28 February 1941 – The Republic F-84 Thunderjet was an American turbojet fighter-bomber aircraft. Originating as a 1944 United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) proposal for a “day fighter”, the F-84 first flew in 1946. Although it entered service in 1947, the Thunderjet was plagued by so many structural and engine problems that a 1948
Dean F. Vikan
Col. Dean F. Vikan, USAF (Retired) was born in Fosston, MN in 1938. He attended high school in Fosston, graduating as Salutatorian in 1956 and went on to attend the United States Air Force Academy, graduating in 1960.
In October 1962, he was assigned to Kadena AB, Okinawa flying the F-100 then transitioning to the F-105 in early 1963 – his mission was cold war nuclear alert. In December 1964, he started temporary duty (TDY) tours in South East Asia (SEA) flying combat missions in the F-105 “Thud” from bases in Thailand. His targets were in North Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. He continued his TDY to SEA and nuclear alert readiness at Kadena AB until June 1967.
On his return to the States, he attended the USAF Test Pilot School –(Class 67B) with a follow-on assignment in weapons testing at Eglin AFB in Florida. In June of 1970, he was reassigned to SEA to complete his combat tour in the F-105. By October 1970, he had flown 68 combat missions -“counters” – without taking a hit. Upon returning to the States, he was assigned to the USAF Test Pilot School as an instructor in the F-104, NF-104, T-38 and T-33 aircraft.
In 1973, Colonel Vikan received his master’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology. From there he did a tour in the Pentagon Research & Development Directorate.
He went on to fly the A-10 at Myrtle Beach AFB, SC as the Assistant Director of Operations which was his last operational flying assignment. His next tour was at HQ USAF Europe, Ramstein AB, Germany followed by a tour as Commander, 40th Tactical Group at Aviano AB, Italy. His last assignment was back in the U.S. at Wright Patterson AFB, OH as the Deputy Program Manager for Logistics in the F-16 System Program Office. Colonel Vikan retired from the US Air Force in June 1985.
Upon entering civilian life, Colonel Vikan went to work for Lockheed Martin Corporation in Burbank, California assigned to the F-22 stealth fighter program for six years. In 1991, Lockheed moved Colonel Vikan along with the F-22 program to Marietta, GA and Vikan was with the F-22 for another six years. Vikan retired from this second career in February 1997.
Following his retirement from Lockheed Martin in Georgia, he moved to Fosston, Minnesota where he currently resides. Since arriving in 1997, Vikan has been Director for Economic Development, owner, editor and publisher of The Thirteen Towns newspaper, past (for 10 years) President of the East Polk Heritage Center in Fosston, President of Minnesota’s Historic Northwest Consortium, a four-term president of the Rotary Club of Fosston, a former member of the Fosston-Lengby Lions Club, Chairman of the First Care Medical Services $500,000 capital campaign committee and currently vice president of the First Care Foundation.
He has also been President of Essentia Health Fosston Auxiliary, Chairman of the Fosston Area Community Fund, Board member of the Polk County Historical Society, a Board member of Highway 2 Classic Car Club, a member of the Star Committee and Commander of American Legion Post 114 in Fosston.
In his spare time, he pursues his hobby of photography.