USAFE/LG, Ramstein AB, Germany – BSD
  • 1977-1981 Dir Airborne Battlestaffs, 7th ACCS, Keesler AFB, MS – Green Communications Box ( back-end of C-130)

Awards & Decorations

 Silver Star
 Distinguished Flying Cross (2)
 Air Medal (12)
 Meritorious Service Medal (2)
 Viet Nam Cross of Gallantry with Palm.

Wall of Honor
Wall of Honor Location: Foil: 10 Panel: 2 Column: 1 Line: 50
Wall of Honor Level: Air and Space Friend
Dedicated Panel: F100 Super Sabre Society

Flight Info

F-84 F
F-100 C/D/F
T-33
C-47
T-39
A-1 E/G/H/J
F-105 D/F
O-2

Military Education

SOS
ACSC (correspondence)

Civilian Education

1955 BA/Journalism, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH

Biography

Biography

The Sweep by Ron Soule

In the winter of 1951, John Blackmer, Phil Morse and I frequently worked weekends and holidays as volunteer ski patrolmen at the Mad River Glen ski area in Vermont.  At the end of a day’s skiing, six or more patrolmen would gather at the warming hut at the top of General Stark Mountain, the terminus for the single-chair lift, and wait for the mountain to empty of skiers.  Then we would split into small groups and make one last run on each trail, making sure that all skiers were safely off the mountain.  We called this “The Sweep,” as in sweeping the trails clean.

On one such sweep, another volunteer patrolman and I were assigned the Catamount – an intermediate trail that curved through open terrain down the southeastern face of the mountain.  Interestingly, in those “good old days,” there were only three trails off the top of the mountain – the “Chute,” an expert trail, ran down to the mid-station under the lift line; the “Fall Line,” a narrow expert trail through the woods to the north of the lift line; and the “Catamount.”  After surveying their options at the top of the mountain, several “flatlanders” took the lift back down to the mid-station, where they could catch some easier trails.

The sun was behind the mountain, the air was cold, and the un-groomed Catamount had lots of beautiful powder snow – and the two of us had an exhilarating run.  We were both grinning big happy grins as we paused at the mid-station.   The other patrolman told me that he flew P-51’s with the Vermont Air Guard and that the kind of skiing we had just experienced was as close to the feeling of freedom he got from flying a fighter, as he could get on the ground.

“Then,” I said, “I want to be a fighter pilot!”

With this in mind, I took Air Force ROTC at Bowling Green State University, and upon graduation with a BA in Journalism, I also received a commission as a reserve 2nd Lieutenant, a slot in aviation pre-flight at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, with a follow-on to primary pilot training at Marana Air Base in Arizona in aviation class 57E.

Ron entered USAF pilot training that fall and earned his wings at Webb AFB, Texas, in December 1956. He was assigned to the 506th Strategic Fighter Wing (later Tactical Fighter Wing), Tinker AFB, where he flew the F-84F and later the F-100D. For the next eight years, Ron flew the F-100D/F, standing Victor Alert at Landstuhl AB, Germany (458th TFS) and RAF Wethersfield (55th TFS), and serving several years as an instructor at Luke AFB, AZ (4510th Combat Crew Training Group).

 

“The 470th TFS was the last squadron to convert to the F-100, so we had plenty of time to accomplish the ground training phases while still flying the F-84F.  Like any new aircraft, the F-100 presented a different set of performance criteria that the new pilot had to learn to adjust to.  The wing was also equipped with several dual seated F-100F aircraft, so initial flights were accomplished with the instructor pilot in the back seat.  One of the new wing instructors was heard to lament that the guy in front was the only pilot on board that could see what was happening.  From my later experience as an instructor pilot, I would agree with that statement – backseat visibility, especially to the front, was severely limited.

I wish I could have flown the F-100 in combat, but the quickest way out of the AFROTC assignment was via the Air Commandos and the A-1. The Skyraider was a great aircraft, and its mission in Southeast Asia was a great experience, and she ranks next to the Hun on my list of favorite aircraft. ”

Following an AFROTC instructor assignment at Miami University (Ohio), Ron was assigned to Hurlbert Field, FL, flying the A-1E/G/H/J Skyraider with the USAF Air Commandos, and was subsequently assigned to the 1st Air Commando Squadron (later Special Operations Squadron) (Hobo) at Nakhon Phanom Air Base, Thailand. In late 1968 Ron was part of the initial cadre forming a night attack squadron, the 22nd Special Operations Squadron (Zorro), which was initially dedicated to the night ground attack mission. Ron flew 191 combat missions, the majority of those at night on the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

Ron’s next assignment was as an Emergency Actions Officer at the 18th TFW command post, Kadena AB, Okinawa. While with the 18th TFW he checked out in and briefly flew the F-105D/F with the 12th TFS.

Ron was next briefly assigned as a Logistical Plans Officer, and later the Director of Logistics with the 71st Tactical Support Gp, Bergstrom AFB, TX, and was then reassigned as Director, Logistics Program Division, Directorate of Logistics, Headquarters USAFE. Ron was instrumental in negotiating several support agreements with NATO allies for the wartime logistical support of US forces in Europe. Ron’s last assignment was as Director of Airborne Battlestaff, 7th ACCS, Keesler AFB, Ms, where he retired in June 1981, with the rank of Lt. Colonel.

Following retirement in 1981, I stayed in uniform as the Director of AFJROTC at St. Paul’s School, Covington, LA. After six years of the high school madness, I went to work with a civilian contractor as a Range Control Officer and operated the Navy’s Tactical Aircrew Combat Training System (TACTS) at NAS Fallon, NV.

In 1995, I moved to Pawnee, OK and opened a bookstore. I moved to Florida in 2004 and play golf three to four times a week!

For more of Ron’s stories go to Https://www.xfighterpilot.com/flying-stories.html

(source Wall of Honor, https://airandspace.si.edu/support/wall-of-honor/ronald-j-ron-soule and Https://www.xfighterpilot.com/flying-stories.html)

Units - Education - Awards - Flight Info

Units Assigned

  • 1955-1956 Pilot Training Class 57E, Marana AB, AZ and Webb AFB, TX
  • 1957-1959 462nd/470th/458th Tactical Fighter Squadron’s/506 Tactical Fighter Wing, Tinker AFB, OK (F-84F, F-100D/F)
  • 1959-1961 4511th/4515th Combat Crew Training Squadron/4510 Combat Crew Training Wing, Luke AFB, AZ  (T-33, F-100 C/D/F)
  • 1961-1964 55th Tactical Fighter Squadron/20th Tactical Fighter Wing, RAF Wethersfield, UK  (F100D/F)
  • 1964-1968 Det. 640 AFROTC (Miami U, Ohio) (C-47, T-39)
  • 1968-1969 1 ACS/22 SOS – 56 AC/SOW, Nakhon Phanom AB, Thailand (A-1E/G/H/J)
  • 1969-1972 Hq 18th Tactical Fighter Wing (attached 12th Tactical Fighter Squadron), Kadena AB, Japan (T-33 / F-105D/F)
  • 1972-1974 71st TASG Hq, Bergstrom AFB, TX (O-2)
  • 1974-1977 HQ, USAFE/LG, Ramstein AB, Germany – BSD
  • 1977-1981 Dir Airborne Battlestaffs, 7th ACCS, Keesler AFB, MS – Green Communications Box ( back-end of C-130)

Awards & Decorations

 Silver Star
 Distinguished Flying Cross (2)
 Air Medal (12)
 Meritorious Service Medal (2)
 Viet Nam Cross of Gallantry with Palm.

Wall of Honor
Wall of Honor Location: Foil: 10 Panel: 2 Column: 1 Line: 50
Wall of Honor Level: Air and Space Friend
Dedicated Panel: F100 Super Sabre Society

Flight Info

F-84 F
F-100 C/D/F
T-33
C-47
T-39
A-1 E/G/H/J
F-105 D/F
O-2

Military Education

SOS
ACSC (correspondence)

Civilian Education

1955 BA/Journalism, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH

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Video