NICKELS HISTORY

1968 - 1973

In 1968 the Nickel returned to Udorn RTAFB as part of the 432nd Tactical Reconnaisance Wing (the Squadron tail-code was changed in "OY") and its aircrews participated in the interdiction campaign against the Ho Chi Min Trail until the Linebacker Campaigns against the North Vietnam hearthland in 1972. During Linebacker I and II, the Triple Nickel scored another twenty MiG kills. These victories brought the Nickel's total to fourty, producing the first and second USAF aces. The Triple Nickel was widely known as "the largest distributor of MiG parts in Southeast Asia".

In addition to air superiority achievements, the 555th became the first unit to fire AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground missiles in combat and during spring and summer of 1973 the squadron was called upon to participate in the Cambodian bombing campaign. Following the cessation of US combat activities Aug.15, 1973, the Nickel reverted to training, concentrating on its primary air superiority role.

For combat operations in Southeast Asia, the 555th TFS was awarded three more Presidential Unit Citations, five Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards with the combat "V" device, the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm and the 1973 Hughes Achievement Award, better known as the Hughes Trophy.

555th TFS MIG Killers

DATE

ENEMY

WEAPON

Tail #

CREW & POSITION

02/21/72

MiG-21

Maj. R. Lodge
1Lt. R. Locher

03/01/72

MiG-21

LtC. J. Kittinger Jr.
1Lt. L. Hodgdon

05/08/72

MiG-21

Maj. R. Lodge
Capt. R. Locher

05/10/72

MiG-21

Capt. R. Ritchie
Capt. C. DeBellevue

05/10/72

MiG-21

Maj. R. Lodge
1Lt. R. Locher

05/10/72

MiG-21

1Lt. J. Markle
Capt. S. Eaves

05/12/72

MiG-19

LtC. W. Frye
LtC. J. Cooney

05/31/72

MiG-21

Capt. R. Ritchie
Capt. L. Pettit

06/08/72

MiG-21

Capt. R. Ritchie
Capt. C. DeBellevue

06/08/72

MiG-21

Capt. R. Ritchie
Capt. C. DeBellevue

08/28/72

MiG-21

Capt. R. Ritchie
Capt. C. DeBellevue

09/09/72

MiG-21

Capt. C. Tibbett
1Lt. W. Hargrove

09/09/72

MiG-19

Capt. J. Madden
Capt. C. DeBellevue

09/09/72

MiG-19

Capt. J. Madden
Capt. C. DeBellevue

09/16/72

MiG-21

Capt. C. Tibbett
1Lt. W. Hargrove

10/12/72

MiG-21

Capt. J. Madden
Capt. L. Pettit

12/21/72

MiG-21

Capt. G. Sholders
1Lt. E. Binkley

12/22/72

MiG-21

LtC. J. Brunson
Maj. R. Pickett

12/28/72

MiG-21

Maj. H. McKee
Capt. J. Dubler
Capt. R.Ritchie
Capt. J. Feinstein
Walking in front are Vietnam Aces Capt. Chuck DeBellevue and Capt. Steve Ritchie, WSO and Pilot.
Ritchie and DeBellevue prior to one of their missions.
Mig-17 "Fresco"

Mig-19 "Farmer"
Mig-21 "Fishbed"

1964-1967 | Back | 1974-1994