Vietnam War Aces,
1964-1973
Although the Vietnam war was long, it did not present the opportunities for air-to-air combat scoring as in previous wars. There were many operational restrictions and a limited number
of enemy fighter aircraft available for combat.
 
Another major difference was the distance at
which the aircraft could attack and use missiles.
Because of this, a pilot had to rely to a great
extent on his " guy in the back" or GIB in the
F-4 Phantom. Randall Cunningham was the
first ace to score all kills with a missile. There
was some single seat scoring by pilots flying
the F-105 Thunder chief and the F-8 Crusader,
but none of these pilots became aces.
     
 
 
 
 
Aces Lists by Conflict

"20 seconds to splash"
depicts Steve Ritchie aiming
for another victory.
A signed Limited Edition
print can be purchased
at this website by visiting
our online store.
   
           
 
U.S. Air Force Ace
A 1960 Graduate of the Air Force Academy,
Captain Richard S. Ritchie was initially assigned
to flight test operations at Elgin AFB, Florida
flying the F-4 Phantom II at Homestead AFB,
Florida. After flying one tour in vietnam, he
volunteered for a second tour and was assigned
to the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron of the 432nd Tactical Fighter/Recon Wing in Thailand. With
Capt. Charles D. DeBellevue as his "back seater", Ritchie is credited with 5 victories, all Mig-21s.
       
   
Wartime Rank / Name Squadron / Group Credit  
 
 
Capt. Richard S. Ritchie
555/432
5
   
 
  U.S. Navy Ace
     
 
  Randall Harold "Duke" Cunningham was the first American fighter ace in the Vietnam war.Cunningham's first combat tour was aboard the USS America. Duke's second tour was from the deck of the USS Constellation. Flying with Lt.jg William P. Driscoll
as his radar operator, Duke had three engagements with North Vietnamese MIG fighters. The first victory was a MIG-21, the second was a MIG-17. Two days after his 2nd victory on a strike on rail targets near Haiphong, VF-96 "The Fighting Falcons" shot down six enemy fighters, including three MIG-17s by the team
of Cunningham and Driscoll.
 
 
Wartime Rank / Name Squadron / Group Credit  
Lt. Randell H. Cunningham
VF-96
5