SSS Charter Member and F-100 Pilot from 1957-82 Credited With 2nd Mig 21 Kill in Vietnam

swen-mig-bestBill Swendner (82) his own words

I was leading a flight of 4 F-4C’s out of Danang AB on 14 July (Bastille Day) 1966, to escort a flight of 4 F-105 Wild Weasels. We joined up with the WW’s over the Black River and they were a flight of three with #3 still not camouflaged (silver).

We were operating about 25-30 NW of Hanoi and the Thuds were hard to see as I was about 4-5000′ above and also hard to keep up with.

I  jettisoned the center line tank to reduce drag and when they went into a turn to cut them off. We were in a right turn when my #3 called out a Mig at 8 o’clock high closing. I reversed my turn to turn into the threat and he overshot at a great rate of speed. I reversed my turn to the right, punched off the wing tanks and tried to pick him up at my 4-5 o’clock low, but he disappeared into the smoke/haze.

I then spotted a Mig closing on the #3 Thud and called him to break right. He said” negative I’m getting ready to launch my Shrike”. I dove down toward the MIG, My back seater, a Pilot WSO, Duane Buttell got a lock-on, but we got a break X for the Sparrow. I went to Heat, but also got a Break-X and fired anyway and the Side-winder went over the top of the Mig’s canopy…..I had a pretty good rate of closure!!

I started to pull up and quarter roll to the left, but the Mig lit his burner and started to climb to the right toward Kep. I thought “Buddy, you just solved my problem”. I fired another Side-winder and it went out and blew up about 1000′ out. The Mig had come out of burner and I think it confused the  missile. I got a good tone, fired another Side-winder and thought it missed because it went out of sight.

About that time the Mig blew up in big fireball. I think the missile went right up the tailpipe before it blew!! I pulled up to avoid the fireball/debris and as we went over the top all I could see was a piece of the wing. I picked up the WW flight and we egresed the area. The kill occurred about 25 NW of Hanoi and the Thud guy verified the kill and asked if I saw his Shrike fire. I saw the Shrike in flight, but didn’t see the hit!


It was a good day as my #2 ( who had gotten slung out of the fight when I did my rapid maneuvering was trying to rejoin the flight when the other Mig had turned around to come in at our six, flew up in front of #2 and he shot him down.


Scroll to Top