Today in History – Memorial Day 1968

Today in History – Memorial Day, 1968.

Today, the fifth Thursday in May 1968, F-100 pilots are in the UK, France, Denmark, Libya, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Most have not seen their families in months, maybe years.

Hun Pilots are engaged in combat sorties over Vietnam. Misty pilots are attempting to avoid SA-2 SAMs, newly deployed by North Vietnam. In May of 1968 12 ANG F-100 units are flying the bird and by April of 1969 ANG Super Sabres will have flown more than 38,000 combat hours and more than 24,000 sorties.

Pilots in the Pacific are sitting nuclear alert or flying over the Arctic Circle with Russia in their sights and megaton bombs strapped to their aircraft.

In 1968 the U.S. still had 40,000 troops in Korea and 70,000 in Germany.

On June 25, 1968, Congress would pass a law designating Memorial Day to be held on the last Monday in May. This would have no effect on Super Sabre pilots who would be missing holidays for years to come. And would never be known to those who were lost.

One More Roll

We toast our hearty comrades who have fallen from the skies,
and were gently caught by God’s own hand to be with him on High.

To dwell among the soaring clouds they’ve known so well before.
From victory roll to tail chase, at heaven’s very door.

As we fly among them there, we’re sure to hear their plea.
To take care my friend, watch your six, and do one more roll for me.

-Commander Jerry Coffee, Hanoi, 1968

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