Krone F-105 Flying - Bobkrone Publications by yaofenji

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									                                                  Robert M. Krone
                                                   F-105 History
15-Sep-63       26-Sep-63
  The 355 TFW conducted TAC Test 63-41 at George AFB, California, to perform the first
  operational evaluation of F-105Ds refueling from the probe of KC-135 tankers and the air
  refueling receptacle on F-105Ds. Maj Robert M. Krone of the 354 TFS was the project officer.
  Five KC-135 missions and 30 F-105D sorties were flown for the test. The Wing's Operation Order
   7-63, dated 6 September 1963, defined responsibilities for this test.

  "Components from all of Tactical Air Command took part in the testing, with Strategic Air
  Command, Republic Aviation representatives, and the Federal Aviation Agency also assisting."

  Test objectives were:

  "(1) Optimum use of trailing edge flaps in the inflight refueling operation, both probe and drogue
  and boom receptacle.
  (2) Optimum use of trailing edge flaps during cruise formation with KC-135.
  (3) Optimum altitudes for non-afterburner refueling and en route formation cruise with KC-135, at
  various tanker and receiver gross weights.
  (4) Maximum altitude, utilizing both the toboggan and constant altitude refueling techniques, at
  which refueling operations can be safely conducted without afterburner.
  (5) Best deployment configuration between two 450-gallon tanks only, or two 450 tanks and a
  centerline 650 tank. Evaluation of clean plus bomb bay configuration and two 450 tanks plus 650
  tank (empty) plus bomb bay configuration, for cruise and air refueling.
  (6) Adequacy of KC-135/F-105 boom lighting for night refueling.
  (7) Validity of the requirement to move the angle of attack vane from left to right side of the
  fuselage.
  (8) Determine optimum boom position in azimuth to align the F-105 receiver with the longitudinal
  center line of the tanker with probe/drogue and boom/receptacle refueling."

  Other pilots involved in this test were:

      357 TFS
  Capt John J. Gaudion - Engineering Officer
  Capt William T. Ramage - Flying Safety Officer
  Capt James R. Mitchell - Navigation Officer

      354 TFS
  Capt James W. Carlson - Administrative Officer
  Capt Donald E. DeBolt - Data Tabulation Officer

  Maj James E. McInerney, Jr., assigned to the Fighter Weapons School R&D at the 4520 CCTW,
  Nellis AFB, Nevada, was the primary F-105 pilot who assisted in collecting the data and writing the
  final report.

       355 TFW History, Jul - Dec 63, USAF microfilm NO461 frames 0271 - 0272, 0302, 0322, 0352 - 0364.
24-Jan-64       21-Feb-64
  Under 355 TFW Operation Order 1-64 dated 17 January 1974, the 354 TFS deployed 12 F-
  105Ds from George AFB CA to Eielson AFB AK for two exercises -- Diamond Lil XI and Polar
  Siege. The squadron commander was Lt Col Adrian E. Drew.

  Maj Robert M. Krone was one of the F-105 pilots on Polar Siege. (Sawadee Weekly)

  They flew 13 sorties on 26 and 27 January for the classified exercise, "Diamond Lil XI", and,
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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                 Page 1 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                Robert M. Krone
                                                 F-105 History
  beginning on 30 January, 151 close air support sorties for a total of 274 flying hours in the joint
  Army-Air Force cold weather exercise "Polar Siege". "Polar Siege is the first major deployment for
  the 354th since its activation in late 1962." Col William H. Holt, 355 TFW/DCO, was the
  AFSTRIKE Force Commander for Polar Siege.

  Temperatures at Eielson AFB ranged from 37 degrees to minus 43 degrees Fahrenheit. "A
  Coleman tractor, which was flown to Eielson AFB for towing aircraft around on the flight line, was
  winterized here with the addition of special lubricants and an increase of antifreeze. ... Cold
  soaking of the F-105s in Alaska would leave them at a temperature of 30 degrees below zero while
   they are on the ground. ... Preflight checklists are broken up into 15-minute segments so that
  crewchiefs can work on the aircraft in shifts rather than longtime exposure to the freezing
  temperatures which could result in frostbite."

  During the deployment, on 7 February 1964, F-105D 62-4345 was lost when the pilot, Capt James
  W. "Spike" Carlson, experienced flight control problems on a low level attack sortie and collided
  with a tree. He ejected successfully at an altitude of 900 feet.

  The return to George was delayed by a grounding of all F-105s for T.O. 2J-J75-658 that required
  ten days to remove and inspect oil lines to the number six engine bearing.

      355 TFW History, 1 Jan - 30 Jun 1964, USAF microfilm NO461, frames 0448 - 0449, 0519 - 0538 & Sawadee
      Weekly, Vol 1 No 11, 14 March 1966, article on Maj Robert M. Krone, 469 TFS Ops Officer.
02-May-64      18-Sep-64
  Eight days after passing their first ORI, and braving bitterly cold winds in early morning on
  Saturday, 2 May 1964, the 354 TFS, 355 TFW deployed 18 F-105s from George AFB, California,
  to Incirlik AB, Turkey, to assume a NATO alert commitment. This was the first time F-105s were
  deployed to Turkey. The deployment, designated "Fox Able 165, launched 28 aircraft from
  George, staged 24 F-105s to Loring AFB, Maine, and then 22 of them from Moron AB, Spain.
  Eighteen F-105s departed Moron in 3 cells of 6 aircraft on 5 May and landed at Incirlik 4.5 hours
  later where they became Detachment 165, TUSLOG (USAFE).

  The squadron replaced F-100s of the 356 TFS for it to deploy to Aviano AB, Italy, to replace the
  428 TFS (also F-100s) so that it could return to Cannon AFB NM.

  The squadron deployed with 25 officers and 2 airmen and was accompanied by a total of 5
  support officers, 254 airmen, and two tech reps, one from Republic and the other from Autonetics.
   Lt Col Adrian E. Drew commanded the squadron. His Operations officer was Lt Col Charles A.
  Watry. "Lt Col Drew and the 355 TFW Commander, Col Edward A. McGough, flew in the first of
  three waves of F-105s to leave George. "The second wave was led by Maj Robert E. Lambert and
   the third by Capt Lowell Shirer." Col William H. Holt, the wing's DCO, and Lt Col Aaron J. Bowman
   from the 469 TFS, as Fighter Controller, made the trip to Turkey in the TAC C-135 "Talking Bird"
  aerial command post that accompanied the F-105s. Maj Raymond L. Klebaum was the
  maintenance officer for the deployment.

  Maj Robert M. Krone and Capt William D. Stigers were two of the pilots on the deployment.

  "On 8 May, operational flying began. Sorties were scheduled for continuation training in the areas
   of navigation (low level, combat profiles, visual, and radar/Doppler), instruments, KC-135
  refueling, air-to-air dart firing and special weapons delivery.

  "Initially, only visual special weapons deliveries were practiced, however, radar reflectors were
  constructed and erected [under direction of one of the squadron pilots] at Konya Bombing Range

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                 Page 2 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                 Robert M. Krone
                                                  F-105 History
  in June. The modified range was found to be most satisfactory, and subsequent sorties were
  scheduled to include practice radar deliveries of special weapons.

  "Operational flying ceased from 15 May through 27 May, and from 2 June through 9 June due to
  the grounding of the F-105s. Only limited flying began again on 10 June due to Technical Order
  Modifications (TOM) required on all F-105 fuel systems. Because of severe limitations placed on
  the aircraft, it was impossible to accomplish AFM 51-105 continuation training requirements for the
   remainder of FY 4/64. The aircraft were again grounded on 1 September for compliance with
  TCTO 916. Only three days were lost due to this grounding and no further restrictions were
  placed on the aircraft.

  "The redeployment of the 354th TFS was scheduled to take place on 9, 10, 11, and 12 August.
  Flying stand-down was scheduled from 8 August through 12 August to accommodate OPERATION
   CROSS SWITCH. However, on 7 August, the 354th TFS was extended, indefinitely, and normal
  employment operations were resumed."

  The 354 TFS was due to be replaced by the 357 TFS to return to George starting on 9 August
  1964. However, due to the Gulf of Tonkin crisis in SEA that sent the 357th to Japan, the 354th
  was extended at Incirlik.

  "The [354 TFS] aircraft remained restricted from refueling or carrying fuel in the bomb bay and
  belly tanks through the remainder of the employment phase.

  "Even though this continued to degrade the effectiveness of training sorties, most of the first
  quarter FY 65 AFM 51-105 continuation training requirements were accomplished. KC-135
  refueling was accomplished on 17 and 18 August. Fuel was transferred on these missions since
  the systems were modified to allow refueling of the internal tanks and the 450-gallon wing tank
  only. From the last week in August until redeployment, Trailblazer and Close Air Support missions
  were flown along with required bombing, navigation, and instrument missions. Air-to-ground
  rocket sorties were flown for familiarization in the last weeks only."

  The 354th was finally replaced on 15 September 1964 by the 421 TFS.



      355 TFW History, 1 Jan - 30 Jun 1964, USAF microfilm NO461, frames 0418 - 0419 & 0455 and 1 July - 31 Dec
      64, frames 0675 - 0689.
14-Nov-65
  In a permanent change of station (PCS), the first contingent of F-105 pilots in the 469 TFS arrived
   at Korat RTAFB, Thailand, via C-130 from McConnell AFB, Kansas. The 469 TFS was assigned
  to Korat's provisional 6234 TFW.

  One of the early arrivals from McConnell was the 469th Operations Officer, Maj Robert M. Krone.
  He was a highly experienced pilot having flown the F-84F and F-84G, the F-86, and the F-100
  before becoming an F-105 pilot in 1962. He was also well educated. In 1952 he received a BA in
  Cinematography from USC, graduated from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1958
  and the U.S. Naval War College Command and Staff College in 1962. In 1965 he received a
  Masters Degree in Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburg.

  In a letter to his father dated 5 December 1965, he described his travels to Korat from McConnell.
   "We had a long trip over in a C-130 aircraft, which was loaded with cargo. There were seventeen
  of us aboard and the major problem was finding a place among the ground power vehicles and
  boxes to curl up and sleep during the 48 hours of flying time. Normally personnel would not have

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                 Page 3 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                  Robert M. Krone
                                                   F-105 History
  to fly overseas this way but the flow of airplanes across the Pacific is practically a steady stream.
  MATS terminals are crowded with cargo stands everywhere ready to be loaded. We made
  refueling stops at Hickam, Hawaii, Guam, and Okinawa."

  While at Korat, with his background and interest in photography and history, Maj Krone instituted a
  unique squadron history program. As he recalled many years later, "Bob Chastain and I cooked
  up the idea to capture data from our tours while on the C-130 from McConnell to Korat, 14 Nov
  1965 ... that has turned out to be a valuable idea." (Bob Krone e-mail 23 May 2004.)

  This squadron history program was based on photos taken during missions and taped interviews
  with some of his pilots. He also collected stories on tape, which included interviews of pilots who
  had completed 100 missions, recordings of radio calls during missions, and interviews of pilots
  who had been shot down and recovered. He saved letters he wrote to his family members in which
  he described the squadron's activities at Korat as well as his own mission cards, which
  documented the missions he and his wingmen flew.

  Several pilots from the 357 TFS who had been TDY from McConnell to Korat joined the 469 TFS
  and the 421 TFS at Korat to continue their combat tours rather than return to McConnell. In
  August 1965, some of the 357th pilots who had deployed from McConnell to Korat moved on TDY
  to Kadena to support the 18 TFW in their nuclear alerts. Two of these pilots at Kadena who joined
   the 469th in November were Capt Gilbert Bruce Holmes and Capt William Thomas "Willie" May,
  who had flown 48 combat missions at Korat in June and July 1965 and, like Holmes, had moved to
  Kadena in August with other pilots in the 357th.

  Holmes was single and freely volunteered to return to finish his combat tour of 100 missions.
  However, since May was married he faced a dilemma in having to choose one of two options the
  Air Force offered its personnel who were on temporary duty in PACAF. "Go back to Korat and
  finish up or go home, settle your families, and return to start from scratch for a year or 100-
  missions -- whichever comes first." His wife Betty, who had been living in her hometown of
  Falmouth, MA, reached him by telephone while he was still at Kadena. "I told him that I was aware
  of the options (thanks to the wive's 'grape-vine' ...) and I asked him 'How far along are you?' His
  answer was 'About half-way.' I told him to go back and finish up and come home -- so that's what
  he did." (Betty May, e-mail 31 March 2009.)

  Like Bob Krone, Willie May saved his 469 TFS combat mission cards that were eventually donated
   to the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (Unfortunately May didn't date any of his
  cards making them difficult to compile a chronological history of his missions. However, by
  comparing the code words and SIF codes that changed daily with those on Maj Bob Krone's
  mission cards, which did have a date, many of them could be assigned a probable date.)

  As documented on his first mission card, Maj Krone flew an area familiarization mission on 14
  November shortly after his arrival at Korat. The two pilots in "Rake" flight and their F-105Ds were:


   Rake 31 - Maj Robert M. Krone in 59-1822
   Rake 32 - 1Lt Jerry Donald Driscoll in 58-1163

  The pilots flew for 1 hour 50 minutes over Bangkok, Takhli, and Udorn before landing back at
  Korat.

       469 TFS oral history tapes, AFHRA Call # K239.0512-1154, IRIS # 1032682 & Maj Robert M. Krone's mission card
        dated 14 Nov 65 in the Archives of the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
15-Nov-65

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                 Page 4 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                  Robert M. Krone
                                                   F-105 History
  The 469 TFS was officially reassigned PCS from the 355 TFW, McConnell AFB, Kansas, to the
  6234 TFW at Korat RTAFB, Thailand. "The 469 TFS departed McConnell between the periods of
  9 November through 17 November." (355 TFW history)

  Maj William E. Cooper was the squadron commander. The Operations Officer was Maj Robert M.
  Krone, and the Executive Officer was Maj John J. "Jack" Gaudion. The squadron began its combat
  tour with 33 pilots assigned or attached. The line pilots were:

                A Flight                                                    B Flight
  Maj James L. Jones - Lead                                 Maj Phillip O. Bradley - Lead
  Capt Willard F. "Bud" Millner - Asst Lead               Capt William S. Koenitzer - Asst Lead
  Capt Harold Victor Smith                                   Capt Robert L. Chastain
  Capt Joseph R. Steen                                       Capt Eugene D. "Dave" Hamilton
  Capt Fred H. de Jong                                       Capt Gilbert Bruce Holmes, Jr.
  Capt Glenn E. "Wally" Belew

               C Flight                                                    D Flight
  Capt John A. McCurdy - Lead                                Maj Fred T. Coleman - Lead
  Capt Gordon E. Lewis - Asst Lead                          Capt Steven R. Sanders - Asst Lead
  Capt Anthony J. "Tony" Gangol                             Capt Donald G. Green
  Capt Frank R. O'Neill                                       1Lt Jerry Donald Driscoll
  Capt William Thomas May

               Attached Pilots

  Capt John C. Gordon                                          Capt William T. Ramage
  Capt Larry C. Mahaffey                                      Capt Herbert T. Standing
  Capt William S. Secker, Jr.                                Capt Robert T. Saffel
  Maj Robert W. Wilson                                        Capt George M. "Squeeks" Weeks
  Maj Robert Rademacher                                      Capt Richard K. Ely

  Most of the pilots in the 469th were highly experienced. Bob Krone wrote, "The average flying
  time per pilot when we deployed from McConnell was 1,500 hours with over 1,000 jet fighter hours
  averaged per pilot. Most of the 24 pilots in the squadron had flown the F-105 for two years before
   this combat tour." (AF Museum Web Site)

  Despite their experience, the 469th lost two airplanes and one of their pilots during their first week
  of combat. Bob Krone commented on what the squadron faced. "There was not much transition
  or rest after we arrived. We replaced a squadron which had been gone from McConnell for almost
  six months [the 357 TFS] on what had originally been scheduled for a three month tour of duty.
  We got thrown into the mission flying immediately in addition to the tremendous administration load
  of organizing the squadron, getting people settled, and finding necessary supplies."


       355 TFW History, Jul - Dec 65, USAF microfilm NO461, frame 0975 & 388 TFW Chronology compiled by SSgt
       Bryon Beers, 388 TFW Historian & www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/history/vietnam/469th/p1.htm & Service Record of
       Capt Holmes & Bob Krone, "Dec 5 Letter #11".
16-Nov-65
  F-105 pilots flew 48 strike sorties over North Vietnam, dropping 117 tons of bombs.
  "Thunderchiefs ranged northeast of Hanoi to destroy two key bridges along North Vietnam rail and
   roadways leading to Communist China. Other F-105s heavily damaged two surface-to-air (SAM)
  sites."

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                 Page 5 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                    Robert M. Krone
                                                     F-105 History
  Twenty-four F-105 pilots, "... destroyed the Cao Nung Railroad bridge (JCS 18.24), 55 miles
  northeast of Hanoi, hitting the multi-spanned bridge with 60 tons of 3,000-pound bombs. Heavy
  flak was reported in the target area, but all airmen returned safely." (Thunderchief Report).
  Twenty F-105s damaged the southwest end of the Cao Nung Bridge but the bridge was left
  serviceable." (CHECO).

  "Sixteen F-105s struck the Lang Luong Bridge (JCS 18.62) ... cratering the west approach and
  ford, but failed to drop a span." (CHECO)

  "F-105 pilots ran the total of SAM sites struck by American airmen to 15 when they attacked two
  separate missile facilities, 35 miles northwest of Hanoi."

  "The Navy struck the Hai Duong RR/Highway Bridge (JCS 11), cutting the rail line and causing
  structural damage to the east span, rendering the bridge unserviceable." (CHECO).

  One day after their arrival at Korat, pilots from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, flew their first combat
  missions over North Vietnam. They lost one pilot when his F-105D was shot down by a SAM. A
  total of 94 aircraft flew on the mission.

  Four F-105D pilots in "Elm" flight from the 469 TFS flew a flak suppression mission supporting a
  JCS mission north of Hanoi in RP-6A. The flight line up was:

  #1 - Capt William S. Koenitzer 62-4334
  #2 - Maj James L. Jones 62-4325
  #3 - Capt Gilbert Bruce Holmes, Jr. 62-4248
  #4 - Maj Robert M. Krone 62-4409 on his first combat mission
  Spare - Capt Larry C. Mahaffey 61-0048

  The flight took off from Korat at 12:20 and at 14:00 reached their target, the Kep railroad yard
  near Lang Son at location 21-35N and 106-34E. The 0.1.2 mission lasted 3 hours 30 minutes.

  Two other flights also flew from Korat. "Oak" flight took off at 12:20 and "Spruce" flight at 12:40.
  Capt Donald George Green also from the 469 TFS, number 4 in "Oak" flight, was shot down by a
  SAM during this mission. (Combat mission cards of Maj Robert M. Krone in Archives of the
  National Museum of the United States Air Force.)

       Republic Aviation Thunderchief Report, Vol I, No. 4, Dec 1, 1965 & Project CHECO, Rolling Thunder, July 1965 -
       December 1966, pg 13 & http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/history/vietnam/469th/p28.htm.
19-Nov-65
  "Spruce" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat at 08:20 and refueled in the Red
  Anchor refueling track at 08:50. They bombed and strafed a target at location 18-20N and 105-
  40E and returned to Korat after the 2 hour mission. The flight line up was:

  #1 Maj James L. Jones in 58-1163
  #2 Capt Richard K. Ely in 61-0220
  #3 Maj Robert M. Krone flying 62-4325 on his mission #2
  #4 Capt Robert L. Chastain in 60-0442
  Spare 1Lt Jerry Donald Driscoll in 61-0095

       Combat mission cards of Maj Robert M. Krone in Archives of the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

20-Nov-65

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                 Page 6 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                   Robert M. Krone
                                                    F-105 History
  The four F-105Ds in "Whiplash" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat at 09:50.
  Each plane carried four 750-pound bombs on the centerline MER and two LAU-3 rocket pods on
  the outboard wing stations. Their target was in Laos at coordinates 19-35N and 102-52E. The
  flight lineup was:

  #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 62-4334 on his mission #3.
  #2 - Capt Gilbert Bruce Holmes in 62-4409
  #3 - Capt Willard F. "Bud" Millner in 62-4248
  #4 - Capt Harold Victor Smith in 59-1822
  Spare - Capt Eugene D. "Dave" Hamilton in 60-0442
       Combat mission cards of Maj Robert M. Krone in Archives of the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

21-Nov-65
  Maj Robert M. Krone, the 469 TFS Ops Officer didn't fly today. In a letter home he told about
  his and his squadron's experiences six days after their arrival at Korat .

  "... Today is Sunday, but the only way we know it is for someone to remember the day of the week
  it is. I think after we get completely moved into our new building, I will get a sign put up like on the
  TODAY Show, which says, 'Today is Sunday, November 21, 1965' and have Mr. Vice, Lt Jerry
  Driscoll, keep it current.

  "This is a seven-day-a-week operation and we are already trying to set up R & R's to start getting
  people away for a few days once in a while.

  "From all reports we have the finest setup is SEA for a fighter squadron. As soon as we get
  moved into our own building and the pilots get moved into the new air-conditioned 'hooches' there
  will be no doubt about it. Bob Borden [Maj Robert E. Borden, 333 TFS] and Col. Holt [Col William
  H. Holt, 355 TFW commander] were here [from Takhli] today briefly and Bob made me almost
  ashamed of how regally we are living compared to the three squadrons at Takhli. They are
  crowded into barracks-type quarters, no officer's club, no community (the little village close by is
  off limits), they are flying more missions a day per squadron than we are, and some of their people
   haven't had a day off for months. The poor 354th will have to put up with a year of that after their
   tour here before the present facilities were in place.

  "Jack Gaudion moved into the trailer with Coop and me today and if I could think of a rational
  reason for moving, which would be diplomatic as well, I would. These new hooches have four fairly
   large rooms plus a lounge area and a large bath and shower that eight men will share. We are
  giving one to each flight and letting flight commanders and field grade have a separate bedroom.
  It really won't be so bad in the trailer as the hours we keep prevent us from spending much time at
  home. But my dinky bedroom is barely big enough for a single cot and when my six foot lockers
  arrive I don't know where I will put everything. All my rugged equipment (camping) will look a little
  out of place in our air-conditioned trailer, which has built-in kitchen and rugs, and Jack's new hi-fi.


  "We are all happy about the new operations building and started moving in today. It is literally
  made to order with lots of room for all branches of the operation without people falling over each
  other. We will have plush furniture for a lounge, and briefing room, flight commander rooms,
  administration area, personal equipment room. I have my own office, which I will share with Jack
  and the duty officer. We'll have our radio and lots of wall room for charts, etc. The buildings are
  all paneled with teak plywood and it should be the showplace of the fighter business in Thailand
  when we are finished. It will be such a relief after the chaos of our present situation.

  "The flying is, of course, like nothing else. I have three missions now and should get about three a
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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                 Page 7 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                               Robert M. Krone
                                                F-105 History
  week. Coop and I can't fly at the same time and with the uncertainty of when and where we are
  going that usually means scheduling us on alternate days.

  "Jack has a natural tendency to want to take over the scheduling operations completely and I have
   to sit on him to delegate it to the flight commanders. Jack is like a bulldog on a leash and has
  almost a pathological requirement to have his ego fed. As long as it gets fed a little all the time, he
   is happy and works like a beaver. I don't think he and I will have any serious problem because it
  doesn't really bother me to flatter his ego occasionally and he is an excellent pilot and flight
  leader. My only concern is that his ego will run away with his judgment at the wrong time. He is
  determined to get a silver star although he hasn't said so in so many words. He'll probably get his
  chance.

  "The casualty reporting for Don Green [Capt Donald George Green, 469 TFS, KIA 16 Nov 65] was
   just as fouled up as that for Maggy [Lt Col George Carlton McCleary, 357 TFS commander on
  TDY at Korat from McConnell, KIA 5 Nov 65] although, I think, for different reasons. But most of
  the problem is just the bureaucratic processes involved. It's completely out of channels this time
  and as we are PCS in PACAF, the channels are not supposed to even include TAC. This base is
  supposed to have the final release authority on the casualty report and somehow a wire got to
  McConnell without us even being able to find it here or at 2nd Air Division in Saigon. Col.
  McGough called [Col Edward A. McGough III, the 835 Air Division Commander at McConnell] as it
  was confusing there and the inevitable hardship resulted.

  "One thing which was predicted before we left and which is true is that all the plans laid at
  McConnell have gone out the window when the people get to PACAF. The move of the 355th
  [wing] is still so fouled up it is hard to believe. People show up here who thought they were going
  to Takhli, equipment gets to the wrong place, etc. PACAF has a reputation for disorganization and
   they are holding it up. I think one trouble is the long distances between headquarters at Hickam
  and everyone else. People just go their own way knowing that the staff can't possibly monitor
  closely their actions and everyone has his empire.

  "Last night I got out of my flight suit for the first time (I had changed flight suits) and went in to Ray
  Klebaum's old hang-out in Korat. It's a very nice restaurant called Veena's. I went with Smitty
  [Capt Harold Victor Smith], two intelligence Captains - Fred Braun from McConnell, and a weird
  character from Kadena named Delhart. It's quite a process to get into town. The only way is
  through the Thai base. You drive a military vehicle to the Thai base, then hire a pedicab the rest
  of the two miles into town. The cabs are built for two Thais but only fit one American. Fred said it
  was a riot one night when Barney and Louie Braun tried to get into the same pedicab and the little
  Thai driver almost had a heart attack. Even at night the relatively high standard of the Thai's is
  apparent. It is a very favorable comparison to the Turks. The pedicabs are all open and shiny,
  the homes in town look roomy. In fact, it reminded me a lot of Japan. We had some delicious fried
   rice and sweet and sour pork with Thai beer. Smitty was fairly four-sheets-in-the-wind after
  having spent the last two hours at the bar in the club and was making advances to all the
  waitresses. Veena's is evidently the high class Americanized place. Col Sams [6234 TFW
  commander] and Col. McClung and Bruce Holmes came in while we were there. The prices are
  just high enough to discourage most of the airmen, but still I think I paid only $2.00. Fred then
  insisted on showing me a few of the places the airmen keep jumping. They were all versions of
  Rilly B's with little brown girls instead of round eyes. We came back to the army officer's club -
  which is just a bar and tables in a bare room - and played liar's dice for an hour when went home.
  Smitty stayed up gambling all night and sent a check for $1,000.00 home by registered mail. The
  guy who lost evidently won $3,000 last week.

  "After talking with the people who have been here or at Kadena the last year (Mel Morrel for one
  at Kadena) most of the pilots felt that Chuck was stupid and Risner foolhardy. [Lt Col Robinson
  Risner, 67 TFS commander on TDY to Korat from Kadena, POW on 16 Sept 65.] The people in
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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                 Page 8 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                  Robert M. Krone
                                                   F-105 History
  the command post told me that the 2nd Air Division stopped giving the 67th missions toward the
  end - before Risner was shot down - because the squadron had lost so many pilots and Risner
  refused to play it safe. I think we are lucky that Cooper is not out to make a name for himself.

  "PACAF has come down with a message outlining what the tour in SEA will be for aircrews. It will
  be 12 months although a pilot can return to the States at the completion of 100 missions providing
   there is no ground job for which he is needed. There has been no further elaboration of this and
  we will have some test cases in this squadron and at Takhli about February when people like
  Koenitzer and Holmes finish. My own feeling is that the pilots probably have a fair chance of going
   home at the completion of their tour but I suspect that field grades will probably be used in various
   staff jobs and kept the entire year. There has already been a ruling that squadron commanders
  and operations officers will fly only two missions per week. That would take a year and I suspect
  that Coop and I will do better than that -- at least until the ruling is enforced. I'm still going to press
   on hoping to complete 100 missions in eight months and submit the attaché application in
  January. ... I'm sure Jack would love to serve out his year as Ops Officer and I'd be happy to have
  him.

  "The terrain in Southeast Asia is fantastic. Thailand is lush and beautiful with mostly low land
  under cultivation. The whole country looks like it's covered with brush until you get down low and
  realize that what you are seeing is trees. Shortly after crossing the Mekong River in any direction,
  the lushness turns to rugged jungle covered hills and mountains. Laos has a total of 30 miles of
  paved roads - all in Vientiane. I haven't been organized enough to take my camera along yet but
  before long I will. I bought a new camera in Kadena and haven't tried it out yet. ..."
       Copy of letter, "Dear Bencey, Korat 22 November 1965". (NOTE: Sunday of this week was on 21 November 1965.)

22-Nov-65
  "On 22 November, USAF launched two successful Iron Hand strikes. On one, four F-105s (using
  terrain masking at minimum altitude), in line-abreast formation, 'popped-up' 10 miles from the
  targets, selected one of two sites visible and struck with rockets at 5,500 feet and 450 knots. No
  flak was encountered on the run-in and the site was left burning as the result of a large secondary
   explosion. In the other attack, three of four F-105s (one aborted) used 'pop-up' tactics and again
   achieved surprise - encountering flak only when leaving the target area. One F-105 was lost
  during the period 12 - 25 November to a SAM ... ." (CHECO Report)

  "... Two Republic F-105 Thunderchief flights, led by Major Jim L. Jones, 34, of Luling, Texas, and
  Major John J. Gaudion, 37, of Austin, Texas, [both from the 469 TFS at Korat] hit SAM sites 34
  miles west-north-west of Hanoi. So quickly did the Air Force F-105 pilots strike, Communist
  gunners in the heavily defended area failed to get anti-aircraft guns into action in time to retaliate.
   The Thunderchief pilots streaked out of the area without taking a single hit." (Republic Report)

  " ... Four Thunderchiefs, employing terrain masking at minimum altitude and flying in a line-abreast
   formation, popped up ten miles from the target and released rockets from 5,500 feet while flying
  at 450 knots. The absence of flak suggested that the strike surprised enemy gunners. In a similar
   attack on the second site, despite SAM and MiG warnings, the Thunderchiefs encountered only
  flak leaving the target area while flying at 6,600 feet." ("Gradual Failure")

  Capt Gilbert B. Holmes, Jr. was one of the 469 TFS pilots on this mission for which he was
  awarded the Air Medal (Third Oak Leaf Cluster). " ... Capt Holmes proceeded deeply into hostile
  territory which was one of the most heavily defended areas in North Vietnam. Exposing himself to
  heavy and accurate anti-aircraft fire surrounding the target, Captain Holmes delivered his
  ordnance on target resulting in complete destruction of the target. ... " (Holmes Citation)

  The 469 TFS pilots had been assigned to Korat RTAFB, Thailand, for only a week, having arrived
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                                                     Robert M. Krone
                                                      F-105 History
   on 15 November 1965.

   In a letter home dated Nov 26, 1965, Maj Robert M. Krone, the 469 TFS Ops Officer, alluded to
   another version of this SAM site strike. "There is more to the missile story than meets the eye and
    I am afraid Jack Gaudion has ripped it pretty well with this one. Jack and Jimmy both went to the
   news conference and debriefing in Saigon. Jack, of course, dominated the interview with Jimmy
   taking a back seat while Jack described his 'new tactics'. But we all knew here and the newsmen
   evidently suspected after asking Jack a few penetrating questions, that it was Jimmy's flight that
   did the effective work. Jack wanted that site to be there so bad that I think he convinced himself,
   even, that it was. In reality, there was nothing there and Coop [Maj William E. Cooper, 469 TFS
   commander] is furious with Jack for taking credit for it. It could just as easily gone the other way,
   but it didn't."

        Project CHECO, Rolling Thunder, July 1965 - December 1966, pg 13 & Republic Aviation Thunderchief Report,
        Vol I, No. 4, Dec 1, 1965 & "Gradual Failure: The Air War over North Vietnam: 1965 - 1966", pgs 194 and 195 &
        Capt Holmes' award citation.
 22-Nov-65
   The four F-105Ds in "Whiplash B" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat at
   14:25. "Whiplash" was a quick-reaction strike into Laos against a target of opportunity from a
   flight that was on 15-minute ground alert. Each plane carried four 750-pound bombs on the
   centerline MER and two LAU-3 rocket pods on the outboard wing stations. Time over target was
   1500. The lineup for this 1 hour 30 minute mission was:

   #1 Maj Robert M. Krone flying 59-1823 on his mission #4.
   #2 Capt William Thomas May flying 62-4409
   #3 Capt John A. McCurdy flying 62-4248
   #4 Capt Gordon E. Lewis flying 60-0442
   Spare: 61-0095

        Combat mission cards of Maj Robert M. Krone and Capt William T. May in Archives of the National Museum of
        the United States Air Force.
 23-Nov-65
   "Elm" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat at 14:15 and refueled from Red
   Anchor 25 at 14:45. They struck a target at location 21-31N and 1053-08E and returned to Korat
   after the 2 hour 10 minute mission. The flight line up was:

   #1 Maj Robert M. Krone flying 62-4248 on his mission #5
   #2 Capt Fred H. de Jong in 60-0442
   #3 Capt Joseph R. Steen in 61-0095
   #4 Capt Glenn E. "Wally" Belew in 62-4409
   Spare Capt William S. Secker, Jr. in 59-1822
        Combat mission cards of Maj Robert M. Krone in Archives of the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

 24-Nov-65
   The four F-105Ds in "Whiplash B" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat at
   15:30. Each plane carried four 750-pound bombs on the centerline MER and two LAU-3 rocket
   pods on the outboard wing stations. They destroyed a bridge in Laos at location 16-35N and 105-
   55E. The lineup for this 1 hour 35 minute mission was:

   #1 - Maj Robert W. Wilson in 62-4326
   #2 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 61-0095 on his mission #6
   #3 - Capt John A. McCurdy in 61-0220
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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 10 of 87
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                                                    Robert M. Krone
                                                     F-105 History
   #4 - Capt Gordon E. Lewis in 59-1822
   Spare - F-105F 62-4439

   Maj Krone received an Air Medal for flying this mission. "Maj Robert M. Krone distinguished
   himself by meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight as a pilot, F-105 aircraft in
   Southeast Asia on 24 November, 1965. On that date, Major Krone was unable to make contact
   with the forward air controller. Utilizing precise navigation techniques, Major Krone found,
   identified, and destroyed an important highway bridge. A second attempt to contact the forward
   air controller resulted in the destruction of hostile ground forces and their associated equipment.
   The highly professional pilot techniques displayed by Major Krone reflects his steadfast devotion
   to duty and his ability to quickly and correctly analyze a tactical combat situation. The professional
    skill and airmanship displayed by Major Krone reflect great credit upon himself and the United
   States Air Force."

        Combat mission cards of Maj Robert M. Krone in Archives of the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

 25-Nov-65
   "Oak" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat at 08:20 and refueled from White
   Anchor 30 at 08:50. The mission aborted and the flight jettisoned eight MK-82 bombs in the south
    Laos jettison area. The flight lineup was:

   #1 - Maj James L. Jones 59-1823
   #2 - Capt Glenn E. "Wally" Belew in 61-0095
   #3 - Maj Robert M. Krone, the 469 TFS Ops Officer, flying 61-0051 on his mission #7
   #4 - Capt Fred H. de Jong in 60-0442
   Spare - Capt Joseph R. Steen in 60-0429

   That night, Maj Krone wrote a letter home in which he described events at Korat. "Only twelve
   days at Korat and it seems we have been here forever. One day slips into the next with no break
   or time for reflection and the 'things to do' list grows more rapidly than the 'things done' list. I am
   slowly getting the operations organized and hope to have things set up so that they don't require
   my personal attention before long. The long hours combined with confusion of moving into the
   new ops building makes progress seem slower than it really is, I suppose.

   "Even though today was Thanksgiving, we pressed on with the schedule. I got my 7th mission and
    am almost beginning to feel like a veteran. Hamilton has had seven also and his confidence has
   gone up 1000%. He has done a good job and we no longer worry about him being behind in the
   tactical business. People learn rapidly in this environment.

   "Jack Gaudion and Jimmy Jones went to Saigon for a news conference and briefing. ... There
   were 150 correspondents on hand from all news services. Everything of this nature must come
   from Viet Nam. There are more interesting things in the offing for us.

   "Barney Barnett and the 421st arrived with 20 F-105s today. [Maj Charles W. Barnett commander
   of the 421 TFS that moved PCS from the 355 TFW from McConnell to the 6234 TFW at Korat.]
   They will share Korat with us for an indefinite time until we get a third squadron. We met them all
   with beer at the airplane and had a cocktail party at the Club in their honor tonight. Jim Lamarr is
   operations. Col. Nelson was with them but he is scheduled to go to Takhli in some capacity. The
   355th had now been completely split up and we will not be connected with them at all.

   "We have started our R and R program to Bangkok with Bruce Holmes and Bill May as the first
   ones. They have been here with the 357 TFS and both have over 60 sorties.


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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 11 of 87
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                                                    Robert M. Krone
                                                     F-105 History
   "The latest rumblings from 13th Air Force at Clark and also in AFTimes are that aircrews will go
   home when they get 100 missions and that will apply to everyone. There is a restriction on
   commanders and operations officers to two missions per week after the first 25 so I couldn't finish
   in eight months but might not have to stay the full year.

   "We are lucky to be here rather than any other base in SEA. Evidently Saigon is a horrible mess.
   The entire operation here still seems unreal. If you stand back and look at the map on the garage
    wall you can get an idea of the scope of the operation. The ground rules are voluminous and a
   little ridiculous from the military viewpoint, although I can make some political sense out of them. It
   is pretty hard to be philosophical and objective about the political restrictions when they have a
   personal impact and most of the military people have a 'bah humbug' reaction. I think I am in a
   little better position to evaluate the political aspect than most people here and people like Risner
   [Lt Col Robinson Risner, former 67 TFS commander shot down on 16 September 1965 and a
   known POW] just refused to acknowledge a realistic position and tried to make it a personal
   campaign. Cooper takes a realistic position and between the two of us I think we can instill a
   conservative and big picture approach. I am very pleased about our relationship and I think he
   has confidence in me. At least he is letting me run ops with a minimum of interference and
   direction.

   The wing staff here has gotten behind the squadrons and we are getting fine support. Coop and I
   both have our own private new Datsun pickups for transportation and the squadron has four other
    vehicles. It hardly seems like a hardship with my little Datsun, air conditioned trailer and 24 pilots
   to do my bidding."


        Combat mission cards of Maj Robert M. Krone in Archives of the National Museum of the United States Air Force
        & Bob Krone, "copy of parts of letter from Bob - Nov. 25, 1965."
 26-Nov-65
   "Linden" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat at 08:15 and refueled from White
   Anchor 30 at 08:30. Each plane carried six 750-pound bombs on the centerline MER and two
   LAU-3 rocket pods on the outboard wing stations. The flight struck railroad bridges on the Lao
   Kay - Hanoi rail line and returned to Korat after this 2 hour 20 minute mission. The flight lineup
   was:

   #1 - Maj Phillip O. Bradley in 60-0429
   #2 - Capt Eugene D. "Dave" Hamilton in 59-1823
   #3 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 62-4242 on his mission #8
   #4 - Capt Robert L. Chastain in 61-0048
   Spare - Capt Frank R. O'Neill in 59-1823
        Combat mission cards of Maj Robert M. Krone in Archives of the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

 26-Nov-65
   After flying his 8th mission this morning, Maj Robert M. Krone, the Operations Officer of the 469
   TFS, wrote a letter home describing events at Korat. He had been assigned to the Thai base
   since 15 November and the squadron was still getting settled at their new home.

   "A captain from PACAF Information office was here today recording radio interviews from the
   pilots. Some of them may end up in home-town radio stations. ... There finally seems to be a big
   push on to give the tactical people some recognition. The wheels of the military bureaucracy
   move slowly and this is another area where the 354th and other squadrons, which were here first,
   had a great deal to do with this policy but the results are coming too late.

   "Coop is sick with a 102-degree fever. [Maj William F. Cooper, the 469 TFS commander and
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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 12 of 87
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                                                     Robert M. Krone
                                                      F-105 History
   Bob's roommate] Evidently we are all going to have trouble until we build up immunities to local
   bugs. We have three people off flying now for illness and several others who seem on the verge.

   "The Thai Air Force had their ceremonies for their cadet class (aviation cadet) graduation last
   night and I went in Coop's place. It was quite a show and was probably a roaring party but I could
   not stay to enjoy it. There were nine Buddhist monks sitting cross-legged in their robes on the
   stage, an altar burning candles, and chanting prayers throughout the awarding of wings to the
   cadets. After the chief of staff presented the wings, the new pilots would bow to the altar and then
   the monks would sprinkle water on their heads. It was a strange mixture of religious and military
   ceremony.

   "Yesterday was Thanksgiving and the folks back in the states went all out to get dinner to the
   troops. We worked all day, of course, and I took off long enough to eat turkey dinner with Barney
   and Col. Nelson.

   "Things are slowly getting organized in the operation. I am really enjoying the Ops job and so
   thankful that it worked out this way as I have a much greater feeling of accomplishment than if I
   had gone through the flight commander routine again. This was really a break when I consider
   Bob Lambert's situation over here with the 354th." [Maj Robert E. Lambert, a friend in the 355
   TFW at George AFB.]

   The 354 TFS was assigned PCS to the 355 TFW at Takhli on 29 November 1965.
       Bob Krone, "Copy of parts of letter from Bob from Korat - Nov. 26, 1965."
 27-Nov-65
   "Elm" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat at 14:00 and refueled from White
   Anchor 31 at 14:10. They flew MIGCAP for a JCS strike 20 nautical miles southwest of Hanoi and
   returned to Korat after flying for 2 hours 20 minutes. The flight lineup was:

   #1 Maj Robert M. Krone flying 59-1820 on his mission #9
   #2 Capt Willard F. "Bud" Millner in 61-0120
   #3 Maj James L. Jones in 61-0126
   #4 Capt Glenn E. "Wally" Belew in 58-1156
   Spare Capt Fred H. de Jong in 61-0179
       Combat mission cards of Maj Robert M. Krone in Archives of the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

 02-Dec-65
   After a 36-hour delay of the mission against a military area northeast of Dien Bien Phu, "Spruce"
   flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat at 08:05 and refueled from White Anchor
   30 at 08:35. Each plane carried five 750-pound bombs. The flight lineup was:
   #1 - Maj Phillip O. Bradley in 60-0473
   #2 - Capt William S. Koenitzer in 59-1768
   #3 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 62-4315 on his mission #10
   #4 - Capt Eugene D. "Dave" Hamilton in 61-0068
   Spare Capt Anthony J. "Tony" Gangol in 61-0120

   The mission was cancelled, probably due to weather in the target area.

   That evening, Maj Krone wrote a letter home that described what he and the squadron were
   doing. "I know you would like to hear more about the missions and I will tell you as much as I can.
   They are pretty serious about restrictions, however, and a tour in Leavenworth is hardly worth the
   risk. My ten missions to date have been fairly 'routine'. One of my problems is that I cannot fly
   when Coop does and as a result I have missed a couple of the good missions. Our mission is

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                                                    Robert M. Krone
                                                     F-105 History
   primarily interdiction - cutting lines of transportation, supply areas, etc. Two or three of my
   missions have been aborted due to weather when once we got in the area and the others really
   have not been significant other than from the standpoint of building up some experience and
   learning the area of operations. I think this is better than being thrown into the tough ones
   immediately. There is a real variety of types of missions and almost every one has been with a
   different weapons load and to a different area. We are moving into a new activity, which is very
   sensitive at the moment and I won't be able to discuss it at all."

   He was referring to the F-100F Wild Weasels, which arrived at Korat on 25 November. Maj Krone
   flew on the first completed mission the Weasels flew into North Vietnam on 3 December 1965.

   "... Today was a slow day. I got cancelled again and I took my first trip into town. It reminds me a
   bit of Adana [Turkey] except that the standard of living is higher.

   "We have started an R and R program to Bangkok. Two pilots will be gone all the time. At first we
   started for three or four days and may jump to a week for the second round. We sent all the pilots
    who have been here with the 357th and McCurdy is the first of our group. Nobody really wants to
   go right now but I am insisting that we keep it going because I suspect that in another month
   everyone will want a break and two is the most we can let go until we get some more pilots.

   "Tomorrow is another 5:30 A.M. briefing day; I'm getting tired of briefing at horrible hours and then
    getting cancelled."


        Combat mission cards of Maj Robert M. Krone in Archives of the National Museum of the United States Air Force
        & Bob Krone "Copy of part of letter from Bob, Korat, 2 Dec 1965".
 03-Dec-65
   In the morning of December 3, the F-100F Wild Weasels flew their third hunter-killer mission (the
   first two weather aborted). This was the first one to fly into North Vietnam and was flown with a
   flight of F-105s from the 469 TFS. Maj Garry A. Willard and EWO Capt Truman Walter Lifsey
   were in F-100F 58-1226. (WW I Test Report)

   The four F-105D pilots in "Bamboo" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, accompanied the Wild
   Weasels. They took off at 8:15 a.m. and refueled from Orange Anchor 50 at 08:40. Each plane
   carried four LAU-3 rocket pods. Their flight lineup was:

   #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 62-4242 on his mission #11
   #2- 1Lt Jerry Donald Driscoll in 62-4341
   #3 - Maj Fred T. Coleman in 59-1769
   #4 - Capt Steven R. Sanders in 62-4302
   Spare - 60-0428

   The Wild Weasel flight failed to rouse an SA-2 site in North Vietnam and so they "... experimented
   with some tactics and coordination between the Weasel birds and the strike flight, then hit a
   military barracks area southwest of Son La, about 15 nm north of the Laos border [at coordinates
   21-09N and 104-09E]." (Bob Krone's flight lineup card and undated explanatory memo on file in
   the archives of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.)

   Willard and Lifsey landed back at Korat after flying for 3 hours. (Test Report)

        Final Report TAC Test 65-85, APGC-TR-66-22, "Test and Evaluation of Threat Radar Homing and Warning
        Systems 'Wild Weasel I' (Southeast Asia Phase)", AFHRA Call # K143.5072-5, IRIS # 0470670, pg 74 &
 04-Dec-65

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 14 of 87
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                                                   Robert M. Krone
                                                    F-105 History
   On December 4, the F-100F Wild Weasels flew their fifth hunter-killer mission with a flight of four
   F-105s from the 469 TFS. Capt Edward B. White and EWO Capt Edward "Sandy" Sandelius were
   in F-100F 58-1221. Flying as an airborne spare in F-100F 58-1226 were Wild Weasels Capt
   George H. Kerr with EWO Capt Donald J. Madden.

   The four F-105D pilots in "Spruce" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off at 13:25 and
   refueled from Orange Anchor 51 at 14:00 using the drogue from the tanker and probes on the F-
   100F and F-105Ds. Maj Krone told of some difficulty in refueling. "Jerry Driscoll was number two
   and we pulled up behind a tanker for some gas. It was a probe-and-drogue tanker rather than the
    normal boom type and when I had completed refueling, this little voice said, 'How do you do it?'
   This was the first clue I had that he had never refueled with the probe and drogue system. He
   hadn't said a word during the briefing nor had his flight commander Fred Coleman. Fred was
   number three and the two of us talked him through his hookup. I was sweating it out thinking I
   might have to send two airplanes back if he couldn't get hooked and the resulting investigation
   would have been pretty embarrassing for all - especially me. Fortunately after numerous stabs,
   he got hooked up and refueled successfully. Probably the only pilot ever to check out in probe
   and drogue refueling under those conditions. I had to congratulate him for a good job after
   chewing him out for not telling me - he missed part of the briefing somehow." (Bob Krone, letter
   home "Dec 6 Letter # 12". Note: Based on its information, the letter was probably written on 5 Dec
    65.)

   Their full F-105D flight lineup was:

   #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 62-4242 on his mission #12
   #2 - 1Lt Jerry Donald Driscoll flying 62-4341
   #3 - Maj Fred T. Coleman flying 61-0068
   #4 - Capt William S. Secker, Jr. flying 61-0196
   Spare - Capt Steven R. Sanders in 61-0051

   The targets were three SAM sites N.W. of Hanoi. However, the mission was scrubbed due to
   weather at the IP. "Struck Hanoi-China Red River R/R line as alternate target." Target
   coordinates were 21-56N and 104-37E.

   The Wild Weasel report documented their mission as "Completed - No Homing."
        Combat mission card of Maj Robert M. Krone & Final Report TAC Test 65-85, APGC-TR-66-22, "Test and
        Evaluation of Threat Radar Homing and Warning Systems 'Wild Weasel I' (Southeast Asia Phase)", AFHRA Call #
        K143.5072-5, IRIS # 0470670, pg 74.
 05-Dec-65
   In a letter to his father, Maj Robert M. Krone, 469 TFS Operations Officer, described the progress
   of the squadron in settling into their mission at Korat. "... After three weeks some order is coming
   out of the chaos but we are short of pilots, maintenance people and everyone is working long
   days, seven days a week. As Operations Officer I am the number two man in the squadron behind
    the commander. My job is running the flying operations, scheduling the pilots, supervising flight
   commanders, establishing weapons procedures, and documenting what we are doing. You recall
   the security problem we discussed at Idyllwild. There is a great deal of political sensitivity involved
   with our status here.

   "The war itself is completely unique to anything the United States has been involved in before.
   The international affairs study at Pittsburg has given me some background to analyze the political
   aspects of what is going on and I can usually make some sense out of the complicated military
   rules and restrictions under which we operate. It is the first time that the 'good guys' and the 'bad
   guys' have not been separated by neat lines on a map and it takes a mature and intelligent
   individual in the cockpit to understand and apply the ground rules in a way which will help and not

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 15 of 87
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                                                     Robert M. Krone
                                                      F-105 History
   hinder the national effort and objectives. Sometimes the objectives seem obscure when looked at
   from the standpoint of military operations.

   "... I am living quite high. I share an air conditioned trailer with the Commander and another major.
     We have maid service, a full kitchen, and I have my own little Datsun pickup for transportation.
   These services cost $6.00 per month. We have the best living conditions for the pilots of any
   base in Southeast Asia and are quite fortunate in being here.

   "The weather has been beautiful since our arrival. It is their winter season, with warm days and
   cool evenings. Evidently, in February, the heat begins in earnest and gets up to 120 degrees.
   The territory from the air is lush and beautiful until one gets north of the Mekong River. From that
   point on there are dense jungles, high mountains, primitive peoples in addition to all the hostile
   aspects of the air environment."

   In another letter home, Maj Krone described some administrative improvements he was making
   and commented on recent happenings in the squadron. "After filling in for Coop yesterday, I
   landed at 5 PM, and waded through paperwork until 7, then had dinner and wrapped a few
   Christmas presents.

   "... This morning I was on an alert type mission and did not go, so had a little more time to get
   organized. Coop is flying this afternoon, which means that I am grounded.

   "Jack Gaudion now has the Thai crud and is staying in the trailer. I have a colorful chart up now
   showing what people have done every day of the month: fly, R and R, DNIF, etc. The DNIF with
   the Thai crud is in red and about one third of the squadron has been down for at least one day
   with it. You get diarrhea and stomach cramps. I have been feeling fine since my 24-hour bout.

   "I have made my NCO, SSgt Listz, the permanent duty officer rather than have a pilot pull this and
   I am very pleased with the way it is working out. He is capable and I am putting more and more of
   the details of chart and record keeping and following the schedule on him. I also have airman
   Gigantelli who is a good little worker.

   "Fred de Jong is our awards and decorations officer and is doing an excellent job. He has been
   calling the Philippines, Saigon, and Bangkok to research all the regs and already has [everyone
   in] the squadron in for either an air medal or a DFC. We have a form which each flight leader fills
   out after the mission. I review the form and indicate what award should be given, if any. Then he
   talks to the flight members and writes up a draft of the award. It's a good system and we should
   be a well decorated squadron at the end of a year.

   "... At 6 P.M. this evening we had services (memorial) for Don Green [KIA 16 Nov 65]. I wanted Bill
    Secker to go back to McConnell to help Jo but we were so short of people that Coop couldn't let
   him go. We were all in flying suits and the chaplain did a nice job in spite of the noise of an F-105
   engine being run up on the trim pad. We don't know what is happening at McConnell and the
   communication has been horrible. Coop wrote Jo. I don't know whether I should or not. I don't
   really know either of them very well.

   "Cooper and I are getting along fine. I am developing more respect for his ability to understand
   people. He has really been very steady and he knows how to manipulate well ----."


        Bob Krone, "portions of letter to Max - Korat Air Base, Thailand 5 December 1965" & Bob Krone, letter home "Dec
        6 Letter # 12" (NOTE: Based on information in the letter, he probably wrote it on 5 Dec 65) .
 06-Dec-65
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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 16 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                    Robert M. Krone
                                                     F-105 History
   The F-105D pilots in "Spruce" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off at 14:25 and refueled
   from White Anchor 32 at 14:55. Their flight lineup was:

   #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 61-0220 on his mission #13
   #2 - Capt Robert L. Chastain flying 60-0426
   #3 - Capt Gilbert Bruce Holmes, Jr. flying 59-1820 who ground aborted
   #4 - Capt Eugene D. "Dave" Hamilton flying 61-0181.

   Their time over target was 15:35. Their "primary target was a bridge on the Son La River 70 NM
   NW of Hanoi. Target abort due to Wx. Struck Red River R/R near Lang Kan." The flight dropped
   six 750-lb bombs and strafed. Target coordinates were 22-07N and 104-23E.
        Combat mission cards of Maj Robert M. Krone in Archives of the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

 07-Dec-65
   The F-105D pilots in "Ebony" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off at 07:15 and refueled
   from Red Anchor 25 at 08:05 at 21,000 feet. Their flight lineup was:

   #1 - Maj Fred T. Coleman in 61-0045
   #2 - 1Lt Jerry Donald Driscoll flying 59-1820
   #3 - Capt Steven R. Sanders flying 62-4315
   #4 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 58-1163 on his 14th mission
   Spare - Capt William S. Secker, Jr. in 61-0181

   The flight lineup changed when Maj Coleman ground aborted. Capt Sanders moved up to flight
   lead with Capt Secker, the spare, becoming #3. The flight's mission was MiG CAP for EB-66 ECM
   aircraft (call sign "Flamingo") over Laos and North Vietnam. The F-105s each carried four AIM-
   9Bs. The mission lasted 2 hours 20 minutes.

        Combat mission cards of Maj Robert M. Krone in Archives of the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

 08-Dec-65
   "Spruce" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat at 12:35 and refueled from KC-
   135 "Orange Anchor 51" at 13:00. They accompanied an F-100F Wild Weasel. The mission was
   an 'Iron Hand' armed reconnaissance in North Vietnam.

   The flight lineup was:
     #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 61-0196 on his mission #15
     #2 - Capt William Thomas May in 58-1161
     #3 - Capt John Anthony McCurdy in 62-4302
     #4 - Capt Anthony J. "Tony" Gangol in 62-4410
     #5 - Capt Allen T. Lamb and EWO Capt John E. "Jack" Donovan in F-100F 58-1231
     Airborne F-105D Spare - Capt Eugene "Dave" Hamilton in 60-0425
     Airborne F-100F Spare -: Capt Maurice G. Fricke and EWO Capt Truman Walter Lifsey in F-
   100F 58-1227

   Configuration for the F-105s was 76 2.75-inch rockets carried in four LAU-3 pods, one on each of
   the four wing stations. The aircraft had full internal fuel plus a 390-gallon bomb bay tank and 650-
   gallon external centerline tank. The two F-100Fs were to take off first, join the F-105 flight in the
   refueling area, refuel, and proceed to the target area.

   Bob Krone wrote on his mission card what happened. "McCurdy flamed out 40 miles north of
   Korat. Aircraft caught on fire and McCurdy bailed out. Picked up by chopper from Korat. Gangol,
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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 17 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                    Robert M. Krone
                                                     F-105 History
   May, and I capped until he was picked up then proceeded on with the mission, striking possible
   AAA site and bridge at 20-55N and 103-55E." These target coordinates were just north of the
   border of Laos into North Vietnam about 60 nautical miles SE of Dien Bien Phu.

   The mission lasted for 3 hours 5 minutes.

        Combat mission cards of Maj Robert M. Krone and Capt William T. May in Archives of the National Museum of the
        United States Air Force; USAF Accident/ Incident Report 65-12-8-1 dated 9 Jan 66.
 10-Dec-65
   In a letter home, Maj Robert M. Krone, 469 TFS Operations Officer, described more of life at
   Korat. "It has been at least three days since I have written. Each one was an early (3 or 4 AM)
   awake with no stopping until falling into bed. With the days like that we forget what day it is or how
    long it has been from any particular event. One of the unfortunate things about this life is that
   there is not time to properly document what we are doing. - - - - - The pilots know that certain
   conformation to rules is expected of them and even if they feel the mission requires the violation of
    those rules they won't report accurately just what they have done. We know what occurred
   because we talk to each other and the bar loosens people's tongues.

   "I flew my 15th and 16th missions Wed. and Thursday. I now have 38 hours of flying time so you
   can figure the average length of the missions.

   "The 15th started in an exciting manner. Forty miles from Korat, John McCurdy called that he had
   flamed out. He tried an airstart and a sheet of flame longer than the airplane shot out the tailpipe
   and kept burning. We told him to bail out. It was the first F-105 ejection I have seen. We were at
   10,000 feet and had the chopper alerted before he landed. About 200 Thais soon joined him.
   The airplane went in with a puff of smoke and John appeared out of the heavens with his orange
   and white parachute. Willie May and I orbited high and directed the rescue chopper. When they
   had picked him up, the three of us proceeded with the mission. He had a couple of scratches and
   bruises - otherwise all right.

   "Today our whole effort was cancelled and we let everyone off at 10 A.M. I finished wrapping and
   mailing presents and went over to the Army Camp Friendship just a mile from Korat. It's a dumpy
   base that just acts as an Army storage site. I went to the BX and then to the library and checked
   out several books on Thailand. I became fascinated with some pictures on Bangkok and am
   looking forward to an R and R of about four days beginning about Dec. 20. Everyone else except
   Coop, Jack, and I will have had one by then.

   "It is going to be tough to do any traveling over here other than on the job. Everyday we must fly
   over hundreds of different primitive tribes and cultures and I hope to have time enough to do some
    studying of them other than the military viewpoint. Of course I want to learn some Thai language
   but nothing is being done at Korat along those lines and I may have to find someplace in town.
   Fred de Jong is the only pilot I have found that seems interested in the language or cultural
   aspects.

   "Frank O'Neill has lined up two permanent rooms at the Princess Hotel in Bangkok for the R and R
    people. That's where all the Americans go evidently.

   "Barney and I are talking about starting an aero club here. There are some interested officers
   and men and we are trying to dig out the facts to see if it is possible. Of course, we will have to
   get Col. Sams' approval. Nothing happens on this base without his O.K. With a light airplane we
   could run down to Bangkok in the afternoon and come back in the morning. Barney wants one to
   do his commissary shopping in Bangkok. He is a chef, which I didn't know, and plans on cooking
   most of his meals in the trailer."
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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 18 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                        Robert M. Krone
                                                         F-105 History
        Bob Krone "letter # 13, Korat - 10 Dec 1965".
 11-Dec-65
   The F-105D pilots in "Walnut" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off at 07:15 and refueled
   from White Anchor 57 at 07:30 at 17,000 feet. Their flight lineup was:

   #1 - Capt Fred H. de Jong flying 60-0426
   #2 - Maj James L. Jones flying 58-1158
   #3 - Capt Harold Victor Smith flying 61-0051
   #4 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 61-0068 on his 16th combat mission.
   #5 - Capt Willard F. "Bud" Millner flying 62-4341 as camera ship
   Spare - 59-1768

   Each plane carried five MK-83 1000-lb bombs on an armed reconnaissance of RP-5. "Wx
   overcast. Found hole and cratered road on highway 41 northeast of Dien Bien Phu." The mission
   lasted 1 hour 35 minutes.
        Combat mission cards of Maj Robert M. Krone in Archives of the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

 13-Dec-65
   The F-105D pilots in "Aspen" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off at 08:10 and at 08:40
   refueled from Red Anchor 23 at 17,000 feet. Their flight lineup was:

   #1 - Capt Joseph R. Steen flying 60-0414
   #2 - Capt Harold Victor Smith flying 62-4253
   #3 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 61-0068 on his 17th combat mission
   #4 - Capt Glenn E. "Wally" Belew flying 62-4409
   #5 - Capt Fred H. de Jong flying 58-1156 as a camera ship
   Spare - 62-4341

   Each plane carried four 750-lb bombs with #5 also carrying a camera pod. Their target was the
   Ban Cho Highway Bridge 60 nm west of Hanoi. However, "Wx over whole DRV. Found hole near
   Dien Bien Phu and cut road." The mission lasted 2 hours 40 minutes.

   Later that day, Maj Krone wrote a letter home giving his thoughts on the war. "So far I really
   haven't been faced with the extremely unpleasant side of this business. Fighting from the air is
   rather an impersonal thing and I have been relieved that the targets so far have been impersonal
   also. Bridges and roads and military-type targets provide a rationalization for what we are doing
   as long as one doesn't dwell on the destructiveness. I always have a certain uneasiness about
   the business. It's one thing to think of it in an academic manner and talk about national policy and
    objectives and ideological conflicts and something entirely different to implement the policy when
   it requires destroying the efforts of many people's labor who haven't the slightest understanding of
    why it should be this way. There is a great deal of satisfaction in doing a mission well and these
   missions are probably as difficult and complicated as any get. Every day is like running a tactical
   evaluation flight. It takes a tremendous amount of teamwork and planning and just having one go
   well and observing the professionalism of the pilots here is rewarding. I think the separation of the
    airplane from the battlefield makes the whole thing seem like a game or an athletic event or the
   play in a theater. From the time a 'go' comes down until the engine is shut off there is a certain
   inertia and momentum that carries the whole show through with a kind of fatalism about it. I don't
   feel any more apprehension about it than I used to before a game at Reno High. A few butterflies
   in the stomach that disappear when the engine starts and the thousands of details that are
   required to conduct the flight occupy the attention.

   "I feel that I am as prepared for this as I could be - both professionally and psychologically - and I

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 19 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                    Robert M. Krone
                                                     F-105 History
   don't have any doubts about my ability to cope with the situation.

   "I am beginning to think there is a much higher correlation between the training pilots receive and
   what is expected of them here than I used to. The pilots who were weak in certain areas of
   training demonstrate those same weaknesses here and those whose judgment is marginal on the
   gunnery range have to be watched here as well. Personalities are very evident in the way the
   pilots go about their business. So far morale is high and things are going well."


        Combat mission cards of Maj Robert M. Krone in Archives of the National Museum of the United States Air Force
        & Bob Krone, "letter #14, Korat 13 Dec. 1965".
 14-Dec-65
   In the afternoon, six flights of F-105s from Takhli and five from Korat were fragged against the
   Uong Bi Thermal Power Plant (JCS 82) (BE 616-0438) 14 miles north-northwest of Haiphong,
   North Vietnam, at coordinates 21-02-15N and 106-47-27E.

   However, for the fourth day in a row, the Korat flights (and probably those from Takhli, too) were
   recalled due to weather before they got to the Mekong River. They jettisoned their bombs in the
   Udorn jettison area.

   The call signs and scheduled times over target of the flights from Takhli were:
   Chevy 13:30 Flak Suppression
   Nash 13:33 Flak Suppression
   Dodge 13:41 Strike
   Volvo 13:49 Strike
   Essex 13:57 Strike
   Edsel 14:05 Strike

   The flights from Korat were:
   Ebony 13:20
   Spruce 13:30
   Apple 13:49
   Aspen 13:50
   Bamboo 14:13

   There were three flights of F-4Cs for MiG CAP: Deer, Grizzly, and Sheep. Two EB-66s used call
   signs "Lark" and "Goose".

   "Ebony" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat at 12:35 and was scheduled to
   refuel from KC-135 Ginger Anchor 41.

   Flight line up was:
   #1 - Maj Robert W. Wilson in 62-4340
   #2 - 1Lt Jerry Donald Driscoll in 58-1163
   #3 - Capt William Thomas May in 58-1158
   #4 - Capt Frank R. O'Neill in 62-4409
   Spare - Capt Harold Victor Smith in 60-0473

   "Bamboo" flight, also from the 469 TFS, took off from Korat at 12:40 and was scheduled to refuel
   at 13:23 from Ginger Anchor 35 at 15,000 feet. They each carried two 3,000-lb bombs. Their
   planned delivery was at 475 knots in a 45-degree dive with release at 6,500 feet MSL.

   Their flight line up was:
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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 20 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                   Robert M. Krone
                                                    F-105 History
   #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 62-4334 on his 19th mission.
   #2 - Capt Glenn E. "Wally" Belew flying 62-4410
   #3 - Maj James L. Jones flying 61-0220
   #4 - Capt Willard F. "Bud" Millner flying 59-1820
   #5 - Capt Fred H. de Jong flying 58-1156 as a camera ship.
   Spare - Capt Joseph R. Steen in 62-4253

   After this mission was weathered out, another strike against this JCS target was scheduled for the
   next day, 15 December 1965.
      Combat mission cards of Maj Robert M. Krone & undated combat mission cards of Capt William T. May in
       Archives of the National Museum of the United States Air Force (Daily code words and SIF code match Bob
       Krone's card for 14 Dec 65.)
 15-Dec-65
   In a repeat of yesterday's attempt to attack this target, "F-105 pilots broke through low clouds to
   strike the heart of the Uong Bi Thermal Power Plant (JCS 82) (BE 616-0438) 14 miles north-
   northwest of Haiphong, North Vietnam [at coordinates 21-02-15N and 106-47-27E]. ..." The strike
   involved 108 Air Force aircraft. "Twenty-three F-105s flew a strike profile, while sixty-seven other
   Thunderchiefs, F-4Cs, EB-66s, RF-101s, and KC-135s flew support." ("Gradual Failure: The Air
   War over North Vietnam: 1965 - 1966", pg 203.)

   "The Uong Bi Thermal Power Plant was one of the largest plants in NVN, producing about 14
   percent of the nation's total capacity of 176,000 kilowatts. The bulk of its power production went
   to Hanoi and Haiphong (supplying one-fourth of Hanoi's power consumption and one-third of
   Haiphong's) and had been scheduled for expansion at the end of 1965. Strikes were scheduled
   by the Air Force on five consecutive days. Finally, on the fifth day [15 December], seven of 28
   strike and flak suppression aircraft struck the plant. ..."

   The 355 TFW at Takhli and the 6234 TFW at Korat provided the same number of F-105 flights
   using identical call signs as in yesterday's weather-aborted attempt to strike this target.

   Today's call signs and scheduled times over target of the flights from Takhli were:
   Chevy 08:00 Flak Suppression
   Nash 08:03
   Dodge 08:11
   Volvo 08:19
   Essex 08:27
   Edsel 08:35

   The flights from Korat were:
   Ebony
   Spruce
   Apple
   Aspen
   Bamboo 08:43

   As in yesterday's strike force, there were three flights of F-4Cs for MiG CAP -- "Deer", "Grizzly",
   and "Sheep" -- that were to be in the target area between 08:40 and 09:00. Two EB-66s for
   stand-off jamming used call signs "Lark" and "Goose".

   "Diving through overcast skies and heavy anti-aircraft fire, the F-105s dropped 15 tons of 3,000-
   pound bombs on the 24,000 KW plant which supplies 15 percent of the Communist North's
   electrical power. Two pilots hit a multi-story generator hall, and three other pilots hit a transformer
    yard and an open storage area, destroying 13 buildings. F-105 strike pilots noted several

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 21 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                               Robert M. Krone
                                                F-105 History
   secondary explosions erupting from the generator hall, and one pilot reported blue and white
   electrical sparks flashing through the 250 by 540-foot transformer yard." (Republic Thunderchief
   Report)

   One flight from the 334 TFS "... was the only flight ... in the wing to get to the target due to
   adverse weather. The pilots were able to release their bombs and the results were excellent.
   Three pilots of this flight, Squadron Commander Lt Col Charles A. Watry, Capt Robert F. Gadd III,
   and Maj John H. Axley, have all been recommended for the Distinguished Flying Cross for this
   action." (355 TFW history)

   "Minutes before the strike, ["Chevy" flight with each plane carrying four LAU-3 pods] ... used 2.75-
   inch rockets to suppress antiaircraft sites both north and east of the power complex. Throughout
   the attack, pilots received automatic weapons and 37-, 57-, and 85-mm antiaircraft fire. No
   missiles were sighted during the attack. One F-105 [from "Dodge" flight] was downed by
   antiaircraft fire, and the pilot, Capt. Harry D. DeWitt [Dodge 01], ejected over the Gulf of Tonkin.
   He was picked up by an Air Force HU-16 Albatross within 30 minutes after landing in the water."
   Five other F-105s were damaged by AAA fire.

   The 333 TFS, having arrived at Takhli only a week before, formed two of the 355 TFW flights sent
   against the Uong Bi Plant. Capt A. Tye Jarvis, an experienced pilot from the 334 TFS, was "Nash
   01" leading three pilots from the 333 TFS: Capt James E. Bayles (#2), Maj Ralph A. Ritteman (#3),
    and Capt George W. Acree II (#4) flying F-105D 62-4301 on his third combat mission. After
   briefing at 03:00 for the early morning strike, the flight encountered severe weather en route to
   the target. They flew through light rain and "very bad" cloud layers from the deck to 16,000 feet.
   Weather obscured their primary target so they each dropped their two 3,000-pound bombs on a
   nearby flak site. The flight returned to Takhli after flying for 3 hours 40 minutes.

   Acree:"Scary mission. Heavy flak, SAMs, and MiGs." (Acree flight log)

   "Essex" was the fifth flight from Takhli that attempted to strike the power plant. The flight took off
   at 09:40. Capt Donald L. Totten from the 334 TFS, "Essex 1", on TDY from Seymour Johnson,
   aborted en route to the target leaving three pilots from the 333 TFS to fly the rest of the mission
   on their own. Totten logged 1 hour 55 minutes of flying time on his 76th combat mission. (Totten
   flight log)

   Maj John M. Lowery moved up to lead "Essex" flight. Capt Robert J. Tastet was # 2. Number 3
   was Capt Robert D. Gobble in F-105D 61-0085 flying his third combat mission. They each carried
    five 1,000-pound bombs. (Note: The 355 TFW history reported that each plane in the flight
   carried two 3,000-pound bombs.)

   Gobble: "This was supposed to be the big target but did we ever mess up. It was a JCS target - a
   hydro-electric plant. It's a big target and we had been trying to get off on it for several days but
   the weather was bad. Of course, the first time I was scheduled for it, it went. Totten was to lead
   but aborted after takeoff due to a radio [failure]. Lowery took the lead, Tastet #2 and I became
   #3. We refueled and went toward the target. SAMs and MiG red were called. We let down and hit
    the IP but the weather was so bad we didn't go into the target. We saw [Capt Donald J.]
   Mattasolio orbiting because DeWitt had been shot down. Lowery saw flak but it was not shooting
   at us. DeWitt was picked up by an SA-16. We jettisoned our bombs in the water and came
   home." By the time they returned to Takhli they had flown for 3 hours 25 minutes. (Gobble flight
   log)

   "Bamboo" flight from the 469 TFS took off from Korat at 10:05 and refueled at 10:53 from Ginger
   Anchor 35 at 15,000 feet. Each plane carried two 3,000-lb bombs and their time over target was

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 22 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                    Robert M. Krone
                                                     F-105 History
   11:43. Their alternate was a target in RP-4 at coordinates 18-14N and 106-03E. The flight lineup
   was:

   #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 62-4253 on his 19th mission.
   #2 - 1Lt Jerry Donald Driscoll flying 58-1161
   #3 - Maj Robert W. Wilson flying 59-1820
   #4 - Capt Harold Victor Smith flying 60-0426
   #5 - Capt Fred H. de Jong flying 58-1156 as camera chase on his 19th mission
   Spare - Capt Eugene D. "Dave" Hamilton in 59-1823

   Krone: "Mission flown in bad weather. ... de Jong got battle damage and lost utility hydraulics and
   drag chute." "Aspen" and "Ebony" flights flew SAR for Capt DeWitt. (Combat mission card of Maj
   Robert M. Krone in USAF Museum Archives)

   That night, Maj Krone wrote a letter home commenting on this mission. "... Today was my 19th
   and the most interesting up to date in spite of the fact that the weather made it a fiasco. I led the
   flight of Driscoll, Wilson, Smith and de Jong. It was one of those huge gaggles. Lately I have been
    hearing Chuck Watry, Mort, Carlson, Ahearn and Caldwell in the air a lot. Like voices out of the
   past.

   "We have now completed one month's operation - 428 missions and about 835 hours of time. In
   the states, the whole 355th Wing was doing well to fly 1,000 hours per month." (Bob Krone,
   "Letter #15 15 Dec. Korat - 1965").

   The " ... poor weather forced all but seven of the strike F-105s to jettison their 750-pound, 1,000-
   pound, and 3,000-pound bombs. The other fighter-bombers dropped fourteen 3,000-pound
   bombs in a corner of the target area and expended 304 2.75-inch rockets on a nearby antiaircraft
   site." ("Gradual Failure: The Air War over North Vietnam: 1965 - 1966", pg 203.)

   "Although transmission lines were cut, the plant was not put out of operation. ... " It became the
   Navy's turn to attack this target and they struck the plant on 19 December. On their first strike
   with 2,000-pound bombs, they, too, missed the plant but no aircraft were lost. "The Navy made a
   night strike on the Uong Bi Thermal Power Plant (JCS 82) on 20 December. Six A-6As dropped
   2,000-pound bombs by radar, but no additional damage was reported." (Project CHECO, Rolling
   Thunder, July 1965 - December 1966, pg 18.)

   "On 20 December, an RA-5C from the USS Kittyhawk, attempting to take post-strike photos,
   disappeared en route to the plant. Both crew members died. The Navy flew a third strike against
   the power plant on 22 December. This time they destroyed most of the plant with bombs and
   1,000-pound Bullpup missiles. But the price of having to strike this target a third time was high.
   Two A-4s from the USS Enterprise were downed by ground fire. One of the A-4 pilots was killed
   and the other became a POW. In three attacks over 8 days, this JCS target claimed an Air Force
   F-105 and three Navy planes with three crewmen killed and one captured. North Vietnam suffered
    a temporary loss of about 27 percent of their electrical capacity. ("Gradual Failure: The Air War
   over North Vietnam: 1965 - 1966", pg 204 & CNA Loss/Damage Database, frame B04, Navy
   losses 101 and 102.)




        Project CHECO Report, Rolling Thunder, pg 18 & 355 TFW History, Dec 65, USAF microfilm NO461, frame 1027
        & Republic Aviation Thunderchief Report, Vol. I No 5, January 1, 1966 & F-105D Combat Diaries of Capt. George
        W. Acree II and Capt Robert D. Gobble.
 17-Dec-65

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 23 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                     Robert M. Krone
                                                      F-105 History
   In a letter, Maj Robert M. Krone, Operations Officer of the 469 TFS at Korat, commented on poor
   documentation of the air war. "The mission itself is about as interesting as it could be ... . I really
   feel fortunate that I am here at this time. I'm sure you are familiar with the out-of-country
   operations although I have found that, as in most situations, the behavioral aspects are vastly
   different from the official reports.

   "One thing that disturbs me is the documentation, or lack of it, that is going on. A great deal of
   information is being cranked into the computers, mostly taken from daily intelligence reports. But
   what is happening is that the inevitable personalities involved in command relationships and
   interservice rivalries and the desire to 'please the old man' come into play. Pressures are exerted
   down the chain of command for conformance to certain ideas regarding tactics and it is well known
    that non-conformance to these methods will bring displeasure. As a result the inputs into the
   intelligence reports are not a true reflection of exactly how the air war is being fought.

   "One area that is terrifically difficult to document is that of tactics themselves. We are operating in
   an entirely new environment. The various combination of small arms, automatic weapons, AAA,
   SAMs, and MiGs is something we have not coped with before. We don't know all the answers and
   we don't seem to have the resources to accurately document what we are doing. We work a
   seven-day week and usually 12 - 16 hours a day. The missions are long and complicated and
   drain a lot of energy. Two a day is really too much and pilots are in no condition to have their
   brains picked after a day like that. All they want to do is have a few drinks, dinner, and hit the
   sack."
        Bob Krone, "Letter #16 Dec. 17 - 65 Korat. Enclosure: Letter to Betty and Frank Cox."
 18-Dec-65
   The four F-105Ds in "Aspen" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat at 14:05 with
   a time-over-target of 15:10. At 14:05 they refueled from KC-135s "White Anchor" 41, 42, and 43.
   The flight had ECM support from eight EB-66s with call signs "Lark" and "Goose". The mission
   was a leaflet drop in response to the Viet Cong bombing of the Metropole Hotel in Saigon on 4
   December.

   The flight line up was:
   #1 Capt William Thomas May in 62-4340
   #2 Capt Anthony J. "Tony" Gangol in 61-0051
   #3 Maj Robert M. Krone in 61-0120 flying his 20th mission.
   #4 Capt Frank R. O'Neill in 61-0179
   Spare: Capt Glenn E. "Wally" Belew in 60-0425

   After this mission, Capt May was awarded his first Air Medal for the period 1 November 1965 to 19
   December 1965. "... During this period, outstanding airmanship and courage were exhibited in the
    successful accomplishment of important missions under extremely hazardous conditions including
   the continuous possibility of hostile ground fire. His highly professional efforts contributed
   materially to the mission of the United States Air Force in southeast Asia. ..." (May's award citation)

        Combat mission cards of Maj Robert M. Krone and Capt William T. May in Archives of the National Museum of the
        United States Air Force.
 20-Dec-65
   Three flights of four F-105Ds from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, at Korat flew combat missions into
   Laos and North Vietnam.

   In the morning, "Elm" flight took off at 0730 with times-over-targets in Laos of 0810 and 0820. The
    flight lineup was:

   #1 Capt William Thomas May in 59-1820
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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 24 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                     Robert M. Krone
                                                      F-105 History
   #2 Maj Robert W. Wilson in 62-4334
   #3 Capt Gilbert Bruce Holmes, Jr. in 61-0051
   #4 Capt Anthony J. "Tony" Gangol in 60-0414
   Spare: Capt William S. Koenitzer in 59-1823

   "Locust" flight took off at 0755 with times-over-target in Laos of 0830 and 0835 with the mission
   lasting 1 hour 40 minutes. The flight lineup was:

   #1 Maj Robert M. Krone in 62-4340 flying his 21st mission.
   #2 Capt William S. Secker, Jr. in 61-0120
   #3 Maj Fred T. Coleman in 60-0425
   #4 Capt Steven R. Sanders in 61-0095
   Spare: Capt Frank R. O'Neill in 61-0181

   Each plane in the flight carried six 750-pound bombs with five of the bombs having time-delay
   fuzes. They cratered a highway between Plaine des Jarres and Ban Ban on Route #7 at
   coordinates 19-35N and 103-24E. They also strafed a gun emplacement.

   In the afternoon, "Ebony" flight took off at 1405 with times-over-target in North Vietnam of 1518
   and 1543. The flight refueled from KC-135s orbiting in the White Anchor and Orange Anchor
   refueling tracks. The flight lineup was:

   #1 Maj James L. Jones in 62-4340
   #2 Capt Glenn E. "Wally" Belew in 61-0045
   #3 Capt Joseph R. Steen in 60-0425
   #4 Maj Fred T. Coleman in 61-0051
   Spare: Capt William Thomas May in 61-0095

        Combat mission cards of Capt William T. May (undated) and Maj Bob Krone in Archives of the National Museum
        of the United States Air Force (May's daily code words and SIF code entries match Krone's card for 20 Dec 65.)

 21-Dec-65
   The four F-105Ds in "Locust" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat at 06:30 with
   a time-over-target of 07:40. They refueled from a KC-135 "Red Anchor 61" at 07:01 at an
   altitude of 17,000 feet.

   The flight line up was:
   #1 - Capt William Thomas May in 58-1158
   #2 - Capt Anthony J. "Tony" Gangol in 61-0179
   #3 - Maj Fred T. Coleman in 61-0120
   #4 - Capt Joseph R. Steen in 62-4253
   F-105D 59-1768 was the flight's spare.

   They struck two targets in North Vietnam; one at coordinates 19-47N and 105-32E, which was 14
   NM SSE of Thanh Hoa, the other at 21-06N and 104-12E, 81 NM west of Hanoi.

   "Redwood" flight, also from the 469 TFS, launched its five F-105Ds at 06:45 and refueled from
   "Red Anchor 63 at 07:50 at an altitude of 17,000 feet. Their primary target was a highway bridge
   at coordinates 18-11N and 105-42E. Their secondary target was in Mu Gia Pass at 21-51N and
   104-06E. Two of the planes carried AGM-12C Bullpup missiles. The flight lineup was:

   #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 61-0045 on his 22nd mission.
   #2 - Capt Gilbert Bruce Holmes, Jr. flying 62-4315
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                                                     Robert M. Krone
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   #3 - Maj Phillip O. Bradley flying 61-0188
   #4 - Capt Gordon E. Lewis flying 60-0473
   #5 - Capt Frank R. O'Neill flying 58-1163 as camera chase.

   The flight was diverted from its targets and flew RESCAP for Capt James V. Sullivan from the 421
   TFS who was shot down and rescued 62 NM NW of Dong Hoi, North Vietnam. Maj Krone
   commented on this mission in a letter home. "Today I flew my 22nd mission, which started as a
   GAM (air-to-ground missile) flight but ended up as a RESCAP for Captain Sullivan of the 421st,
   who was shot down in the same area as Mahaffey. He was picked up by the choppers at 9 AM
   and was on the Bob Hope show at Udorn at 11 AM as a guest."

   His letter covered other topics. "The flight line is bustling with activity as it is every night. The
   maintenance men work all night to reconfigure the planes with the proper loads and make
   necessary repairs for the next day. The maintenance area is especially critical in manpower now.
   They are so short that many crew chiefs are crewing two airplanes at once. The need is apparent
   but the PCS pipeline had not caught up with the demand. Most of the men haven’t had a day off
   since they arrived; it is telling on the in-commission rate of the airplanes and the morale of
   everyone."

   "I think I will take a few days off in Bangkok beginning on Dec. 27th. I want to be here for our
   Christmas party and Bradley and O'Neill want R and R over Christmas. Now Coop, Gaudion, and I
    are the only ones who have not had an R and R." (Bob Krone, "Letter # 19, 21 December, 1965".)

        Combat mission cards of Capt William T. May (undated) and Maj Bob Krone in Archives of the National Museum
        of the United States Air Force (May's daily code words and SIF code entries match Krone's card for 21 Dec 65.)

 22-Dec-65
   "Aspen" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat at 14:00 and refueled from KC-
   135 "White Anchor 21" at 14:30 at 20,000 feet. The four F-105Ds escorted an F-100F Wild
   Weasel on an Iron Hand Strike mission. Their time over target was 15:10.

   Flight line up was:
   #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone in 62-4242 flying his 23rd mission
   #2 - Capt Gordon E. Lewis in 58-1161
   #3 - Capt William Thomas May in 60-0409
   #4 - Capt Anthony J. "Tony" Gangol in 62-4334
   #5 - Capt Edward B. White and EWO Capt Edward "Sandy" Sandelius in F-100F 58-1221.
   The F-105D spare was Capt Frank R. O'Neill in 58-1163
   The crew in the F-100F Wild Weasel spare aircraft was Capt Leslie L. Lindenmuth and EWO Capt
   Donald J. Madden.

   The flight struck two targets in North Vietnam - a military area at coordinates 20-13N and 105-28E,
    which was 30 NM NNW of Thanh Hoa, and a nearby bridge at 20-12N and 105-30E. Maj Krone's
   aircraft received AAA damage to its right wing. The Wild Weasel crew from "Aspen" flight did not
   find a SAM site.

   However, the F-100F Wild Weasel crew from another flight ("Spruce") escorted by four F-105D
   pilots from the 421 TFS found and destroyed a SAM site, the first (and only) success for the Wild
   Weasel I detachment that had arrived at Korat from Eglin on 25 November 1965.

   Maj Krone was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for this mission. "Major Robert M. Krone is
   awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism while participating in aerial flight as a F-105
   pilot over North Vietnam on 22 December 1965. On that date, Major Krone led a flight of F-105
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                                                      Robert M. Krone
                                                       F-105 History
   aircraft against a hostile missile site. With outstanding leadership and superior airmanship, Major
   Krone dangerously exposed himself for lengths of time well above and beyond normal mission
   requirements. The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Major Krone
   reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force."
   (http://www.dfcsociety.org/citation_detail.asp?ID=1649)


        Combat mission cards of Capt William T. May (undated) and Maj Bob Krone in USAF Museum Archives (May's
        lineup, daily code words, and SIF code entries match Krone's card for 22 Dec 65); Wild Weasel I final report, pg
        77.
 23-Dec-65
   In the morning, "Bamboo" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat at 07:20 and at
   07:50 refueled from KC-135 "White Anchor 30" at 13,000 feet. The flight carried LAU-3 rocket
   pods. Their mission was a river recce at 20-34N and 105-00E with a time-over-target of 08:30.
   "Recce on Nam Ma River SW of Hanoi."

   Their lineup was:
   #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 61-0095 on his 24th mission.
   #2 - Col Monroe S. "Saber" Sams (the 6234 TFW commander) flying 61-0196
   #3 - Maj Phillip O. Bradley in 62-4258
   #4 - Capt Gilbert Bruce Holmes, Jr. in 61-0069
   Spare - Capt Eugene D. "Dave" Hamilton in 61-0187

   Maj Bradley ground aborted when he suffered severe diarrhea and the spare, Capt Hamilton,
   replaced him. In a letter home, Maj Krone commented on this mission. "I flew my 24th mission this
    morning. Col Sams was my wingman and Hamilton and Holmes were 3 and 4. Hamilton still lacks
   some of the savvy required but he is doing a good job; Bruce Holmes is a natural. The flight went
   well - We don't put Col Sams on the tough ones. He complimented me on the way it went so I
   guess I have passed one more hurdle. He has been pretty critical of the flight leads he has been
   with." (Bob Krone letter dated 23 December 1965.)

   In the afternoon, "Walnut" flight, also from the 469 TFS, took off at 15:05 and at 15:15 refueled
   from "Red Anchor 26" at 13,000 feet.

   The flight lineup was:
   #1 - Maj William E. Cooper (the 469 TFS commander) in 62-4253
   #2 - Capt William Thomas May in 61-0188
   #3 - Capt Gordon E. Lewis in 62-4242
   #4 - Capt Anthony J. "Tony" Gangol in 61-0045
   Spare - Maj Robert W. Wilson in 62-4340

   The target was on the coast of North Vietnam at location 17-54N and 106-28E, 27 NM NNW of
   Dong Hoi in RP-1.


        Combat mission cards of Capt William T. May (undated) and Maj Bob Krone in USAF Museum Archives (May's
        daily code words and SIF code entry match Krone's card for 23 Dec 65)
 24-Dec-65
   "Flying armed reconnaissance over routes of travel in the Communist North, F-105 Thunderchiefs
   flew almost 70 strike sorties on December 24th, final wave-off date for the temporary halt in
   bombing activities over North Vietnam. Pilots dropped about 165 tons of 500- and 750-pound
   bombs and fired 20-mm cannon and 2.75 rockets." (Republic report)

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                                                     Robert M. Krone
                                                      F-105 History
   On the day of the President-directed bombing halt into North Vietnam, the four F-105Ds in
   "Spruce" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat at 09:05 and refueled at 09:20 at
    17,000 feet from KC-135 "White Anchor 34". The flight lineup was:

   #1- Maj William E. Cooper flying 58-1157
   #2 - Capt Gordon E. Lewis flying 61-0126
   #3 - Maj John J. "Jack" Gaudion flying 60-0425
   #4 - Capt William Thomas May flying 61-0179
   Spare - Capt Fred H. de Jong in 59-1768

   Their time-over-target was 10:00. (May's card)

   For today's mission, Capt May received the Air Medal (Fourth Oak Leaf Cluster) for meritorious
   achievement. "... Capt May participated in a flight of F-105s assigned to destroy a military support
    area in North Vietnam. The target was located in an extremely narrow valley surrounded by
   mountains rising between 5000 and 7000 feet above the valley floor. In addition, a new area had
   been built since the last photo reconnaissance. Capt May elected to retain ordnance for use on
   the new support facility. The assigned area as well as the new support facility were completely
   destroyed with numerous secondary explosions noted. ...". (May award citation)

   In the afternoon, "Elm" flight from the 469 TFS took off at 13:50 and at 14:20 refueled from "Blue
   Anchor 26" at 17,000 feet. Their target was a storage area at 21-26N and 103-47E. The flight
   carried LAU-3 rocket pods.

   Their lineup was:
   #1 - Capt Steven R. Sanders flying 61-0095
   #2 - Capt William S. Secker, Jr. flying 62-4409
   #3 - Maj Fred T. Coleman flying 61-0196
   #4 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 61-0069 on his 25th mission

   "Secker blew gun panel off aircraft."

   Capt Gilbert Bruce Holmes, Jr. also from the 469 TFS at Korat flew a mission on this day for which
   he was awarded the Air Medal (Fourth Oak Leaf Cluster). " ... Captain Holmes was continuously
   subjected to intense hostile ground fire. Despite this formidable obstacle as well as the extremely
   close proximity of friendly forces, he made a perfect dive bomb pass causing maximum
   destruction. ... " (Holmes award citation)

        Republic Aviation Thunderchief Report, Vol. I No 6, Feb 1, 66 & Combat mission cards of Bill May (undated) and
        Maj Bob Krone in USAF Museum Archives (May's daily code words and SIF code match Krone's card for 24 Dec
        65 & Capt Holmes' Award Citation.
 25-Dec-65
   Maj Robert M. Krone, the 469 TFS Operations Officer did not fly today. His letter home
   commented on squadron pilots and the 100-mission policy. "A day of rest and everyone was
   relieved. We didn't get the word until yesterday afternoon although the Stars and Stripes said
   there would be a thirty-hour truce from 6 yesterday until midnight tonight.

   "We now average about 26 missions per pilot, not counting the five who have over fifty (Wilson,
   Koenitzer, Holmes, May, O'Neill). At this rate people will be completed in five months. I feel that
   we are doing an excellent job and have now reached the point where out transition is over and
   everything will be well done' We have passed the stage where most of the concentration mush be
   on making the airplane do what it must and now we are seeing more, getting more accuracy and
   better results. The level of professionalism is very satisfying to observe and I am mulling over
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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 28 of 87
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                                                    Robert M. Krone
                                                     F-105 History
   some way to write about it. We don't have a weak pilot in the bunch. Hamilton still has a lot to
   learn but he isn't weak and flies good wing now. I never fly with Coop but evidently he has made
   the transition to an excellent leader now. One thing about Coop: he puts the ordnance on the
   target. He doesn't see as well as he should and has a little trouble with navigation and target
   identification but we always have strong people flying with him. I think his judgment is excellent.
   When he flies, he always leads. I prefer to rotate through all the positions feeling that I learn more
    about the other pilots' abilities that way. I have insisted that Jack do that also and he grudgingly
   complies.

   "I flew my 25th yesterday and will get one more tomorrow before going on the R and R to Bangkok.
     I may stay there over New Year's day as it is quite a big holiday in Thailand, also.

   "Everyone is so pleased with the flying every day and the way the missions are adding up rapidly.
   Several pilots are even grumbling about not flying today. 'Just one more day we'll be here.' We
   are holding our breath about the '100 missions and home' policy. It will be a blow to everyone if
   they should change that now."


        Bob Krone, " Letter # 20 Christmas Day - 1965".
 26-Dec-65
   In the morning, four F-105Ds in "Spruce" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat
   at 07:55 and refueled at 17,000 feet from KC-135 "Blue Anchor 20" at 08:25. The time-over-
   target was 09:05. Their target coordinates in southern Laos were 15-18N and 107-38E.

   The flight lineup was:
   #1 - Capt William Thomas May in 62-4341
   #2 - Capt Gordon E. Lewis in 60-0429
   #3 - Maj Robert M. Krone in 62-4248 (Bob Krone had no corresponding mission card.)
   #4 - Maj Robert W. Wilson in 60-0428
   Spare - 1Lt Jerry Donald Driscoll in 60-0442

   In the afternoon, four F-105Ds in "Walnut" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat
   at 13:55 and refueled at 13,000 feet from KC-135 "White Anchor 33" at 14:10. Each plane carried
    six 750-pound bombs. The flight lineup was:
   #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone in 60-0473 flying his mission # 26
   #2 - 1Lt Jerry Donald Driscoll in 59-1768
   #3 - Capt Glenn E. "Wally " Belew in 61-0051
   #4 - Capt Gordon E. Lewis in 61-0181

   Their target was at coordinates 20-10N and 103-41E in central Laos. "This was a FAC mission 15
    NM SW of Sam Neua, Laos. Weather at 7,500' precluded drop ??? made one strafe pass." The
   flight lasted 2 hours 20 minutes.

        Combat mission cards of Capt William T. May (undated) and Maj Bob Krone in USAF Museum Archives (May's
        daily code words and SIF code entry match Krone's afternoon mission card for 26 Dec 65).
 27-Dec-65
   The four F-105Ds in "Locust" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat at 07:25 and
   refueled at 13,000 feet from KC-135 "White Anchor 31" at 07:40. Their time-over-target was
   08:20. The coordinates of their primary target in central Laos were 19-34N and 103-03E, six NM
   NNW of Kieng Khouang.

   The flight lineup was:
   #1 - Capt William Thomas May in 60-0442
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                                                  Robert M. Krone
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   #2 - Maj John J. "Jack" Gaudion in 60-0473, which was the spare aircraft after 61-0196 aborted.
   #3 - Capt Gordon E. Lewis in 61-0120
   #4 - Maj Robert W. Wilson in 62-4258

   At 08:20, the four F-105Ds in "Tamarack" flight, also from the 469 TFS, took off from Korat on a
   mission against the Ban Lang Khang military area in Laos at location 16-31N and 105-40E. Each
   plane carried six 750-lb bombs. At 08:35, they refueled from White Anchor 33 at 13,000 feet to
   meet their TOT of 09:15. Their lineup was:

   #1 - Capt Willard F. "Bud" Millner flying 61-0068
   #2 - Capt Harold Victor Smith flying 61-0069
   #3 - Maj James L. Jones flying 62-4341
   #4 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 61-0051 on his 27th mission.
   Spare - Capt Joseph R. Steen in 61-0188

   After this mission Maj Krone went to Bangkok for four days of R & R.

        Combat mission cards of Capt William T. May (undated) and Maj Bob Krone in USAF Museum Archives (May's
        daily code words and SIF code entry match Krone's mission card for 27 Dec 65).
 01-Jan-66
   Four F-105Ds in "Ebony" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat on New Year's
   Day at 09:15 and at 09:25 refueled at 17,000 feet from KC-135 "White Anchor 33". Their time-
   over-target was 10:05. The coordinates of their target were 17-34N and 105-44E in Laos. Each
   plane carried six 750-lb bombs. The flight lineup was:

   #1 - Capt Glenn E. "Wally" Belew flying 61-0204
   #2 - Capt Willard F. "Bud" Millner flying 61-0120
   #3 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 60-0442 on his 28th mission
   #4 - Maj James L. Jones flying 62-4248
   Spare - Capt Fred H. de Jong in 62-4315

   Four F-105Ds in "Cedar" flight also from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat an hour
   later at 10:15 and at 11:00 refueled at 24,000 feet from KC-135 "Ginger Anchor 61". Their time-
   over-target was 11:25. The coordinates of their target were 16-45N and 107-10E, near Quang
   Tri, South Vietnam.

   The flight lineup was:
   #1 - Capt Frank R. O'Neill flying 61-0095
   #2 - Capt Gordon E. Lewis flying 62-4253
   #3 - Capt John A. McCurdy flying 62-4325
   #4 - Capt William Thomas May flying 59-1749
   Spare - Capt Harold Victor Smith in 62-4244

        Combat mission cards of Capt William T. May (undated) and Maj Bob Krone in USAF Museum Archives (May's
        daily code words and SIF code entry match Krone's mission card for 1 Jan 66).
 02-Jan-66
   In the morning, four F-105Ds in "Bamboo" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat
   at 07:15 and at 07:25 refueled at 17,000 feet from KC-135 "Red Anchor 20". Their time-over-
   target was 08:10. The coordinates of their target were 20-24N and 104-13E, which was 10
   nautical miles east of Sam Neua, Laos. The flight lineup was:

   #1 - Capt John A. McCurdy flying 61-0120

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                                             Robert M. Krone
                                              F-105 History
   #2 - Capt William Thomas May flying 61-0196
   #3 - Maj Robert W. Wilson flying 60-0473
   #4 - Capt Frank R. O'Neill flying 59-1768
   Spare - Capt Gordon E. Lewis in 61-0048

   Two other flights from the 469 TFS flew afternoon missions.

   "Ebony" flight took off at 13:05 and at 13:20 refueled from "Red Anchor 21" at 17,000 feet. Their
   TOT was 14:05. Each plane carried six 750-lb bombs and their target was the same military area
   in Laos that "Bamboo" flight had struck in the morning. Also, the four F-105Ds were the same tail
   numbers as flown by the pilots in "Bamboo" flight. "Ebony" flight's lineup was:

   #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 61-0120 on his 29th mission.
   #2 - Capt Gilbert Bruce Holmes, Jr. flying 61-0196
   #3 - Maj Phillip O. Bradley flying 60-0473
   #4 - Capt Robert L. Chastain flying 61-0048

   In what would become part of the 469th's oral history program, Capt Chastain carried a tape
   recorder in his cockpit where he recorded his comments on the mission as it was being flown. The
    recording described the takeoff and refueling. This mission was a probe-and-drogue refueling
   and Maj Krone had trouble getting his plane to take on fuel and had to disconnect and reconnect
   with the basket several times before he successfully refueled. Chastain reported that he had
   11,000 lbs of fuel before he connected to the tanker and the flight could have flown the mission
   without refueling if it had been necessary. As the flight circled the target, he reported that, "The
   morning flight claimed they wiped the target out but #2 says he doesn't think they did." The flight
   encountered no enemy defensive fire.

   Maj Krone and Capt Holmes did not return directly to Korat. In a note on the back of his mission
   card Krone wrote, "Bruce Holmes & I post-strike refueled and made a pass at Udorn, low level
   back to Korat, afterburner climb to 43,000'." Capt Holmes was within two weeks of flying his 100th
   mission and going home.

   Two hours later, the four F-105Ds of "Locust" flight, also from the 469 TFS, took off from Korat at
   16:05 and at 16:35 refueled at 17,000 feet from KC-135 "White Anchor 34". Their time-over-
   target was 17:20. Their target at 20-20N and 104-21E, 20 nautical miles southeast of Sam Neua,
   Laos, was near the target of "Bamboo" and "Ebony" flights. The flight lineup was:

   #1 - Maj Robert W. Wilson flying 62-4253 on his second flight of the day.
   #2 - Capt Gordon E. Lewis flying 58-1163
   #3 - Capt William Thomas May flying 60-0414 on his second flight of the day.
   #4 - Capt Glenn E. "Wally" Belew flying 61-0069
   Spare - Capt Fred H. de Jong in 62-4315

   In today's letter home, Maj Krone told of recent happenings in the squadron. "Tomorrow is late
   briefing because Coop doesn't want to fly with Col Sams who wants to fly in the afternoon. That
   means Coop flies in the morning and I fly in the afternoon - with Col Sams. I don't really mind.
   The only difference is that the preparation for the flight must be more thorough and the briefing
   more complete. He only flies once a week and needs to be refreshed on a lot of the details that
   we can overlook with the squadron pilots.

   "It didn't really seem like Christmas here and we flew straight through. I had a mission late
   Christmas Eve afternoon (which was one of the last to be flown to the North) and then we even
   had four sorties on Christmas Day, which Coop led so the pilots didn't really have much time to

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 31 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                     Robert M. Krone
                                                      F-105 History
   feel sorry for themselves.

   "I flew the 26th, and morning of the 27th, then caught the C-130 to Bangkok at 2 PM on the 27th.
   The four days in Bangkok were great for me. It was the first time since we left McConnell that I
   really had any time to catch up on sleep. I got eight hours sleep every night plus a short sun bath
   at the pool every day. The party at the club New Years Eve was like nothing else I can remember.


   "One indication of the maturity of this group is that we have not had one case of a pilot missing a
   briefing or being too hung over to fly since we have been here. Nobody gives ultimatums about
   how much to drink or when to be home and everyone uses the necessary discretion.

   "The 469th is really doing awfully well from all aspects. Coop is convinced that if Don Green had
   not been lost on the 16th of November that he never would have been. Those first few days we
   were really at the mercy of the 357th while we were getting checked out and Coop feels that in
   spite of their experience their flight leads made mistakes, which should not have been made. I am
   inclined to agree with him but there is no way of proving that or nothing to be gained by trying. We
    are following procedures, which minimize the risks without jeopardizing the mission. The
   operation is almost to the point of being routine in that everyone is knowledgeable in the areas
   they need to be and after flying 65 hours in six weeks everyone is pretty sharp as far as flying the
   airplane goes.

   "I was flying during the Bob Hope show. It was three hours late but well received. He really does a
    fantastic job with two or three shows a day in different places. It is amazing how much it helps the
   morale. We let as many people go as possible. The airmen talked about it for days and it will no
   doubt be a highlight in their tour. He has the same old formula: beautiful girls scantily dressed and
    ribs at the military brass. It's always funny and pleasing to the troops.

   "Coop is taking his first R and R beginning Wed. That will make me the acting CO and put Jack as
    acting Ops although I will be here to see that he doesn't make any changes. I am thinking of
   putting some pressure on Coop to try to move Jack out of the squadron. I don't think it is fair to all
    the other good people to try to carry Jack continually. Coop is going to let Jack go home when
   their baby arrives and I'm going to try to work behind the scenes to line him up for a job in
   maintenance or wing when he gets back."
        Combat mission cards of Capt William T. May (undated) and Maj Bob Krone in USAF Museum Archives (May's
        daily code words and SIF code entry match Krone's mission card for 2 Jan 66) & Bob Krone "Letter # 22 Korat 2
        January, 1966".
 03-Jan-66
   Four F-105Ds from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, launched from Korat on a "Whiplash" mission.
   "Whiplash" was a quick-reaction strike into Laos against a target of opportunity from a flight that
   was on 15-minute ground alert. The flight lineup was:

   #1 - Capt William Thomas May
   #2 - Capt Gordon E. Lewis
   #3 - Capt Frank R. O'Neill
   #4 - Capt John A. McCurdy

   Note: May's mission card lacked date, times, aircraft tail numbers, and target.

   "Elm", a second flight from the 469th, launched at 13:30 and 30 minutes later refueled from Red
   Anchor 44 at 24,000 feet. It was a combat air patrol and each of the four planes in the flight
   carried four AIM-9B Sidewinders. Its target area was in central Laos at location 19-00N and 103-

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 Albuquerque NM
                                                  Robert M. Krone
                                                   F-105 History
   00E, about 60 nautical miles NNE of Vientiane. The flight's time-over-target was 14:40. The
   lineup was:

   #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 62-4341 on his 30th mission.
   #2 - Col Monroe S. "Saber" Sams (the 6234 TFW commander) flying 62-4409
   #3 - Maj Robert W. Wilson flying 62-4244
   #4 - Capt Joseph R. Steen flying 60-0425

   Supporting the mission was an RB-66, call sign "Snipe". A possible threat was a NVN Fan Song
   radar at location 20-35N and 104-05E, near Sam Neua, Laos. "Uneventful flight."
        Combat mission cards of Capt William T. May (undated) and Maj Bob Krone in USAF Museum Archives (May's
        daily code words and SIF code entry match Krone's mission card for 3 Jan 66).
 04-Jan-66
   In the morning, four F-105Ds in "Cedar" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat at
   05:55. They did not refuel. Their time-over-target was 06:30. The coordinates of their target
   were 19-00N and 103-30E, which was 60 nautical miles north of Vientiane, Laos. The flight lineup
   was:

   #1 - Capt William Thomas May flying 62-4341
   #2 - Capt Anthony J. "Tony" Gangol flying 62-4244
   #3 - Capt Frank R. O'Neill flying 60-0428
   #4 - Capt John A. McCurdy flying 62-4246
   Spare - Capt Gordon E. Lewis in 61-0126

   In the afternoon, "Aspen" flight, also from the 469th, took off at 14:55 and refueled from "Red
   Anchor 23" at 15:25. Its time-over-target, the Muane Poon East choke point in Laos, was 16:10.
   Each plane carried six 750-lb bombs. The lineup was:

   #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 163 on his 31st mission.
   #2 - Capt Joseph R. Steen flying 59-1749
   #3 - Maj Robert W. Wilson flying 61-0204
   #4 - Capt Gordon E. Lewis flying 62-4248
   Spare - Maj Fred T. Coleman in 60-0442

   After crossing into Laos, Maj Krone air aborted due to utility hydraulic failure.
        Combat mission cards of Capt William T. May (undated) and Maj Bob Krone in USAF Museum Archives (May's
        daily code words and SIF code entry match Krone's mission card for 4 Jan 66).
 05-Jan-66
   In two letters today, Maj Robert M. Krone, 469 TFS Operations Officer, commented on concerns of
    the squadron's pilots and recounted the flying operation at Korat.

   In his letter home he wrote, "My mail has been slow since the first of the year but I think the whole
   mail system over here kind of took a break after the Christmas rush. Things are going so well
   here that it doesn't seem right. Everyone wonders if it isn't the lull before the storm. I expect it to
   continue until after the Vietnam New Year's truce of Jan. 20 - 23, and then either get much worse
   or the whole thing kind of fade away.

   His second letter was to General Robert Merrill Lee, air deputy to the Supreme Allied Commander
   Europe, a former boss from an earlier assignment. In this letter he described the air war and
   asked for Gen Lee's indorsement to his application for an assignment as an Air Attaché' after his
   combat tour at Korat. "We found that [being] the first PCS squadron in the theater in an
   expanding program had several disadvantages. We replaced a squadron that had been TDY

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                                                     Robert M. Krone
                                                      F-105 History
   here for over five months. The pilots of that squadron were given the option of remaining and
   signing over to a PCS status or returning to the ZI with a 90% probability of returning in a PCS
   status within the next six months. Several of the pilots elected to stay and provided us with some
   experienced flight leaders for our transition into the mission. In spite of that, the transition from a
   state-side training situation where flying time was scarce to the combat environment found in the
   DRV and operational conditions within the 2nd Air Division was a severe one.

   "From the flying standpoint it is a tremendously interesting operation. We left the States with
   twenty -five pilots and lost one on our second day of operation to an SA-2. We are flying twenty
   sorties per day with 24 pilots including the commander and ops. He and I can't fly at the same
   time and with required spares for each flight of four 105s it means that the pilot flies once a day
   and twice a day about every fourth day. We work a seven-day week and try to keep three pilots
   on R and R all the time. The 105 is doing a real workhorse job here. Our armament loads run the
    gamut from bombs to missiles. Air refueling is used on practically every mission. The average
   flying time per pilot for the seven weeks is over 70 hours.

   "The defensive environment is one which is occupying a great deal of the ops analysis effort and
   we certainly don't have all the answers. Tactics are developing, which minimize the threat without
   seriously degrading effectiveness. The political considerations are overriding, of course, and the
   'rules' require constant study by the pilots to keep straight. Tactics are still the favorite topic of
   discussion with fighter pilots and there is considerable controversy in this area. Most pilots feel
   that tactics should be allowed to develop from the bottom rather than be dictated from the top.
   Actually, we now have a considerable amount of freedom at this level as to tactics except on the
   big ones, which come from the top levels. All in all it is a fascinating tour and will prove to be
   invaluable experience for all of us.

   "I feel that after this tour, I will be ready for a little change of pace from the fighter business and I
   have submitted an application for attaché duty. I would appreciate it greatly if you wouldn't mind
   writing an indorsement to this application. I know the aide experience will be a great help.

   "The tour for aircrews has not been finalized but 100 missions is now the criteria. If timing should
   work out and I could arrange to come home through Europe, I would like very much to be present
   for your retirement ceremonies on 15 July."


        Bob Krone, "Letter # 23 January 5, 1966" and "Copy of letter to General Lee, 5 January, 1966"
 06-Jan-66
   Four F-105Ds in "Ebony" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat at 14:20 and at
   14:50 refueled at 13,000 feet from KC-135 "White Anchor 33". Their time-over-target in Laos was
   15:30. The flight lineup was:

   #1 Maj Robert M. Krone flying 59-1749 on his 32nd combat mission.
   #2 Capt William Thomas May flying 62-4410
   #3 Capt Frank R. O'Neill flying 61-0204
   #4 Capt Harold Victor Smith flying 62-4258, which air aborted due to radio failure.
   #5 Capt Willard F. "Bud" Millner flying 62-4315 with a camera pod to film the strike

   Numbers 1 through 4 each carried six 750-pound bombs. The flight "bombed troop emplacements
   and strafed 14.5-mm gun emplacement in Plaine des Jarres." They encountered "heavy small
   arms and automatic weapons fire - 37-mm."

        Combat mission cards of Maj Bob Krone in USAF Museum Archives.
 07-Jan-66
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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 34 of 87
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                                                     Robert M. Krone
                                                      F-105 History
   In the morning, four F-105Ds in "Whiplash A" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from
   Korat at 09:15. They did not refuel. Their time-over-target was 10:00. The coordinates of their
   target were 19-34N and 103-03E, which was 11 nautical miles north of Kieng Khouang, Laos. The
    flight lineup was:

   #1 - Maj Robert W. Wilson flying 61-0069
   #2 - Capt Gordon E. Lewis flying 61-0187
   #3 - Capt Frank R. O'Neill flying 60-0473
   #4 - Capt William Thomas May flying 59-1749

   In the afternoon, the five F-105s in "Aspen" flight, also from the 469 TFS, left Korat at 14:15 for a
   time-over-target without refueling of 14:50. The lineup was:

   #1 - Maj Phillip O. Bradley flying 61-0204
   #2 - Col Monroe S. "Saber" Sams (the 6234 TFW commander) flying 61-0126
   #3 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 62-4242 on his 33rd mission.
   #4 - Capt Robert L. Chastain flying 59-1769
   #5 - Capt Gilbert Bruce Holmes, Jr. flying 62-4315 on camera chase

   They bombed a truck park in the Steel Tiger region of southern Laos at location 17-34N and 105-
   14E, 35 miles east of Nakhon Phanom, Thailand, and returned to Korat after flying 1 hour 40
   minutes.

   That evening Maj Krone wrote a letter home about life in the 469 TFS. "The bombing moratorium
   continues in the north and I feel that it well be until Jan. 24. One thing that the papers don't
   discuss is that this is the worst weather of the year and there have been very few days that have
   been good flying weather.

   "We continue to fly although I can't discuss where. I flew my 33rd today. Holmes, Koenitzer, May,
   and Wilson have only 10 to 12 left, and Bradley now has 78. Coop hit 40 today. I think that the
   way this will work out is that I will end up about 15 missions behind Coop when he is finished and
   then I can spread those out over a month or six weeks. I wouldn't fly any more than the 100.

   "If someone isn't sent in to take over the squadron, I'm sure Coop will recommend that I get it
   because he mentioned it again last week. It would be great to have it on my records as it is pretty
   unusual to have a major as a squadron commander these days - although we have two here at
   the moment.

   "Someone weighed with everything that we carry and it came out to about 80 pounds. We have a
   vestful of survival goodies including a radio, the mae west, parachute (which has another radio in
   it) G-suits with all sorts of goodies sewed on - like a 150-foot rope to climb down out of trees, flash
   lights, water bottles, knives, E and E kits, helmet, knee board, plotting board with maps, photos,
   and miscellaneous paperwork. We all look back to the old days of sauntering out to an airplane
   with just a summer flying suit on with nostalgia. Of course in addition to all this, we have the large
   survival kit strapped to our bottoms, which is part of the seat."


        Combat mission cards of Capt William T. May (undated) and Maj Bob Krone in USAF Museum Archives (May's
        daily code words and SIF code entry match Krone's mission card for 7 Jan 66) Bob Krone, "Letter # 24 7 January,
        1966.
 08-Jan-66
   Four F-105Ds in "Walnut" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat at 15:20. Their
   time-over-target was 15:55. The coordinates of their target in southern Laos were 17-35N and
   105-37E, which was 50 nautical miles NNE of Nakhon Phanom, Thailand. The flight lineup was:
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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 35 of 87
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                                                  Robert M. Krone
                                                   F-105 History

   #1 - Capt Frank R. O'Neill flying 62-4258
   #2 - Capt William Thomas May flying 62-4242
   #3 - Capt Gordon E. Lewis flying 60-0442
   #4 - Capt Williard F. "Bud" Millner flying 62-4334

   Twenty-five minutes later, "Spruce" flight took off at 15:45 for a TOT of 16:20 without refueling.
   The lineup was:

   #1 - Maj Fred T. Coleman flying 59-1769
   #2 - Capt William S. Secker, Jr. flying 62-4246
   #3 - Capt Steven R. Sanders flying 61-0069
   #4 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 61-0187 on his 34th mission.

   Each plane carried eight 750-lb bombs, two of which had time-delay fuzes. Their target was the
   Lem Pham highway bridge in southern Laos at location 17-37N and 105-44E.

        Combat mission cards of Capt William T. May (undated) and Maj Bob Krone in USAF Museum Archives (May's
        daily code words match Krone's mission card for 8 Jan 66.)
 09-Jan-66
   Maj Robert M. Krone, the 469 TFS Operations Officer, did not fly today but wrote a letter home
   describing more happenings at Korat. "Today I took my first day off and drove into Pimai - the old
   [Khmer] ruins, which are being excavated [33 miles] north of Korat. They were a little
   disappointing in spite of the fact that they are quite extensive, but they are in the middle of a
   village [Phimai] that is dirty and smoky and the ruins themselves are pretty cluttered. The
   archaeologist from the Univ. of Hawaii was out of the area for a few days. I talked with his wife.
   They have been living there for almost three years while he is doing research all over Thailand.

   "There has been tension building up lately about the pilots in both squadrons [the 469 TFS and
   421 TFS] who are getting close to 100 missions. I think both squadrons have been quietly
   pushing their people in hopes of being first to get a man through. Today Jim Lamar [Maj James
   Lasley Lamar, 421 TFS Ops Officer] came over and suggested that we coordinate our efforts to
   finish two pilots from each squadron on the same day and in the same flight of four. It was an
   excellent suggestion and we will follow up on it. It will avoid any competition that would encourage
   some of the pilots to push too hard. We will have Holmes and May [Capt William Thomas May]
   and they will have Ely and either Ramage or Langwell.

   "I have been developing an idea for the squadron history, which I think could be something quite
   exciting and have all sorts of possibilities if I can generate the interest in the squadron. I would like
    to collect the first oral history of a combat squadron on tape. Last night, Smitty [Capt Harold
   Victor Smith, the squadron historical officer] played an hour-long tape, which he had done as a
   beginning. It was really quite good and he has an excellent voice for narration. After I got home, I
   began to mull it over and the idea of incorporating Smitty's type of chronological history with
   recordings of actual missions, briefings, interviews with the pilots, and seminar type discussions of
   half a dozen pilots on subjects like tactics, training vs combat, professionalism, leadership, etc,
   began to jell. I think it is the answer to producing something that could have lasting value for
   research in the future. There is really no limit to the possibilities and there could be several side
   benefits. For one thing, it would keep the pilots themselves thinking more about what they are
   doing, it would be a constructive group project that everyone could work on and maybe keep some
    people out of the bar part of the time, and it would be the first real behavioral analysis of a group
   of fighter pilots while they are flying the missions. Of course, it would be classified and this would
   initially restrict its use to something like the War College but parts of it could no doubt be used for
   PIO stuff later on. Fighter pilots are notoriously bad writers, but they love to talk and I think it

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 36 of 87
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                                                      Robert M. Krone
                                                       F-105 History
   would be real interesting to see how it works out.

   "Tomorrow I am scheduled for #35, but Lt Col Kincaid, the acting DO [of the 6234 TFW], has
   issued an ultimatum that Commanders and Ops Officers will only fly two missions a week. Coop
   and I feel that he is doing this on his own based on higher echelon rumors and we intend to
   stretch it a little and fly every other day until we see something in writing. I'm afraid that it is only a
   matter of time until it does come down, but if we can keep the squadron under strength we will
   have some justification. We have three new pilots due this month but four to finish."


        Bob Krone, letter # 25 dated 8 Jan. 66. (NOTE: Based on its contents the letter was probably written on 9 Jan 66.)

 11-Jan-66
   In a letter to his mother, Maj Robert M. Krone, 469 TFS Operations Officer, described activities in
   his squadron and life at Korat. "... After almost two months of operations here I feel that I am
   beginning to 'get organized'. We have had a very successful tour to date and the squadron is
   operating as smoothly as I have ever seen. The commander and I are working together very well
   and the pilots are all so experienced and capable that the squadron is really running itself now.
   As of today we have flown 871 sorties for 1889 flying hours. The average number of missions per
   pilot is about 40. Four of the pilots will complete 100 missions within the week with two more only
   two or three weeks behind them. I now have 35 missions and am slowing down a little at direction
   of our Director of Operations in the Wing. Cooper and I have been averaging about 4 missions
   per week and we will probably have to drop down to around 3 per week as they want us to be here
    a little longer than most of the pilots to provide continuity in the changeover of people, which
   begins shortly.

   "Maj Cooper went on R & R today so I am acting Commander. Tomorrow I will have lunch with
   General Harris, Commander in Chief Pacific Air Forces (along with numerous others) when he
   visits the base for a briefing and inspection tour. I remember him from his visits to Korea when I
   was with General Lee. General Harris was a major general then and now has four stars. I doubt if
    he will remember me as my rise hasn't been quite so spectacular. One of the reasons for his visit
   will be to investigate the whole personnel problem involved here and in Southeast Asia with the
   rotation of crews. The 100-mission criteria has not been put to the test and rumors are flying that
   General Harris may be considering some other sort of system. Everyone is a little fidgety about it
   because any change would mean a longer tour than the way it looks now. Most pilots will complete
    their missions in less than six months at the present rate.

   "I am hoping that my air attaché application is approved and that I can finish my missions by the
   end of May and use the attaché schooling as a reason for leaving here a little sooner. ...

   "We are still in the Thailand winter, which is really beautiful weather. Clear days with a high of 90
   and low of 50. This should continue for another month or six weeks before the hot and muggy
   weather sets in. Of course, we have the finest living conditions of anyone in Southeast Asia - with
   air conditioned quarters, operations, and Officers Club. This base will be the headquarters for the
    USAF in Thailand and is growing by leaps and bounds every day. Thai workers and construction
   men swarm all over the base and a new building springs up almost overnight. The grass is coming
    up around our trailer and they are planting palm trees everywhere. By the summer, this should
   look like some of our state-sides bases. ...

   "The political maneuverings at the moment are interesting and we are all anxiously awaiting the
   outcome. We don't have any more clues than you do. In fact, the articles that Bencey is sending
   me are the only way I am kept informed. We continue to fly although the missions are 'milk runs'
   compared to the earlier ones. I remember thinking several months ago that the whole thing might
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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 37 of 87
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                                                    Robert M. Krone
                                                     F-105 History
   end in January although I didn't have any basis for this other than realizing that Johnson is
   worrying about 1966 being an election year. It is impossible to predict whether a settlement at this
    time would be in our national interest over the long range. If the other side merely used the truce
   to build up for more aggressive activity all over Southeast Asia, we certainly won't be any better
   off. I think the 'peace offensive' will serve to rally support behind us if Peking and Hanoi don't
   respond, however. ..."


        Bob Krone letter, "Dear Mom and Vic, Korat 11 Jan 1966".
 12-Jan-66
   In the morning, four F-105Ds in "Locust" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat at
    07:30. Their time-over-target in Laos was 08:05. The flight lineup was:
   #1 - Capt William S. Koenitzer flying 61-0196
   #2 - Capt William Thomas May flying 62-4258
   #3 - Maj Robert W. Wilson flying 59-1761
   #4 - Capt Gilbert Bruce Holmes, Jr. flying 61-0069

   In the afternoon, "Spruce" flight, also from the 469 TFS, took off at 15:35 for a time-over-target of
   16:10. They did not need to refuel to strike a small bridge in Laos 29 miles east of Nakon
   Phanom, Thailand. The lineup was:

   #1 - Capt Gordon E. Lewis flying 62-4341
   #2 - Capt Anthony J. "Tony" Gangol flying 60-0428
   #3 - Capt John A. McCurdy flying 62-4340
   #4 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 61-0181 on his 36th mission.

   They returned to Korat after flying for 1 hour 40 minutes.


        Combat mission cards of Capt William T. May (undated) and Maj Bob Krone in USAF Museum Archives (May's
        daily code words and SIF code entry match Krone's mission card for 12 Jan 66).
 13-Jan-66
   In the morning, four F-105Ds in "Bamboo" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat
   at 05:40. They refueled from KC-135 "Orange Anchor 57" at 21,000 feet. Their time-over-target
   in Laos was 06:55. The flight lineup was:
   #1 Capt William Thomas May flying 61-0045
   #2 Maj John J. "Jack" Gaudion flying 61-0159
   #3 Capt Frank R. O'Neill flying 62-4315
   #4 Capt Anthony J. "Tony" Gangol flying 61-0095
   Spare: Capt Gordon E. Lewis in 58-1158

   In the afternoon, 469 TFS Operations Officer, Maj Bob Krone, led the four-ship "Redwood" flight.
   The flight lineup was:
   #1 Maj Robert M. Krone flying 61-0069 on his 37th combat mission
   #2 Capt Anthony J. "Tony" Gangol flying 62-4258
   #3 Capt Glenn E. "Wally" Belew flying 61-0057
   #4 Capt William Thomas May flying 61-0045

   Each of the four planes carried two 3,000-pound bombs. They cratered Highway 12 west of Mugia
   Pass at coordinates 17-34N and 105-27E in Laos.

        Combat mission cards of Maj Bob Krone and Capt William T. May in USAF Museum Archives. (May's daily code
        words, SIF code entries, and PM mission lineup match Krone's mission card for 13 Jan 66).
 15-Jan-66
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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 38 of 87
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                                              Robert M. Krone
                                               F-105 History
   Four F-105 pilots from the 6234 TFW, Korat RTAFB, Thailand, completed 100 combat missions
   over North Vietnam and Laos. Two of the pilots were from the 469 TFS and two belonged to the
   421 TFS. All four pilots had flown combat missions during the deployment of the 357 TFS to Korat
   in June and July 1965.

   After two pilots from the 334 TFS on temporary duty at Takhli became the first F-105 pilots to fly
   100 missions on 11 January 1965, these four from Korat were the second set of F-105 pilots to
   complete 100 combat missions during the Vietnam war.

   The lineup of "Elm" flight and the F-105Ds the pilots flew were:

    #1 - Capt William T. Ramage from the 421 TFS flying 61-0201
    #2 - Capt Richard K. Ely from the 421 TFS flying 62-4242
    #3 - Capt William Thomas May from the 469 TFS flying 62-4325
    #4 - Capt Gilbert Bruce Holmes from the 469 TFS flying 62-4334
    Spare - Capt Fred H. de Jong from the 469 TFS in 62-4326

   The flight took off from Korat at 12:50 with a scheduled time-over-target of 13:25.

   "Pilots of the 469th designed the new traditional '100 mission patch' which can be seen proudly
   displayed on flying suits around the world. The first patches were made in Bangkok in time for
   (this) mission ... ."

   "The 469th also initiated the '100 mission reception' for the returning fighter pilot which consisted
   of: a motor escort from the end of the runway to the ramp (fire engines, pick-up trucks,
   motorcycles); congratulations from the Wing commander, Squadron Commander, and the entire
   squadron; champagne, a case of beer for the crew chief; immediate removal of the duty flying suit
   and its replacement with one with the 100 mission patch on the shoulder; the 'ringing-of-the-bell' in
    the bar; and many other variations as time went by. The 100 mission reception immediately
   became a great morale booster for the entire base and spread to bases throughout Southeast
   Asia. ... The joy of the returning pilot and the exuberant reception served, also, to remind fellow
   pilots that 'there is a way' to reach the 100 mission mark."

   Capt May received the Air Medal (second and third Oak Leaf Clusters) for "meritorius achievement
    while participating in aerial flight" during the period 1 Nov 1965 to 15 January 1966 when he
   completed his 100th combat mission with the 469 TFS. (Capt May's award certificate)

   After his 100th mission, Capt May was interviewed as part of the 469 TFS oral history program
   instituted by Maj Robert M. Krone, the squadron's Operations Officer. The 30-minute tape
   recorded interview was conducted by the squadron historian Capt Harold V. Smith. Comments
   during the interview included:

   Smith - Could you compare the feelings that you had on your first few missions with your last few
   missions and how they differed? Do you think - do you feel that combat could ever become
   routine - the type of flying that we've done here?

   May - Yeah, yeah sure do. As a matter of fact, I feel as though that the last few - not just the last
   few but for some time now - it's been a routine type thing. Not that the mission itself is going to be
   a snap or a piece of cake. That's not what I mean; but it's the fact that you're not all clanked when
    you go out to the airplane, when you're sitting around before you go out, and when you're in the
   target area. The first couple of missions all you're doing is hanging on, you know. You're really
   not paying that much attention to where you're going or what you're going to do when you get
   there.
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                                                     Robert M. Krone
                                                      F-105 History

   Smith - ... Do you personally feel, and this is strictly your opinion, do you thing there is any other
   type tactic change that you'd like to see them make if you had 100 missions to fly ahead of you
   instead of behind you; anything in particular that you'd like to see them change?

   May - Well, yeah. I'm sure I'm not alone in this -- that is to stay away from as much as possible the
   big gaggle-type missions. It looks like we're going back into this. I don't know what happened to
   bring this back on because we thought at one time they had learned from past experience that we
   were losing too many unnecessary aircraft simply because of the mass gaggle.

   Smith - How do you feel about standardization, Willie, on the standardization programs that you've
   been involved with since you've been in TAC in their relation to combat flying -- the
   standardization at this base right now? Or do you think that we should have it? What do you think
    of it?

   May - There is a place for it. ... I don't think it's over the target. If standardization is drummed into
   you to the point where you can't say what you want to say over the radio without being called down
    on it. In other words, being told how to make certain calls, just taking the active, or landing, this
   can get to the point where people are going to be reluctant to call out something that might be
   needed. Not just in the target area but with tanking, with the tankers in refueling. Standardization
   is great when everyone understands that they want something done in one manner. But to go to
   the smallest detail in making these standards, I think they're pushing it too far. Training? That's
   great. You know, you're teaching someone how to do something and you might as well teach
   them the right way. But you've got a wing full of people here; well, I think they're through training.


   Smith - ... Is there any particular mission that stands out in your mind as far as being particularly
   hairy or interesting?

   May - Oh yeah. That's the one that we've already been through -- 27th of July. I think I'll probably
   remember that date. That was the first SAM strike. ...
        William T. May mission card in Nat'l USAF Museum archives & "100th Mission", monograph by Col Robert M.
        Krone, August 1970 & extracts from transcript of May's 100 mission interview.

 16-Jan-66
   "Walnut" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off at 08:55 for a time-over-target of 09:30
   against the Ban Tha Pachon ford at 17-14N and 105-49E in Laos. The lineup was:

   #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 61-0187 on his 38th mission.
   #2 - Capt John A. McCurdy flying 62-4334
   #3 - Maj Robert W. Wilson flying 60-0442
   #4 - Capt William S. Koenitzer flying 59-1749

   They returned to Korat after flying for 1 hour 35 minutes.
        Maj Robert M. Krone's mission card dated 16 Jan 66 in the Archives of the National Museum of the United States
        Air Force.
 17-Jan-66
   The five F-105Ds in "Elm" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off at 15:15 for a time-over-
   target of 15:30 against the Bang Fai underwater bridge in Laos at 17-25N and 105-43E. Each
   plane carried two MK-84 bombs with number five carrying a camera pod. The lineup was:

   #1 - Capt Robert L. Chastain flying 61-0201
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                                                     Robert M. Krone
                                                      F-105 History
   #2 - Col Monroe S. "Saber" Sams (the 6234 TFW commander) flying 59-1752
   #3 - Maj Robert W. Wilson flying 61-0069
   #4 - Capt Eugene D. "Dave" Hamilton flying 62-4409
   #5 - Maj Robert M. Krone, the 469th Ops Officer, flying 62-4340 as camera chase on his 39th
   mission.

   Maj Krone's letter home today described several subjects: the development of the squadron
   history program, the behavior problem of Maj Jack Gaudion the squadron executive officer, and
   the squadron's first 100-mission celebration.

   "Since I have started thinking about taping the squadron's history I have come to the conclusion
   that the best way to communicate would be tapes. Several of the pilots are doing that with their
   families using portable tape recorders here and at home and mailing tapes. I have just come from
   a recording session where Smitty did his first two interviews with Bob Wilson and Willy May. I think
   they came off very well. Tomorrow night we will try a seminar type discussion with the old timers
   involved. I really think the idea has unlimited possibilities and could provide real useful data for
   researchers' future use. The tape, photography, and information office business is slowly picking
   up steam and interest in the squadron.

   "Today I flew #39 and flew the camera pod aircraft.

   "The day before Cooper left on R and R, he called Jack into his office to lay it on the line to Jack.
   [Cooper] told him that if he didn't change his ways he would kick him out of the squadron. That
   was a tough pill for Jack to swallow. He is doing what he always wanted to do -- fly combat in a
   fighter squadron -- and the thought of being kicked out shattered him. He wants so badly to do
   right but invariably drinks too much and talks too much and pushes himself forward to the point of
   antagonizing everyone. I decided that it might be destructive for the squadron to have Jack kicked
    out with an almost certain mental breakdown. I secretly got the flight commanders together and
   explained the way I saw it and got their sides of the story, which I knew pretty well. I told them I
   would work on Jack to get him to cut down his drinking and I thought they should get their people
   to start treating him on the job with the courtesy and respect a field grade officer deserved and
   that socially to avoid creating problems when he was drinking. If this program proved to be
   successful at least we would all have made the best effort to help Jack to help himself. They
   agreed that we all would feel guilty if we didn't make some effort to help and I told Jack that I would
   help him in any way I could only on the condition that he would cut out the heavy drinking, which
   invariably got him into trouble. He agreed and sincerely has been trying his best these last few
   days. The flight commanders and pilots have kind of welcomed him back into the fold instead of
   ignoring him (which probably just made him worse) and a tense situation has been averted for a
   while. I've got to hand it to Jack he didn't just give up after Coop's devastating attack. It really hurt
    his ego but he kept in there pitching and I think that convinced me more than anything that it was
   best to try to help him rather than break him.

   "The celebration we put on for the 100-mission flight of Homes, May, Ramage, and Ely was really
   beautiful. We had people all over the ramp to meet them, photographers, champagne, and new
   flying suits with a '100 Mission' patch sewed on the arm. Col. Sams congratulated each one and
   the APCS [Air Photographic and Charting Service] people took movies. Tomorrow Willy Koenitzer
   gets his 100th and we will have something for him, too. Bob Wilson has only a few days to go and
   then we will be down to 20 pilots total. None of these people have orders yet so we are letting
   them go on R and R. The 421 TFS had Dick Ely scheduled for 5 hours of mobile today. But Miller
    and Jack Gaudion went down on their own to relieve him."



        Maj Robert M. Krone's mission card dated 17 Jan 66 in the Archives of the National Museum of the United States

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 41 of 87
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                                                      Robert M. Krone
                                                       F-105 History
        Air Force & Bob Krone, letter 17 January 66, Korat.
 20-Jan-66
   "Cedar" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off at 08:05 for a time-over-target of 09:20. At
   08:35, they refueled from Red Anchor 23 at 13,000 feet. The lineup was:

   #1 - Maj Robert W. Wilson flying 62-4258 on his 100th mission.
   #2 - Capt John A. McCurdy flying 58-1158
   #3 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 59-1768 on his 41st mission.
   #4 - Capt Eugene D. "Dave" Hamilton flying 59-1752

   Each plane carried two AGM-12C Bullpup missiles. Their primary target was the Muong Liet
   military storage area at location 20-28-28N and 104-09-20E, 5 miles NE of Sam Neua, Laos. Their
    secondary target was a road segment in Laos between the coordinates 17-31N and 105-25E to
   17-35N and 105-28E. "Went to primary. Weathered in. Re-cycled through tanker and went to
   secondary. Fired all 8 missiles in road segment. Road 12."

   They returned to Korat after flying for 3 hours 20 minutes.
        Maj Robert M. Krone's mission card dated 20 Jan 66 in the Archives of the National Museum of the United States
        Air Force.
 22-Jan-66
   The five F-105Ds in "Spruce" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off at 14:51 for a time-
   over-target of 16:00 against the Ban Phayrt east storage area in Laos at 18-11N and 104-57E.
   Each plane carried two MK-84 2,000-lb bombs with number five carrying a camera pod. The
   lineup was:

   #1 - Maj Fred T. Coleman flying 58-1158
   #2 - Capt William S. Secker, Jr. flying 62-4258
   #3 - Capt Steven R. Sanders flying 62-4244
   #4 - Capt Harold Victor Smith flying 61-0069
   #5 - Maj Robert M. Krone, the 469th Ops Officer, flying 62-4242 as camera chase on his 42nd
   mission.

   Maj Krone's letter home discussed more 100-mission completions. "We now have four pilots
   completed with their 100 mission: Homes, May, Koenitzer, and Wilson. Bruce and May are in
   Bangkok on R and R. Willy [Koenitzer] went home to his new bride in Kadena, and Bob Wilson just
    finished two days ago and is going to Bangkok tomorrow. I have kept the big celebration going
   for each one. When Willy finished up two days ago, we had fire engines to meet him at the end of
   the runway, smoke flares, Champagne, Col. Sams, the 100-mission patch, and everyone out to
   meet him. He was really touched and it did a lot of good for everyone. The morale went up (it
   hasn't been down since the first week) as everyone could see that people are finishing up. Two
   days later Bob Wilson got the same treatment.

   "After Willy's last mission, I conducted the first seminar with Wilson, Koenitzer, Ely, Ramage, May
   and Langwell. It was really rather unprepared but came off better than I hoped for the first one. I
   think this will prove to be of considerable value at some time in the future and I intend to keep
   pushing on with it.

   "At this time the tour is still entirely unsettled. In spite of the fact that these pilots are finished we
   don't have orders for them and everyone is still worried that someone will change the criteria.
   With these four pilots through and still no replacements, we are operating with 20 pilots. I let three
    go R and R, plus O'Neill went to Clark to have some boils removed at the hospital and Sanders
   leaves for Saigon tomorrow to be the 105 expert for a week. That puts us down to 15 and Driscoll
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                                                     Robert M. Krone
                                                      F-105 History
   has been DNIF for over a week with a bad back contracted while showing his diving prowess. We
   still fly either a 16- or 20-mission daily schedule and things are getting tight. Coop and I don't fly
   at the same time but it gives us an excuse to fly over two missions per week. I logged #42 today
   on a camera mission.

   "In spite of the various news stories you have found, the whole business of what we are doing is
   evidently so sensitive that we can't even admit to each other that we are doing it. I'm sure you
   have noticed that there is nothing official being said.

   "I can't really say much on the escalation - de-escalation problem. Being over here doesn't really
   qualify me as an expert on that issue any more than I was in Pittsburg. There is an uneasy air of
   anticipation within the squadron as we all know the effects of escalation after this long stop in
   activities up north. On this level we get the rather conflicting conflict of interests. On one side we
   have the 'Hawks' viewpoint for getting on with the job and doing it right. Not only in principle but
   now the vested interest of the pilots is to get home as quickly as possible and de-escalation will
   undoubtedly delay that. On the other had, no one really thinks that escalation short of all out
   mobilization will accomplish much, and the price will be high.

   "I now have the trailer living room filled with photographic equipment and supplies. I finally ran
   down the supply warehouse where a dark room package had been gathering dust since last June.
    It has everything - enlarger, chemicals, and all the goodies. Col. Sams is also getting upset about
    having no photo capability on the base and if he gets a temporary one set up I will turn the
   equipment over to it, but so far there are no qualified people here to run it.

   "Things are still going great with the squadron. The 421 TFS continues to foul up by the numbers.
     I have never seen Coop so tickled as when he was telling us about Lamar's latest goof (Coop
   loves to make fun of Lamar and Barney). Lamar evidently briefed his flight on how he could drop
   bombs and shoot rockets on one pass, then proceeded to get all fouled up and drop the rocket
   pods without firing them, and then jettisoned his fuel tanks instead of dropping the bombs.

   "Since my last talk with Jack he has really been trying hard and doing an acceptable job."


        Maj Robert M. Krone's mission card dated 22 Jan 66 in the Archives of the National Museum of the United States
        Air Force & Bob Krone letter January 22, 1966, Korat.
 25-Jan-66
   The four F-105Ds in "Apple" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat at 14:35 and
   at 14:50 refueled from "White Anchor 31" at 17,000 feet en route to their target in the Steel Tiger
   region of southern Laos. Each plane carried two MK-84 2,000-lb bombs. Their TOT was 15:30
   and the targets they destroyed were two small bridges on the Ban Na Kay Nua highway located at
   17-44N and 105-09E. The flight lineup was:

   #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone, 469 TFS Ops Officer, flying 62-4410 on his 44th mission.
   #2 - Maj Phillip O. Bradley flying 62-4244
   #3 - Maj James L. Jones flying 62-4409
   #4 - Capt Harold Victor Smith flying 61-0201

   "Apple" flight was the third of four flights to attack targets in Laos. The flights and their TOTs
   were:

   "Spruce" - 15:00
   "Aspen" - 15:20
   "Apple" - 15:30
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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 43 of 87
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                                                     Robert M. Krone
                                                      F-105 History
   "Chevy" - 15:40 from the 333 TFS at Takhli attacking a bridge in northern Laos

   In today's letter home, Maj Bob Krone described the latest happenings at Korat. "My activities are
   slowly expanding as our program develops and I how have enough projects lined up to keep me
   busy until I leave. This is our introductory tape for our oral history. I am slowly gaining support for
    that program as people begin to get the idea. Coop even admitted that it was a good idea
   yesterday. Another idea that came to me yesterday was to see if we could produce a small
   booklet on the tour here. Something unclassified with lots of pictures, a few stories, some history,
   etc. I can do the photography and Tony Gangol and Bob Chastain are both good on the writing. I
    think we can get it printed in Bangkok fairly reasonably and it would be a nice souvenir for
   everyone. Usually a plaque is all that people have to remember a squadron by.

   "Our first new pilot arrived yesterday. He is Captain Jack Bailey - was a navigator and just finished
    pilot training and six months at Nellis. Capt Mike Muskat from Nellis also arrived yesterday. He is
   on a 90-day TDY to Saigon from the Fighter Weapons School and will be getting his first combat
   time with us for a couple of week's orientation. He is one of these academic, superior types who
   talks in a deep gravelly voice and usually antagonizes people.

   "I flew number 44 today. The missions are all pretty much alike now with rarely anything very
   exciting happening. The rumblings in the paper seem to be pointing to a change but so far
   nothing has happened. Everyone is quite pleased about getting the missions this way although
   there is still no word on what will happen to people after 100 missions.

   "This place is a regular VIP stomping grounds. Almost every day we get generals wandering
   through. I had dinner with Senator Miller of Idaho last week. General Everest from Nellis was here
    today; and Admiral Sharp, CINCPAC; Major General Bond, the new deputy 2nd AD commander,
   Thailand; Lt Gen Bohannon, Air Force Surgeon General; etc."

        Maj Robert M. Krone's mission card dated 25 Jan 66 in the Archives of the National Museum of the United States
        Air Force & Bob Krone letter January 22, 1966, Korat.
 27-Jan-66
   One day after arriving at Korat from Nellis, Maj Michael S. Muskat flew his first combat mission with
   the 469 TFS. It was a four-ship flight with call sign "Whiplash B". Take off time was 1515 with a
   scheduled time over target in Laos of 1600. The flight line up was:

   1 - Maj Philip O. Bradley in F-105D 61-0120
   2 - Capt Frank R. O'Neill in F-105D 61-0202
   3 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying F-105D 59-1749 on his 45th combat mission.
   4 - Maj Michael S. Muskat flying F-105D 60-0442
        Maj Robert M. Krone's Mission Cards, in Air Force Museum Archives, Archive #
 28-Jan-66
   The four F-105Ds in "Bamboo" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off at 07:05 on a bombing
    mission to a target in southern Laos. At 07:05, they refueled from "White Anchor 30" at 17,000
   feet for a TOT of 07:40. The flight line up was:

   #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone, the 469 TFS Ops Officer, flying 62-4315 on his 46th mission.
   #2 - 1Lt Jerry Donald Driscoll flying 61-0196
   #3 - Maj Fred T. Coleman flying 60-0429
   #4 - Capt William S. Secker, Jr. flying 61-0057

   Each plane carried five 750-lb bombs. One of the bombs on Maj Krone's plane did not release
   and he returned to Korat with it still on board.

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 44 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                     Robert M. Krone
                                                      F-105 History

   Bob Krone's letter home passed on news from Korat. "Your [letter] #43 arrived today via strange
   circumstances. The C-130 bringing it in couldn't get its landing gear down and had to shove all its
    cargo out over our jettison area three miles from the base. The mail was included along with
   office equipment, an entire set of dental clinic equipment, and loads of other things. They
   salvaged the mail still in bags and your letter hardly looked the worse for it.

   "Today was one of those interesting days operationally. Gordie Lewis pulled out of a dive bomb
   pass with three bombs on the centerline rack and the rack pulled off taking half of both bomb bay
   doors with it, and mangling one side of the tail. I had a no-release on a bomb on the wing tip and
   landed with it, Tony Gangol had a hydraulic failure followed by a no-chute landing, and Smitty
   landed with one strut fully extended and one low so he looked like a drunken sailor going down the
    runway. All turned out well but it was an interesting series of events.

   "Our two new lieutenants arrived today and I felt rather ancient as they came in to the office and
   smartly gave me a salute with a 'lt. Thomas reporting for duty, sir.'

   "Capt. Cushenberry, from Seymour, was the one who bailed out last week. Takhli lost three
   airplanes that week - one landed with an armed bomb aboard (no one here can figure out why),
   had an unsafe gear, which collapsed and the airplane ran off the runway. The pilot jumped out
   and ran away before the bomb blew up. The other one was Don Wood who came over from Nellis
   to join the 354th. I think he flew to Reno with me from Turner many years ago. ... He disappeared
   on a flight. No one knows what happened and he is missing.

   "I hear 'Newsweek' has a story on Thailand that everyone is denying."

        Maj Robert M. Krone's mission card dated 28 Jan 66 in the Archives of the National Museum of the United States
        Air Force & Bob Krone letter January 28, 1966, Korat.
 31-Jan-66
   In the first Air Force strike against North Vietnam 37 days after the Christmas 1965 bombing halt,
   F-105 pilots from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, from Korat RTAFB, Thailand, attacked a boat dock
   area 28 miles north of Dong Hoi.

   "The lull ...ended for Air Force pilots at 9:48 A.M. when a flight of Thunderchief pilots attacked the
   Ron Highway Ferry Complex 58 miles south-southeast of Vinh. Pilots dived through a low cloud
   ceiling to attack the ferry complex with rockets and 20-mm cannon. Other Thunderchief pilots (in
   "Spruce" flight) located a string of barges on a river about 18 miles south-southeast of Vinh.
   Using rockets and cannon, the pilots reported damaging four of the barges." (Republic Report)

   "To our surprise the frag order of January 31st listed our targets and included the statement,
   'Rolling Thunder missions for today 31 January will be executed regardless of weather.' ... The
   final words from Saigon on that frag order gave us a clue to the political forces at work: 'The eyes
   of the world will be on your pilots today. Good luck and good hunting!' "

   "A total of 16 F-105 flights were scheduled from Korat and Takhli RTAFB ... split between morning
   and afternoon flights." Apple flight was the first to start engines. It consisted of "... Jimmy Jones,
   Hal Smith, [Capt Harold Victor Smith] and Joe Steen with Tony Gangol as spare."

   The morning's Elm flight lineup was:

   #1. Maj Robert M. Krone in 59-1743
   #2. Capt Glenn "Wally" Belew from Abilene, Texas, in 60-0429, flying his 48th combat mission

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 45 of 87
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                                              Robert M. Krone
                                               F-105 History
   #3. Capt Bud Millner in 61-0157, flying his 48th combat mission
   #4. 1Lt Jerry D. Driscoll in 58-1158 flying his 38th combat mission.
   #5. Capt Fred H. de Jong, "The Flying Dutchman" from San Rafael, California, flying his 51st
   combat mission in 59-1739 that carried a camera pod on the left outboard pylon to film the strike.


   "The target was a complex of boat docks where the coastal highway, labeled Route 1A, crossed a
   river that flowed into the Gulf of Tonkin 28 miles north of Dong Hoi and 7 miles south of Vinh Son
   (17'53N;106'27E). This was 50 miles north of the demilitarized zone at the 17th parallel. The
   highway bridge across the river had been previously destroyed and the North Vietnamese were
   using fleets of small boats to ferry military supplies and troops to the south. Intelligence thought
   that they might have rebuilt the bridge during the bombing halt. The four strike pilots would carry
   two LAU-3 rocket pods under the wings and the standard 20-mm Gatling gun in the nose of the
   Thunderchief. Each rocket pod carried 19 rockets which could be fired individually or in clusters.
   Rockets were a good choice for both the target and the weather. With rockets you could make
   formation take-offs; the Thud was faster and more maneuverable with rockets than bombs; rockets
    could be fired at a lower altitude; and we could land with them if weather precluded getting to the
   target because the two pods together weighed less than 1,000 pounds. ..." (AF Museum Web
   Site)

   Capt Belew recalled that, " ... during our time over target ..., we came under heavy anti-aircraft
   fire, including barrage firing of 100-mm weapons. My aircraft was struck with shrapnel but was not
   seriously damaged." Capt Belew was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for this mission.
   (Glen Belew, e-mail to Ron Thurlow, 17 Dec 2001.)

   Due to bad weather, Elm flight, led by 469 TFS Operations Officer, Maj Robert Krone, was the only
    one of 15 F-105 flights from Korat and Takhli that struck their target. Each F-105D aircraft fired
   two pods of LAU-3 rockets on targets in the coastal area in RP-1. "All targets further inland were
   completely socked in and the 15 other flights from Korat and Takhli RTAFB's made valiant efforts
   against impossible situations."

   Maj Krone received the Distinguished Flying Cross for this mission. "Major Robert M. Krone is
   awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism while participating in aerial flight as an F-105
   pilot over North Vietnam on 31 January 1966. On that date, Major Krone participated in a strike
   against a vital target heavily defended by anti-aircraft batteries. In spite of extremely marginal
   weather conditions, utilizing airborne radar for letdown, navigation and target area acquisition, and
    in the face of intense hostile ground fire, the target was destroyed. The outstanding heroism and
   selfless devotion to duty displayed by Major Krone reflect great credit upon himself and the United
   States Air Force." (http://www.dfcsociety.org/citation_detail.asp?ID=1649)

   "Spruce" flight consisted of Maj Jack Gaudion, Lead; Capt Eugene "Dave" Hamilton, 2; John
   McCurdy, 3; Mike Muskat, 4; and Frank O'Neill, 5.

   Capt Eugene Hamilton, "Spruce 2", was shot down and killed.

   A second plane lost to 37-mm AAA was A-1E 52-132464 from the 1st Air Commando Squadron,
   Pleiku AB, South Vietnam. The pilot, Capt J. R. Gearhart, crash landed in Laos and was
   recovered.

   The Navy also lost an A-4E from the carrier "Ranger" and an F-4B from the "Kitty Hawk". The
   Navy crews ejected over the Gulf of Tonkin and were recovered.

   In a letter home dated 1 Feb 66, Maj Krone commented on this mission. "Yesterday was return to

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 46 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                    Robert M. Krone
                                                     F-105 History
   the North day. It was another of those series of events that may have made some sense politically
    but which was ridiculous militarily. The pilot that is missing is Dave Hamilton, and I have little hope
    that he will be found. ... Evidently the news is out about the return to the North. I guess the
   pressures on the political front were so great that a day had to be selected and Jan. 31 was it.
   The message we received from 2nd AD said we would go regardless of weather and that is just
   what we did. My own mission was the most rewarding one that I have flown yet from the standpoint
    of effectiveness under adversity. Belew, Millner, Driscoll, and de Jong were with me and we were
   the only ones to get the target - the weather was really stinking. The weather was a contributing
   factor in Dave Hamilton's being shot down and everyone feels that it was senseless."

        "Ending the Christmas 1965 Bombing Halt" by Bob Krone, in River Rats Vol I, pages 53 - 55 & Republic's
        Thunderchief Worldwide Report, Vol I No 7 March 1, 1996 &
        http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/history/vietnam/469th/p28.htm
 01-Feb-66
   In a letter home, Maj Robert M. Krone, Operations Office of the 469 TFS, described the status of
   some of the squadron pilots. "Our 100 mission people all got their assignments and they are all
   pleased about them. Wilson to Nellis, Koenitzer and Holmes to McConnell, and May to Williams.
   We had a squadron party for them. It was good for morale to see people finishing up and going
   home. In the meantime Jack Bailey is now flying and our two new Lts. -Thomas and Gibbs - have
   had one local flight and will get more before any missions. It will now be a scheduling problem to
   give them the easier missions first. I don't think it is right to send people right out of training over
   here and I will sweat them out, although Jerry Driscoll is a fine wingman and hasn't had any trouble
    yet.

   "I'm looking at my 469th Mission Summary board and noting that Bradley will be finished in ten
   days and O'Neill in about a month. That will finish off the 'old heads'. The next highest is Jimmy
   Jones with 60. Only a few are under fifty now. Yesterday was my 48th. In January we flew 510
   sorties and 996 hours, which was almost 50 hours per pilot. Our total for two and one half months
   is 1199 sorties and 2468 hours. Some quick calculation produces a total of 1,367,300 miles.
   Interesting if not useful information."

   In a second letter also dated 1 Feb 66, this one to his friend from George AFB, Maj Philip C. Gast,
   Maj Krone commented on combat flying. "The three reasons you mention for feeling a tour over
   here was of value were essentially my own. To 'rally round the flag, gain experience, and be of
   assistance in sorting out the truth for future reference' are all part of the tour. I think there is also
   something to be learned of oneself and about the type of people we have been working with for 14
    years. The 469th presents no problems. It is the most mature and professional group of pilots I
   have seen in any squadron and they have done a terrific job so far. We came over with 24 pilots
   initially and replaced the 357 TFS, which was here TDY.

   "It is impossible to contingency plan for a mission completely and the pilot who approaches the
   mission with an open mind and a capability for rapid decision making is the one that accomplishes
   the mission best. The possibilities for tactics are almost infinite and as soon as one is selected as
   'the answer' - a priori - mission effectiveness or safety suffers. When you are confronted with a
   complicated threat situation, a continually varying ordnance load (we have run the gamut and it
   changes daily), rigid procedures and thinking produce failure. Part of our inherent flexibility is
   sacrificed by the mechanism and bureaucracy required to implement the force. I think that is
   inevitable and must be lived with in the type of operation we have. It is part of our political-military
   relationship and I don't see any answer for that problem"

   "I think the manned aircraft position has been strengthened by the turn of events primarily
   because of the lack of alternatives to do the job that is required. The losses point up to the fact
   that we have been unrealistic in analyzing the threat and expending the R and D effort to combat

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                                                        Robert M. Krone
                                                         F-105 History
   it. We are still basically in a WW II iron-bomb concept for offense against a considerably more
   sophisticated defense. It will take some time to overcome that short sightedness. We have been
   experimenting with a few of the new ideas, which I look at as stop gap measures. I know you are
   familiar with the Wild Weasel program. I flew the first one and we are still dabbling with that
   concept. At the moment I'm not so sure that evasion isn't a better policy than the seek-and-
   destroy one."

       Bob Krone, two letters dated 1 Feb 66 - Korat.
 04-Feb-66
   "Cedar" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off at 07:35 for a time-over-target of 08:50 on a
   Rolling Thunder 49C mission. At 08:10, they refueled from White Anchor 31 at 17,000 feet. Each
   plane carried eight 750-lb bombs. Their target was at location 17-57N and 106-28E, near Vin Son
    on the coast, 32 NM NNW of Dong Hoi in RP-1, North Vietnam. The lineup was:

   #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 62-4325 on his 50th and 51st missions.
   #2 - Maj Michael S. Muskat flying 61-0205
   #3 - Capt Joseph R. Steen flying 59-1752

   "Today I veritably leaped over the halfway mark by flying my first triple day - three missions. Two
   of them counted and one didn't, which gives me 51 (51/52 as we say now, 52 total and 51 that
   count to go home). Mike Muskat, Joe Steen, and I had an early morning one and initiated F-105
   radar type bombing. As we were leaving the area, an emergency call came through that an army
   airplane was down and needed capping so we stayed there as long as possible and landed at Da
   Nang. Da Nang is almost unbelievable - hundreds of airplanes of all types jammed together. One
   runway for takeoffs and landing and airplanes all over the sky. The people on the base are also
   jammed together - everywhere. It looks like the chaos you normally think of for wartime. What
   contrast to our orderly and relatively quiet operation. Just being there a couple of hours was
   depressing. We gassed up and had another [strafing] mission with a Forward Air Controller
   ["Hound Dog 65"] on the way home."

       Combat mission card of Maj Robert M. Krone in Archives of the National Museum of the United States Air Force &
       Bob Krone letter home #9 dated 4 Feb 66.
 06-Feb-66
   The 469 TFS, 6234 TFW from Korat RTAFB dropped propaganda leaflets over North Vietnam.
   The mission was flown by a "... flight of five F-105D's - four mission aircraft and a camera aircraft
   to record the dispersal of the leaflets. The pilots involved were: Maj. Philip Bradley, Capt John
   Bailey, Captain Bud Millner, Captain Bob Chastain and Maj. Bob Krone (camera pod aircraft). The
    mission was flown in the Route Package IV area ... along the highway and railroad midway
   between the cities of Thanh Hoa and Thai Binh about 50 kilometers south of Hanoi, North Vietnam.
    On this mission, the canisters contained informational leaflets and 500 Kip notes - Laotian
   currency worth less than one dollar US .... Interestingly, the actual note dropped show(ed) an
   American aircraft being shot down by antiaircraft artillery (AAA) and small arms fire from the
   ground."

   The target area was at location 20-09N and 105-53E. This was Maj Krone's 52d combat mission
   out of 53 total missions.
       http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/history/vietnam/469th/p47.htm & Bob Krone's mission card dated 6 Feb 66.
 08-Feb-66
   In a letter home, Maj Robert M. Krone, 469 TFS Operations Officer, commented on the recent
   change to the 100 mission rule. "The morale is sagging a little now with the ruling on counting
   missions. The last few days have been mostly missions that don't shorten the tour any. The 'go
   home' column of missions built up rapidly until Feb. 1st but has slowed down considerably now. I
   suspect that when the weather gets better up north in another month it will pick up. Most of us
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 Albuquerque NM
                                                    Robert M. Krone
                                                     F-105 History
   have picked up from 2 to 4 in the first few days of February, which is below the previous average.
   I now have 52/54, which means 52 go home and a total of 54. I'll probably end up with a total of
   about 125. It is a real scheduling problem now to keep everyone even in the many categories."
        Bob Krone, letter dated 8 Feb 66.
 12-Feb-66
   "Cedar" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off at 07:30 for a time-over-target of 08:05.
   They refueled from Red Anchor 20 at 35,000 feet using probe and drogue. The lineup was:

   #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 62-4244 on his 52nd mission (55 total).
   #2 - 1Lt Jerry Donald Driscoll flying 62-4409
   #3 - Capt John A. McCurdy flying 58-1157
   #4 - 1Lt Kenneth D. Thomas flying 62-4326
   #5 - Capt Anthony J. "Tony" Gangol flying 60-0473 carrying a camera to film the strike
   Spare - Capt Steven R. Sanders in 62-4334
   Camera Spare - 58-1158

   Each plane carried five 750-lb bombs. The flight cratered a road segment on Route 18 in Laos
   between location 18-19N and 105-06E to 18-22N and 105-09E. They landed back at Korat after
   flying for 1 hour 35 minutes.
        Maj Robert M. Krone's mission card dated 12 Feb 66 in the Archives of the National Museum of the United States
        Air Force.
 15-Feb-66        19-Feb-66
   After flying his 52nd mission (59 total missions) on 14 February 1966, Maj Robert M. Krone,
   Operations Officer of the 469 TFS, went on TDY to Saigon and then to Bangkok for R&R. "It feels
   good to be going somewhere again - other than where I've been going. Six weeks is about all I
   want to do at this seven day a week pace. The [T-39] courier leaves Tan Son Nhut every morning
    and makes the rounds to Takhli, Korat, Ubon, and Da Nang, then back to Tan Son Nhut. It's a
   plush way to travel with four airline seats in addition to the two-man crew. ... I plan to spend about
   five days in Saigon visiting the Ops division, awards and decorations, IO, photo headquarters and
   maybe go to Bien Hoa and see the F-100 and A-1E operations. I am going to make things
   leisurely and combine business with pleasure and perhaps go to Bangkok for a day or two before
   returning to Korat. Things are still slow operationally so it is a good time to take off."

   Maj Krone stayed only two days in Saigon, leaving for Bangkok on 17 February 1966. "What a
   depressing place is Saigon and 2nd Air Division. After two days I have had more than enough and
    am waiting for a flight to Bangkok. This is what it will be like if the population explosion continues.
    Mobs of people - mostly military - everywhere. Lines to do everything - chaos and confusion in
   the midst of hot sticky weather. The base at Tan Son Nhut is a mess with every kind of imaginable
    airplane milling around. Everything from L-19s to Pan American 707s. People swarm in at the
   rate of 4,000 to 5,000 a day and hotels are full. Military housing has been long since use up. 2nd
    Air Division is just as depressing. The over centralization and bureaucratic build-up is horrible.
   There are already more people than they need - they are literally falling over each other - and yet
   everyone works 12 hours a day seven days a week. Most of the effort is spent keeping other
   people informed. I attended the evening and morning briefings by the staff for General Moore
   [Maj Gen Joseph H. Moore, 2 Air Div Commander], General Myers [MG Gilbert L. Myers, Deputy
   Commander 2nd AD], General Schintz, etc. Planning is done by strike Plans for targeting two
   days later, then briefed to the wheels at the evening briefing. The morning briefing is a complete
   review of the air war for the preceding day. It is easy to see how things get fouled up from this
   level to ours when they are working with numbers and under pressure all the time. It's also very
   obvious that it is ridiculous for the wings to blindly accept what comes down in the directions at all
   times - as our wing is prone to do.


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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 49 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                   Robert M. Krone
                                                    F-105 History
   He arrived in Bangkok that afternoon. "Being back in Thailand is like stepping back into the light
   from a cave. It feels like it used to do when going from Seoul to Tokyo - everything looks clean. I
   flew in a C-135 that was full of passengers and we roasted on the flight line waiting to take off. I
   met John McCurdy in the Bangkok terminal. He is starting his R and R and said that Phil Bradley
   finally finished off his 100 missions and is here now trying to clear personnel at Dong Muong."

   Maj Krone arrived back at Korat on 19 February 1966.

        Bob Krone letters home dated 15 Feb 66 "Aboard the T-39 Courier" & 17 Feb 66 Tan Son Nhut Airport & Feb 17
        PM, Bangkok.
 26-Feb-66
   Two flights from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, flew a pathfinder mission ("Buddy Bombing") over North
   Vietnam dropping their bombs in Mu Gia Pass through the undercast on a signal tone from an EB-
   66B, call sign "Swan". Approaching the target, the EB-66 transmitted a 10-second tone and the F-
   105s dropped their bombs when the tone stopped.

   Their primary target was a highway section at 17-51N and 105-48 in RP-1. Their secondary target
   was the Phong Bai highway bridge at 19-21-20N and 105-43-47E north of Vinh in RP-3.

   "Bamboo" flight took off from Korat at 08:35 and at 08:45 refueled from Red Anchor 20 at 13,000
   feet. "Locust" flight followed the same schedule refueling from Red Anchor 21. Each of the eight
   planes carried five 750-lb bombs.

   The lineup of "Bamboo" flight was:
   #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone, 469 TFS Ops Officer, flying 61-0045 on his 55th mission (64 total)
   #2 - Capt Anthony J. "Tony" Gangol flying 62-4334
   #3 - Capt John A. McCurdy flying 60-0429
   #4 - 1Lt Kenneth D. Thomas flying 62-4409
   Spare - Capt Gordon E. Lewis in 62-4340

   After dropping their bombs over Mu Gia Pass, they strafed a target in Laos at 17-30N and 105-
   30E under the control of an O-1 FAC "Gombey 18".

   The lineup of "Locust" flight was:

   #1 - Capt Harold Victor Smith flying 60-0414
   #2 - Capt Glenn E. "Wally" Belew flying 62-4410
   #3 - Capt Fred H. de Jong flying 60-0473
   #4 - Capt Frank R. O'Neill flying 59-1749
   Spare - Capt Robert L. Chastain

   After today's missions, Maj Krone wrote a letter home describing his and the squadron's activities.
    "Things continue to go well here. I flew #55/64 today. We refer to the 'no counter missions' as
   ones for the Great Society. A pilot bailed out today on one of these. He is from our sister
   squadron here, the 421st (Capt. Boyd). The chopper had him picked up in perfect shape in :45
   minutes.

   "My photo activities continue to expand. I now have almost a complete file of good negatives on all
    the pilots. The photo lab in Saigon will print them up for me and we will have one wall of our
   lounge lined with framed pictures of all the pilots who have flown with the 469th. I am also taking
   professional color pictures for the Air Force and sending them to Saigon. With our pictures,
   tapes, movies, and hopefully our squadron book, we should be the best documented squadron to

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 50 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                    Robert M. Krone
                                                     F-105 History
   come out of the war (although I think the Navy does a much better job that we do with full-time
   people assigned.) The bug is now throughout the squadron and everyone is taking cameras
   along on missions and snapping shots everywhere. Coop is delighted because he has said many
   times that he came out of World War II with only one picture. Sometimes I get the feeling that he
   think I should be doing more 'opsing' and less picture taking, however.

   "Our awards and decorations program is also moving along well. We now have a staff of four
   pilots writing on them under Capt. De Jong's direction. We call him 'Mach II' because everything
   he does is at full speed. So far our applications for medals have been approved at a much higher
   percentage that the other squadrons were are familiar with. This is an important morale factor
   because there are really very few ways that the people here can be rewarded for what they are
   doing. There is no pay increase - to speak of - whereas the civilian pilots flying in the area are
   making fantastic salaries.

   "... The new pilots are working in well although they gave us a few scares. I wonder if I could have
   done as well back in 1954 right out of training. We still keep them hanging on to the wingman's
   position and will for some time to come."

        Maj Robert M. Krone's mission card dated 26 Feb 66 in the Archives of the National Museum of the United States
        Air Force & Bob Krone, letter home "Dear Mom and Vic" dated 27 Feb 1966, Korat.
 27-Feb-66
   Two flights of F-105s from the 469 TFS and one from the 421 TFS, 6234 TFW, flew a pathfinder
   mission ("Buddy Bombing") over North Vietnam dropping their bombs in RP-1 through the
   undercast on a signal from EB-66B, call sign "Robin".

   Receiving code word "Vandal", the pilots dropped on their primary target at location 17-29N and
   106-28E in RP-1. (Note: The mission card listed this location as "Phu Qui Army Bks". However,
   the Phu Qui barracks was JCS Target 56 in RP-3 at coordinates 19-19-11N and 105-25-18E. The
    closest target to the coordinates on the mission card was the Dong Thanh Warehouse South
   (JCS Target 63.2) at 17-28-59N and 106-30-30E.)

   "Bamboo" flight led the mission taking off from Korat at 15:35 and, at 15:50, refueled from White
   Anchor 32 and 33 at 13,000 feet. The flight's lineup was:

   #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone, 469 TFS Ops Officer, flying 60-0429 on his 56th mission (65 total)
   #2 - Capt Willard F. "Bud" Millner flying 62-4334
   #3 - Maj Allan L. Parks flying 62-4340
   #4 - Capt Clifford H. Reese, Jr. flying 61-0051
   Spare - Capt Robert L. Chastain in 60-0426

   "Tulip" flight from the 469th was the second flight in the pathfinder formation. Its lineup was:

   #1 - Capt Frank R. O'Neill flying 62-4410
   #2 - 1Lt Kenneth D. Thomas flying 61-0213
   #3 - Capt Gordon E. Lewis flying 59-1749
   #4 - Capt Harold C. Perkins flying 62-4269
   Spare: - Capt John Anthony McCurdy in 60-0473

   Third in the formation was "Walnut" flight from the 421 TFS. Its lineup was:

   #1 - Capt Donald E. Staber flying 59-1752
   #2 - Maj Brown G. Howard III flying 61-0045

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 51 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                     Robert M. Krone
                                                      F-105 History
   #3 - Maj William E. "Bill" Sanders flying 59-1761
   #4 - Capt Charles Graham Boyd flying 60-0442
   Spare - Capt Joseph Goss in 62-4409

   Within a year, all 15 F-105Ds on today's mission, including the three spares, were lost to combat.

        Maj Robert M. Krone's mission card dated 27 Feb 66 in the Archives of the National Museum of the United States
        Air Force.
 28-Feb-66
   In a letter home, Maj Robert M. Krone, 469 TFS Operations Officer, commented on the squadron's
    missions from Korat during February. "The counters are more numerous now than during the
   middle of February. Evidently, my visit to Saigon resulted in a more equitable split between Korat
   and Takhli as we noticed the change immediately. The Squadron ended February with an
   average of about 9 counting missions out of 20 flown. It looks now as through March will return to
   about the same as January when the average was 18. The last few days we have been doing the
   '12 O'clock High' missions at altitude along with radar low-level work. We're certainly getting a
   variety of missions, which keeps thing interesting. The main problem is still the weather and
   probably will be for another month or six weeks."

        Bob Krone, letter #17 dated Feb 28 1966 - Korat.
 02-Mar-66
   At Korat, Maj William Earl Cooper the 469 TFS commander, went on four days of R&R in Bangkok.
    Maj Robert M. Krone, the squadron Operations Officer, assumed command of the squadron
   during Cooper's absence. "I will have the trailer all to myself."
        Bob Krone, letter home dated 23 Feb 66.
 05-Mar-66
   The five F-105Ds in "Walnut" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat at 07:40 for
   a TOT of 08:40 against a target in North Vietnam. At 07:50, they refueled from Red Anchor 21
   and 22 at 17,000 feet. The lineup was:

   #1 - Capt Martin W. Steen flying 60-0429
   #2 - Capt Glenn E. "Wally" Belew flying 59-1820
   #3 - Capt Clifford H. Reese, Jr. flying 61-0051
   #4 - Capt Fred H. de Jong flying 62-4409
   #5 - Maj Robert M. Krone on his 59th mission (70 total) flying 61-0205 as camera chase.

   Their primary target was a highway bridge over the Red River at location 21-55N and 104-39E --
   21 NM NW of Yen Bai in RP-5, North Vietnam. Weather in the area initially obscured the target.
   "Found hiway bridge through hole." Maj Krone took pictures of Belew's bombs impacting the
   target.

   After this mission, Maj Krone, who had been acting squadron commander during the R&R of Lt Col
    William Earl Cooper, wrote a letter home commenting on the progress of the air war. "The lid was
   on in February. We flew the same amount of time but the majority of the missions were 'no-
   counters'. Now we are back on the counter kick. Even though the missions are tougher, the
   morale is up considerably. Everyone can see the numbers climb toward 100 and they also feel
   that they are doing something more significant.

   "I flew #59/70 this morning, and the average is around 65 for our original pilots. It is amazing how
   much construction and activity has gone on up north in the past two months. There is obviously
   no shortage of labor.

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 52 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                   Robert M. Krone
                                                    F-105 History
   "One good piece of news from Lt Col Kinkaid was that Col Sams [6234 TFW Wing Commander]
   said that Commanders and Ops would rotate home after 100 missions like everyone else. I think
   now that Col Sams will only require that we be here for the large turnover of people, which will
   occur in late April and May.

   "Coop [Lt Col Cooper, the 469 TFS commander] is coming back tomorrow and my days as a
   Commander will be over."
       Maj Robert M. Krone's mission card dated 5 March 66 in the Archives of the National Museum of the United States
       Air Force & Bob Krone, letter #17 (to Bencey), dated 5 March 1966.
 08-Mar-66
   The four F-105Ds in "Locust" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat at 07:20 for
   a TOT of 07:55 for a bridge and storage complex in Laos at location 17-24N and 105-44E. Each
   plane carried five 750-lb bombs and the flight did not refuel. The lineup for this non-counter
   mission was:

   #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 59-1739 on his 60th mission (73 counters)
   #2 - Col Monroe S. "Saber" Sams (the 6234 TFW commander) flying 62-4409
   #3 - Maj Fred T. Coleman flying 61-0126
   #4 - 1Lt Thomas A. Gibbs flying 60-0442
   Spare - Capt Martin W. Steen in 62-4325

   Maj Krone noted the results on the back of his mission card. "Horrible mission. Tanker problem;
   low visibility. My right 450 tank wouldn't feed. Missed target. Bad post-strike join. GCA fowled up
    and Col Sams landed to find out no one met Gen Wilson [Maj Gen James W. Wilson, 13 Air Force
    Commander]."

   In a letter home afterward, Maj Krone commented on squadron losses and other recent events.
   "Yesterday [7 March 1966] was another sad day for us with Smitty now missing in action [Capt
   Harold Victor Smith]. He was flying with Jimmy Jones and Glen Belew. They don't know what
   happened as Smitty didn't make any distress calls and they didn't see a crash or a parachute.
   Like Hamilton's case, we can hope.

   "... Coop came back yesterday and is sick with a temperature [Maj William Earl Cooper the 469th
   commander]. He kind of mopes around the trailer like an old hunting dog when he is sick. I am
   still doing double duty as Ops and Cmdr although there is very little to do as Cmdr.

   "I flew #60/73 today. That means I have averaged fifteen per month and should finish up in
   another three months. I doubt if the pilot input gets up to strength before this summer, which
   continues to give Coop and me an excuse for flying."


       Maj Robert M. Krone's mission card dated 8 March 66 & Bob Krone, letter # 18 dated 9 March 1966 (Note: the date
       was probably an error since the topics in the letter happened on 7 and 8 March 66.)
 10-Mar-66
   The five F-105Ds in "Fir" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, took off from Korat at 13:20 for a
   TOT of 14:25 against a target in Laos. At 13:35, they refueled from Red Anchor 24 at 17,000
   feet. The lineup for this "non counting" mission was:

   #1 - Maj Allan L. Parks flying 61-0126
   #2 - 1Lt Jerry Donald Driscoll flying 61-0057
   #3 - Capt Gordon E. Lewis flying 61-0120
   #4 - 1Lt Kenneth D. Thomas flying 62-4409
   #5 - Maj Robert M. Krone on his 60th mission (75 total) flying 62-4334 as camera chase.
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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 53 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                    Robert M. Krone
                                                     F-105 History

   Each plane carried two 3,000-lb bombs with #5 carrying a camera pod. Capt Driscoll's plane
   developed low oil pressure and noises after aerial refueling and Maj Krone escorted him to Udorn.
   The flight struck their primary target, the Thanh Lang Xa storage tunnel at location 17-58-30N
   and 105-50-20E in the Steel Tiger region of southern Laos.

   Later in the day, in a letter home, Bob Krone commented on the squadron's and his own missions.
     "March saw a change in the flying. We have been getting a much higher percentage of
   'counters' than in February. The weather has a lot to do with it plus some policy changes at 2nd
   AD. This is the 10th and I have ten missions this month four of which are counters. The
   effectiveness of our missions is several times greater now than three months ago. We now know
   the territory and the next two months of operations should be productive -- which is one valid
   reason for the PCS status. The weather in Thailand continues to be beautiful. Although the
   temperatures have warmed slightly, it is not muggy and the nights are balmy. It will be another
   month before the rainy season starts here and good weather starts up north. ... I am hoping
   tomorrow will be a counter as I've had three 'great society' missions in a row."

        Maj Robert M. Krone's mission card dated 10 March 66 in the Archives of the National Museum of the United
        States Air Force & Bob Krone, letter # 19 dated March 10, 1966.
 15-Mar-66
   Before his mission today, Maj Robert M. Krone, Operations Officer, 469 TFS, wrote a letter home
   commenting on happenings in the squadron.

   "I have flown every day this month although only five have been counters and the score is now
   61/79. I have been especially busy with paperwork, too. There have been several ERs and a lot
   of correspondence. The awards and decorations take a lot of time as I edit each one. Lately Red
   de Jong's [Capt Fred H. de Jong] staff has grown to four with Al Parks [Maj Alan L. Parks] and Ted
   Reese (TDY from Kadena) [Capt Clifford H. Reese, Jr., 12 TFS] writing some and Lt. Thomas [1Lt
   Kenneth D. Thomas] is also working into the act. We keep two typists busy all day every day. My
   various other projects are time consuming also. My camera pod footage is building up nicely and I
    will have at least thirty minutes of good film when I finish. My pilot's picture project is almost done.
    ... I have sent [the lab at Saigon] the good negatives for printing and in the next few days most of
   the pictures will be up in individual frames and labeled for permanent display.

   "Friday I hope to slip off to Chiang Mai in northwestern Thailand for the week end. There are R
   and R flights leaving on Friday and returning on Sunday. Everyone says it is the most beautiful
   part of Thailand and it is the center of hand-worked silver. I mainly want to get away for another
   short spell. This schedule gets me down after a month or so.

   "The MiGs are not really the problem that the papers present. ... They are continuing to train and
   increase in numbers in their sanctuary. We are better equipped for them now than last April in
   several ways.

   "The morale of the squadron remains high, mainly because the flying time continues to build by
   leaps and bounds. We now have flown 1,975 sorties for 4,018 hours since 15 November. People
   don't have time to sit around and feel sorry for themselves and the end continues to get closer.

   "Frank O'Neill [Capt Frank R. O'Neill] got his 100th yesterday and landed at 7:30 in the morning.
   We had the customary 469th reception with Champagne, met by wing commander and pilots,
   flares, case of beer for the crew chief, pictures, ... change into flying suit with 100-mission patch.

   "We have another TDY pilot from Kadena, Capt Will Snell [Capt Willard H. Snell, 67 TFS]. The
   rumors are that eight more Lieutenants from Nellis are scheduled to arrive shortly. Takhli has 13
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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 54 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                             Robert M. Krone
                                              F-105 History
   354 TFS pilots finishing up in the next two weeks. The PCS pipeline still hasn't caught up and
   probably won't while we are here. The first 469th pilot to get 100 that came over with us should be
   sometime next month."

   Later in the morning, Maj Krone flew his 62nd combat mission to North Vietnam (80 total missions).
    He led "Beech" flight with a take-off time of 09:50 with a TOT of 10:30. The flight's line up was:

   #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 62-4287
   #2 - 1Lt Jerry Donald Driscoll flying 62-4334
   #3 - Maj John J. "Jack" Gaudion in 62-4325 who aborted for problems with engine trim and no
   water for takeoff.
   #4 - Capt Clifford H. Reese, Jr. flying 61-0048
   #5 - Capt Anthony J. "Tony" Gangol flying 61-0205 as camera ship
   Spare - Maj James L. Jones flying 61-0165 replacing Maj Gaudion after he aborted

   The flight attacked a highway bridge on Route 1A south of Dong Hoi. Bombing accuracy suffered
   due to poor visibility. "Missed by 52 feet."

   In the evening, Maj Krone wrote another letter commenting on some of his recent activities.

   "These rescue people over here are doing a fabulous job and sometime there will be some terrific
   stories about the pilot pickups. Evidently Bob Grier's was a similar one. He was down close to a
   large Viet Minh troop area. They were advancing on him rapidly when the chopper arrived. The
   chopper let the anchor down and Bob couldn't open up the metal seat. So he just wrapped his
   arms around it and they hauled him up with bullets whining around. The seat is designed so that
   once you get in you will be held there even if you become unconscious. If Bob had been hit he
   would probably have let go. These rescue people do a tremendous job under terrible conditions
   and their good work is a real morale builder for the pilots.

   "Jack came back and Coop and I had it all arranged for him to move out. Tonight, I asked Coop if
   he minded if I combined my room and Jack's into one bedroom. He didn't, so I have been having a
    ball remodeling for the last two hours. The plywood panel separating the two rooms came out
   easily and I carted out one bed, rearranged and cleaned up, and now I have a terrific bedroom
   with lots of room. I have a closet at each end of the room, lots of drawer space, bed table, a
   corner for your valet, and room to spread out my goatskin rug by the bed. I am delighted with it. It
    will make a tremendous difference not to be jammed into that cracker box.

   "Jack is already causing us trouble again. Col Sams has backed down on moving him. Coop
   doesn't know what to do now. I have the flight commanders doing the scheduling so Jack really
   doesn't have a job. He is beginning to get the picture I think.

   "Today I logged #62/80 and with luck will get #63/81 tomorrow then go to Chiang Mai Friday for
   three days. Coop says he is going to run operations while I am gone to avoid having to let Jack do




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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 55 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                     Robert M. Krone
                                                      F-105 History
    it. A weird arrangement. Coop will probably put on his L/C rank March 20th.

   "Today L/General Quesada [ Lt Gen Elwood R. 'Pete' Quesada, USAF Ret.] presented me with my
    first Air Medal. Not much of a ceremony. He, of course, has been retired for years, and was head
    of FAA and now has some private business job. ... My DFC just got to 2nd AD a week ago and will
    take a while to get considered. We now have every pilot submitted for a DFC except Gangol
   [Capt Anthony J. "Tony" Gangol]. He never seems to do anything heroic. And everyone is in for,
   or already received, one air medal. Bud Millner [Capt Willard F. "Bud" Millner] has about 3 DFCs
   and 3 air medals, on the way, and may be our most decorated member. He really is an
   outstanding pilot, and deserves everything he is getting. Everyone should also get a
   commendation and we will submit Coop for a Legion of Merit when he leaves. I and the flight
   commanders may be submitted for a Bronze Star as McNamara has recently pushed this one."




        Bob Krone, letter March 15, 1966, Korat & mission card & letter "#19 - 15 March 1966".
 18-Mar-66        23-Mar-66
   After flying his 63rd mission on 16 March 1966, Maj Robert M. Krone, Operations Officer of the
   469 TFS, went on five days of R&R to Chiang Mai and Bangkok. "Chiang Mai is a wonderful spot
   and I have had a grand four days there since last Friday. There were 17 of us on the Korat C-47,
   which left at 9. Included were L/C Burner, our chief Doctor, and his wife who is a WAF major in the
    nurse corps. They were just married last year and she is stationed in Spain and came for a visit.
   In addition there were about eight officers from Lt through major - all 'fungos' (support personnel)
   and several airmen.

   "... I ... had dinner with a group of airmen. We do so little socializing with the airmen that it is
   always interesting and educational to hear their slant on the military. These people were all
   weapons-load teams. The people that load the planes with bombs, rockets, etc. Under the
   present maintenance system they rarely get a chance to talk to the pilots and don't feel as close to
    the mission as they should. We are scheduled to go back into squadron maintenance in May,
   which will put these people all back into the squadrons - and give Cooper a real job again. He is
   hoping it won't happen until after he leaves.

   "On Sunday afternoon the rest of the party returned to Korat on the C-47. I was enjoying myself
   too much ... and I charged off to watch the silversmith and lacquer factories at work and arranged
   to rent a motorcycle Monday to drive up to see the elephants at work.

   "Today, [22 March 66] I regretfully joined an inspection party's C-47 and came to Bangkok. We
   stopped for four hours at Takhli and I saw all the 355th and 354th people. Tomorrow ... afternoon
   ... I will take a taxi back to Korat. For $2.00 you can get a share the ride cab. It takes three hours,
    which is what it takes to fly by the time you wait around the MATS terminal."

        Bob Krone's letter home dated March 22 - 1966 from Hotel Manida, Bangkok and Hotel Suriwongse, Cheinmai,
        Thailand.
 23-Mar-66
   Maj Robert M. Krone, 469 TFS Operations Officer, returned to Korat from R&R at Chieng Mai,
   Thailand. "I left Bangkok at 1:15 in a share-the-ride cab with four Thai men and arrived here at
   4:30, to discover that this has been one of the bad days. Lt. Ken Thomas went down, is all right
   but is spending the night in a desolate area because the choppers could not get to him. He will
   have to climb up a hill to a clearer area in the morning.

   "An F-100 was lost and Takhli lost an F-105 - the pilot picked up - a Major Hill [Maj Rex A. Hill, 357

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 56 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                    Robert M. Krone
                                                     F-105 History
   TFS]. Numerous emergencies, etc.

   "We have two new Lts - Moon and Pool and a new Captain Hicks - from McConnell [1Lt Ross A.
   Moon, 1Lt Nicholas A. Pool, and Capt Carl S. Hicks]. Hicks has no combat but 3000 hours time.
   Coop has really been flying in my absence and has picked up nine counters in six days. He's tired
    but happy and put on his L/C leaves the 20th.

   "Back in the grind again. I did enjoy the R and R tremendously and hated to come back. It's nice
   to get out in the world after this rat race here and the Far East has always fascinated me."

        Bob Krone, letter home, "Back in Korat - 10 PM 23 March 1966".
 26-Mar-66
   Two days after he was shot down on 23 March 1966 and rescued the next day, 1Lt Kenneth D.
   Thomas, Jr. from the 469 TFS sat down with some members of his squadron to tell what happened
    to him during his two-day ordeal. The interview was recorded on tape cassettes as part of the
   squadron's oral history program.

   The interview was introduced by Capt John Edward "Jack" Bailey, the squadron history officer.

   "Lt Thomas will tell us about his ejection, survival, and rescue in the jungle and mountainous
   terrain of Laos and North Vietnam. Lt Thomas was flying an F-105D Thunderchief type aircraft in
   Mugia Pass on the 23rd of March 1966. He was shot down by 37-mm triple A, bailed out in the
   mountainous terrain and was contacted approximately 30 minutes after he landed by the USAF
   SAR forces stationed in Thailand. He traveled for approximately 10 miles in the mountainous and
   jungle terrain. He was picked up by a Jolly Green of the SAR posture.

   "Also present for today's interview are:

   Major Robert M. Krone                              469th TFS Operations Officer
   Captain Bill Secker                                 Personal Equipment Officer
   "Combat Doc" (Dr. Marshall J. Dyke)            Flight Surgeon
   Captain Jack Bailey                                 Historian
   A1C Maldonado                                        Personal Equipment"

   Lt Thomas' story:

   I was at 9,000 feet, doing better than 400 knots. I was jinking pretty hard. I think they got me with
   the luckiest shot they ever made. They tell me that the coordinates of the thing were the 068
   radial at 63.5 miles out of channel 89. The ultimate reason I left the bird was because it quit flying
   pretty violently. Actually, I think I was hit, probably, in the base of the rudder on top of the
   fuselage, because simultaneously with the explosion I got the Rudder Travel Light. I lost my
   Primary #1 Hydraulic System almost immediately. I got an Overheat Light, pretty soon thereafter,
   about 10 seconds afterwards, and she was trying to yaw pretty hard to the left. It took about half
   right rudder and some rather sloppy stick movements to keep it level and climbing. I slowed to 300
    knots because I didn't want to shed too many pieces off the bird and it flew for about a minute and
    a half. I was almost exactly a 270 degree heading because that was where the highest hills were,
   above the fence, and that looked like the best place to get out. And, after about a minute the
   Utility Systems bled down completely and the Stab Aug went off the line. It got worse and worse
   and I recall telling the other people in the flight, giving them a sort of running commentary on what
   was happening to the airplane. The last thing I remember saying was, 'OK, I'm losing control, I'm
   getting out.' I said that just as it snapped very hard to the left and I went out actually inverted,
   almost exactly upside down. The other people in the flight told me after that the bird made a
   couple of quick spins and then straight nose up and then just fell like a piece of aluminum foil or
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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 57 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                              Robert M. Krone
                                               F-105 History
   something after that, no relationship to an airplane at all. The engine was running real fine the
   whole time. I was real happy about that, it never gave me any trouble at all. As I said, I was going
   for the highest hills there. The peaks were something over 6000 feet high and a pretty long ridge.
     My main concern at the time was just getting away from the bad guys. The terrain was really
   pretty rugged, so it looked like a good place. Actually, the toughest part of the whole two days
   was the bailout. That bothered me more than anything else, leaving the airplane. On bailout, I
   lost my helmet and got smacked above the left eye by a piece of equipment, which I think I
   probably was my clipboard. Immediately after the chute opened I realized I didn't have my helmet
   and I was bleeding over my left eye, which I pretty well stopped with a handkerchief I had. I
   checked over the terrain below me, looking out for people mostly, not necessarily worried about
   the woods. There wasn't a sign of any type of civilization or villages or anything else anywhere
   within several miles so I thought I was in a relatively safe area.

   I almost went down on the North Vietnamese side of the ridge. A pretty tricky updraft there along
   the mountain chain and it took me back up 1000 feet and blew me another 2 miles across the
   ridge and down the Laos side. I kept my seat pack under me, because of the probability of
   landing in the trees. I was really glad I did because when I did come down I got a terrific thump
   right on the bottom of the seat pack by a branch that took the blow I would have gotten anyway. I
   hung up in the tree about 50 feet for just a second and sort of slid and slipped until I was down.
   Then I actually stopped and my feet were about 2 inches off the ground, which was pretty ideal.

   I got out of the chute and turned off the beeper so I could pull out my two-way radio and talk to
   them. I transmitted about 3 or 4 times that I was down and OK and I tried to get somebody else to
   talk to me. I could just barely hear Captain McCurdy answer me but I didn't realize he was talking
   to me at that time. I thought he was calling the rescue aircraft. The reason I couldn't hear him too
   well was they all thought I was on the other side of the ridge. I should have been, from the point
   where I bailed out, but the wind had blown me quite a bit further than they thought.

   As far as survival gear that I had on me; I had the standard seat pack of course. It contains quite
   a number of things, one of which, supposedly, was canned water. But the little compartment
   where the two cans of water were kept had been blown open; the door was completely blown off of
   it by the force of the wind I suppose from ejection. So, I didn't have any water, which later gave
   me some problems. For about 16 hours I didn't have any water.

   On my own personal survival gear, I have always carried some bandages, waterproof safety
   tablets. A few things like that, matches, signaling devices, and water proof plastic containers that I
    carried in my g-suit. In my survival, not actually a vest, it's one of these ... a waist band, I had a
   38 with 30 rounds of tracer ammunition with about 15 rounds of straight ammunition. Ten pen gun
    flares, which came in handy. I had two day-night type standard flares, plus three more in the kit,
   plus two mirrors.

   I had my own radio, the radio in the pack with the beeper, the radio in the chute, so I wasn't hurting
    for communication devices.

   As far as rations, there were C-rations in the kit and I consumed a few of them. Not too many, I
   never really was awfully hungry but I did want to keep my strength up a little bit. Keep hunger
   down and at the same time I wanted to ration them out because, frankly, after the first afternoon I
   didn't know how long I was going to be on the ground.

   Just looking through the stuff here, some gear. I think -- run through actually the things that were
   most important to me. Basically, it was my radio, standard survival type radio, two-way
   communication, 243.0. I would never have been found without that. There was definitely no way
   they could have gotten me initially or even the next day when they did pick me up.

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 58 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                               Robert M. Krone
                                                F-105 History

   The radio that I used most of the time, in fact, I used it for all but one of my communications, really
   served it's purpose well and it's still going strong, even though it's got six inches broken off the
   end of the antenna when I fell off a rock when I was talking on it. In addition, I had another radio
   and a beeper I was talking about.

   The second most important thing to me up there, and I can't impress this upon people too much,
   was a 200-foot nylon tape-type rope that most of us carried in our g-suit. It was initially carried by
   most of us to get down out of a tree after we hung up in a chute. As I said, this problem I didn't
   have. But, I'm sure I couldn't have gotten down the mountain without it. Three times I went down
   cliffs that were anywhere from 50 to 75 feet high using the thing. A lot of times when the terrain
   was too rugged to carry my little pack that I had, I could let it down first on the rope and then follow
    it down. Or, just, mainly, getting down in some of the places that were too steep to crawl or slide
   or anything else.

   Maybe I didn't say enough about terrain a while ago. I'm getting a little out of phase here. It was
   the most rugged place I've ever seen in my life. Almost all of the slopes were either straight down
   or something like 60 degrees. Most of the soil was crumbly and rocks weren't too stable, you
   could kick them off. It was really drastically hard getting down. I completely wore the seat out of
   my flight suit. I mean completely, just sliding down the hills, over rocks, things like that.

   The jungle itself was awfully thick and hard to get through. In places it would take me several
   minutes just to make a few feet through the undergrowth because of the vines. There was one
   point of survival equipment, which I really wish I had, and I'm going to try to work something out
   before I go out that direction again. That's a machete or at least a longer knife than I normally
   carry to hack away the vines.

   That leads me to the third most important thing I had, was my survival knife that I had sewn in the
   back of my g-suit leg. It was what we call a Navy Knife. It was really a great thing to have. I used
   it for so many different things, cutting open different parts of my gear that were sewn up so
   securely that they were hard to get loose, or cutting risers out of the chute when I went down.
   Once I even crawled down a hill about 75 feet or so, I thought I was making good progress until I
   came out to a 500-foot bluff and it wasn't too good. To get back up, it was so steep, all I could do
   was actually dig the knife in under tree roots and use that for something to hold on to as I was
   pulling myself up.

   More on the gear. The next most important thing that I had was the water bottle. Like I said, it was
    16 hours from the time I went down when I finally got to water. And I was really hurting for
   something to drink by that time. I happened to find a little spring where I could get water. I filled
   up a 3 pint plastic water container, treated it with iodine pills, and waited the prescribed 15
   minutes, drank 2 pints of it, and got 3 more and I pressed on.

   But all day I was constantly thirsty, because of the heat, all the exercise of walking, and besides
   which, I imagine, my physical condition was leading to dehydration because of fatigue and a few
   other things too.

   After that I can't really classify stuff in any order of what was best and what wasn't. I had a real
   good compass. I've forgotten what they call the thing. It's a lensatic compass. It's top-drawer
   equipment, although most of the time I couldn't use the thing because there was no possibility of
   trying to maintain any sort of a heading. They had told me a heading of 350 was my best escape
   heading, but that's like asking a man to climb the side of the Empire State Building just to get on
   the other side, you know. I went down where I could and there was no real chance of maintaining
   a particular direction.

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 59 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                               Robert M. Krone
                                                F-105 History

   Something that I really wish I had in the seat pack was another pair of gloves. My right glove
   started ripping out at the seams after about an hour on the ground. By the next afternoon it was
   almost completely gone. My right hand took a little more of a beating than my left one did. I got
   probably somewhere in the vicinity of 20 chiggers buried in the back of my right hand. My left
   hand is fine, no problems at all.

   I had asked the SAR troops, if I had to spend another night and they were going to kick out
   another package of goodies out to me, be sure and put a pair of gloves in it. And they had done
   so, even though they never got around to kick the thing out. It was what I needed at the time.

   Just looking around here at some of the things I didn't use. I'm so glad it was a snakebite kit; in
   fact I had two of them. I had lots of matches; I only used two or three of them, in the dark up under
    a ledge at night to take a quick look at something. I didn't want to build a fire even though I was
   terrifically cold because I didn't know who else was in the area. About 2:30 in the morning I was
   glad I hadn't because over the next ridge, about a half a mile away, somebody let go three shots
   at some monkeys. It just didn't do anything for my peace of mind because I didn't know whether
   they were good guys or bad guys and I wasn't going to investigate further.

   The rest of the survival gear I had was good stuff. The first time I was spotted was with a smoke
   flare. One of the A-1Es was coming right down the valley at me and I waited until he was about a
   ¼ mile out, popped a smoke flare and whipped it around, and he spotted it just as he went
   overhead.

   The pen gun flares were pretty hard to see up there. In fact I didn't see any of them in the
   daytime. I fired off about four of them in the daytime when they were pretty close to me and they
   should have been able to pick them up with the visibility involved and they couldn't. When it was
   almost dark, one of the Sandys saw one and got another good general idea where I was.

   And then, as they were talking, well I was actually talking to the HH-3C and in my position because
   I could see him getting ready to kick off a bundle of survival gear. I fired one off under his nose
   when he was about 200 yards away and that gave him a real indication of where I was.

   Tracer ammunition -- I was always told that was the thing to carry in the jungle because that's the
   only thing to get up through the trees. In a great big heavy growth, and I went through some later
   in the day, I think this was true. I fired a few rounds of tracer later in the day, in the afternoon to
   show them where I was, and it got up through the canopy. I don't doubt that. Whereas the little
   pen gun flares might not have. But in the lighter growth, plain little every day trees, these little pen
    gun flares are pretty effective. They do make more light and they've got a terrific bang when they
    go off. They really get on up through the branches.

   There was a pair of real heavy wool socks in that kit, too big for anybody who is less than 8 feet
   tall. But they came in to a real good use during the night when I was pretty cold. I was shaking all
   over I was so cold and I pulled the things actually over my hands and way above my elbows
   practically up to my shoulders and they helped me stay warm.

   One other thing in this kit that some people kind of thought it was funny I carried with me and I
   didn't take it for a reason that I ultimately used it, was my LPU, my underarm life preserver. I took
   it with me originally because I wanted to use one as a pillow if I had to spend the night out there,
   which I did. It sure beat the rocks that I was laying on. But, I was picked up eventually because of
   these things. I was in a clearing and the guys were circling me. I know they could see down in the
   clearing to see where I was. But, I was so dirty and talk about camouflage, I looked like the rock I
   was standing on and after they had gone by twice I was getting kind of desperate. I suddenly

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 60 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                 Robert M. Krone
                                                  F-105 History
   realized the best high visibility thing I had was my LPU. So, I pulled it out of the pack, popped the
   other one open and started waving it around and they immediately saw me then. You know it was
   just a matter of time until they got me out. I haven't before carried a bright colored cloth, flag of
   any sort, and I'm going to from now on. I realize that the high-visibility color was the only thing that
    got me out. I was just lucky I had my LPU. I might have thrown it away.

   Now I was told by some other people up at Udorn the other night that I left a good piece of high
   visibility material. And it is true. I could have taken my knife and cut the bright colored covering
   flap off the one-man raft that was in the pack. I left the raft by the way. I didn't figure I had too
   much use for that. I know it makes a good bed and things like that in the jungle, but it was a little
   more than I wanted to add to all the other stuff because the terrain was so bad. And I could have
   cut that piece of flap off of it and used that.

   One other thing that I left behind that I hadn't intended to. I thought I had everything that was
   important to me, but, I left the little strobe light, high visibility light, with the parachute harness. I
   actually went all over the stuff pretty well before I left to get everything but I missed that one.

   Oh yes, my boots. I think somebody was worried about my boots. I don't know who, but I got the
   indication when I got back that it bothered somebody. The same old boots I have worn since my
   first flight in a T-37 in pilot training. I had zippers sewn inside of them. Everybody always told me
   that if you ever go down in the jungle you'll be sorry because the zippers will rip out. There was a
   small rip in the left one that was there before I jumped out and I don't think there was a stitch
   missing that wasn't there when I took off that day, so that's not bad.

   I left the g-suit on all the time because, first of all, I had a lot of gear in the pockets and I had the
   knife sewed to the back of one leg and the rope to the other, and I probably would have been
   naked from the waist down after all the stuff I walked through if I hadn't had it on. It took a lot of
   beating and was really chewed up pretty badly and my flight suit would have been absolutely
   ripped to pieces in the brush, rocks, undergrowth of all sorts, vines with barbs on them. I really got
    scratched up with something that looked like a rose bush once. I had a lot of gear I didn't use but
   I wasn't down there very long, relatively speaking. I would have used most of it including
   medicines ... oh, I forget to tell you about that.

   The second thing after I got down, and tried to make radio contact, I had to stop the bleeding over
   my left eye and I didn't want to take the time then for me to work it over too much. I've always
   carried bandages in my right g-suit pocket and I got one of them out. A pressure type bandage
   and just wrapped it around my head good and tight and stopped the bleeding.

   I tried to salvage my parachute canopy, which would have been something for me later on at night.
     But there was no way to get it down from the tree. About that time I decided it was time to get
   away from the parachute because if anybody was down there looking for me ….bad guys, that
   thing was sticking up in the tree was going to make a pretty good signal. So, I gathered up my
   gear and took off. I climbed about 300 feet up this ridge. I actually, was down in a little ravine,
   way up on the side of this mountain. I got on the top of this small ridge that ran down from top of
   the mountain. It was an ideal place for a pickup, I thought. It was relatively flat right there and
   good enough for a chopper to get in over me. The tree canopy wasn't too thick; trees were just
   stubby little things 15 to 20 feet tall. They could have gotten their canopy penetrator device down
   through there with no trouble at all.

   But, here is where the whole thing came in, I could have been picked up an hour after I punched
   out but the wind just wouldn't allow it. Up on the top of the mountain there were some really terrific
   gusts. Like I said, it blew me up 1000 feet and over 2 miles before it let me back down. The HH-
   3C nearly hit the ridge the first time he tried to come in, hit a downdraft and I heard him say on the

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 61 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                               Robert M. Krone
                                                F-105 History
   radio to one of the other choppers that he had full power and 60 degrees nose low and he wasn't
   moving forward, he was moving backwards. He kind of gave me the impression that that's a pretty
   drastic maneuver in a HH-3C. He tried, actually, to get over me four times and just couldn't hack it
   without getting a running start back about mile away and going zipping over me pretty well at top
   speed. There was no possible way he was going to pick me up like that.

   After they tried several times, we talked about it a little bit, and they decided that if I could get up
   clear to the top of the mountain, which was about 1000 feet higher than I was at the time, maybe
   1500 feet, they could pick me up there because the wind wouldn't be as bad. So, I started up and
   I climbed for about two hours. I wasn't making very good progress. The terrain was really rough
   and going up was a lot harder, than I found out later, going down was going to be.

   I almost got to the top, actually about 500 to 600 feet, and I ran into a place that just couldn't be
   climbed. I went both ways from the point where I was for quite a ways. There was just no way to
   get over this bluff. About that time they decided it was too windy up on the top to put anybody
   down. They had talked to me about putting a Pararescue man off on the top and letting him climb
   down to me, throw me a rope over this ledge and get me up and go on up the top but they couldn't
    even hack that.

   It was still pretty rough at about the time they were going to leave me. So, they did kick a survival
   kit out to me. They told me they had water in it, a couple of radios and some food and I
   envisioned what else was in it. They had me talk them into position; they were making a running
   pass at me again. I directed them in, when they were close and about 200 yards; fired up a pen
   gun flare. They spotted that; when directly over me I said, 'Drop now'. It went in to the hills, just a
   few feet above me, less than 100 feet I am convinced. I saw it against the sky when it went out of
   the chopper. I heard it hit the ground. I also heard it go roaring down the hill through the brush. I
   never found it. I looked until it got too dangerous to stumble around in the dark with all the ledges
   and things in there.

   They told me, since then, the thing was supposed to have two blinking strobe lights on it to help
   people find it in the dark. The lights didn't work when they first kicked it out. Out in the middle of
   the night they scared me a couple of times, because in the fog I saw lights blink. The first time it
   blinked about six times. The next time it ran for about 30 seconds. It pretty well scared me
   because I didn't know what was going on. I thought maybe it was an artillery barrage over on the
   other side of the mountain or something making these regular flashes in the sky or the possibility
   of these lights didn't occur to me at the time. But, even then, I got up and looked around a little bit
    to see what was going on. In the fog, I had no way to tell what direction the light was coming from.
     So, even if I had kept on looking for it, stumbling around in the dark again, I would never have
   found it I'm sure.

   I did take my little radio. Oh, when they dropped the kit; one of the two radios in it jammed into the
    beeper position and was transmitting the beeper. I took my radio and shielded the antenna on
   one side with a piece of metal. I could get a pretty good directional fix on it. It was in the same
   direction in which I heard the thing go cascading down the hill. But it wasn't that much more help.
   I just couldn't get to it.

   Something in the survival kit I forgot to mention that was really important to me, actually two things.
    But, the insect repellant stick, 6 -12 insect repellant, kept the bugs off of me in really a terrific
   manner. I didn't have a mosquito bite on my face or neck or ears or anything. One of the first
   things I did after I got up on the ledge of the hill where I first got to, was to smear the stuff all over
   my face and neck. It kept the mosquitoes away from me. I could hear them buzzing around at night
    but they never got really close to me.


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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 62 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                              Robert M. Krone
                                               F-105 History
   Another item that I had was a standard old floppy hat that was green on one side and yellow on
   the other. It saved me a lot of trouble with the underbrush keeping my head protected from
   branches and vines and things like that.

   Well anyway, I got up to a point where it got too dark to climb anymore and I found a little ledge
   where it was relatively safe to lay down without falling off the mountain. I spent about 10 hours,
   actually, there in the dark. It stayed dark an awfully long time that night. There was no place
   really to lay down. I was just sort of laying there with my feet hanging off the edge of the bluff.
   About 2:30 in the morning, I was suddenly inundated by a thunderstorm that lasted for an hour
   and a half. I was able to huddle back up under the ledge and stay dry, but I sure was cold. I was
   pretty miserable because I couldn't stretch out and I huddled up under there with no real
   protection for me except the rain.

   As far as the SAR aircraft are concerned. When I was going down in the chute, actually I heard all
   three of the other aircraft in the flight and I could see Captain Gangol circling. He was spiraling
   down, keeping me in sight. As soon as I got on the ground I tried talking to him. I heard Captain
   McCurdy answering, but I didn't realize he was talking to me. His transmissions were too broken
   up by the mountain and I was down in the ravine on the side.

   The first guy I really had good contact with was one of the Sandys. Crown, I think it was a C-54,
   an HC-54. I heard him in the area. He was on the wrong side of the mountain, where they thought
   I had gone in, where I would have gone in but for the wind. He was over there looking for me and I
    could hear him. I tried transmitting but he wasn't picking me up. Shortly after the HCs got there
   the A-1Es came roaring across from the Laos side and I'm afraid they would have gone on the
   other side of the mountain too, except the fact that I called, 'Sandy, Sandy this is Willow 04'. I told
   them, 'You were pretty close to me. I can hear you.' So they stayed on that side of the mountain
   and took around 5 or 10 minutes. They actually had me spotted, actually spotted my position
   within 35 minutes from the time I was down. I talked them into the general area. I never could see
   them really too well. I finally spotted one holding. I told them generally where I was in relation to
   his position. I spotted him, talked him in closer, and popped a smoke flare and waved it around.
   Even though the wind was pretty stiff, it blew it out away from the trees. He spotted it and told me
   he saw it. I felt pretty good about that right at the moment.

   It took about another 25 minutes for the chopper to get there. I was in radio contact most of the
   time until the chopper got there. He did his best, he really tried, but there was no way he could do
   it. So I started up the mountain. I thought I'd have to spend the night there.

   During the night something that intrigued me and also intrigued the intelligence people up at
   Udorn was the fact that I heard people on the next ridge because they weren't particularly sure
   who it was. The rescue people told me there were friendlies in the area. Which I took with a grain
   of salt because I felt, like, by myself I was safe. If I contacted anybody I'd have a 50-50 chance to
   be with the wrong people. So at dawn the next morning, I headed in the opposite direction where I
   heard the shots during the night.

   I started on up the ridge the next morning and got to this bluff that couldn't be climbed and walked
   both ways for a while and decided there was no point in that. By this time they had brought in,
   besides the HH-3Cs, they had brought in an H-43, a littler chopper, because they thought he could
    maneuver a little better in the currents. But he couldn't hack it either. The winds were stronger
   all during the night. In fact things were picking up especially in the thunderstorms were going
   through.

   Something else that happened during the night I forgot about. It was kind of odd. There were F-
   4Cs or something sounded like multiple-engine jet fighters kept running down through this valley

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 63 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                              Robert M. Krone
                                               F-105 History
   at altitudes considerably lower than the peaks. A flight, more than one, I would say probably about
   four of them, went through in sort of staggered trail or at least two elements of two at about 11
   o'clock. And then they came back the other way someplace over North Vietnam about 12:30.
   Another flight went back around the other way a half an hour later and they came back another
   half hour later.

   What I took to be a weather recce bird, probably an F-101, came through about a half an hour
   before dawn, maybe an hour before dawn down through the valley and I was hoping, anyway, to
   find they were checking the weather out to wait for light to pick me up. About an hour later the
   little chopper showed up. He couldn't hack the wind. By this time I was getting kind of disgusted
   too. And I talked to the Jolly Greens again. They asked me how I was doing.

   I told them, except for the fact that I didn't have any water, I was in really good shape. Then they
   said the nearest water was about 5 miles away on a heading of 350 degrees. I felt like saying,
   'Thanks a lot, Jack'. It's a long, long way down there. But we discussed it a little bit and the only
   logical thing to do was to go down, down the slope and try to get to a place away from the wind,
   where it was flat enough that they could get in to me and at least drop a cable or, if they had to,
   put another man on the ground which they discussed on several different occasions. I started
   down, got below the point where I had initially had been by 200 feet and ran in to a 500 foot bluff.
   In fact, I nearly fell over it because of the undergrowth. I was staggering through there and
   couldn't see three feet ahead of me. I parted some bushes to see what was out there on my next
   step through the big open area. I almost got dizzy just looking over the edge of the thing in a
   startling manner.

   So I had to make about a five-mile walk out of the way along this thing, all the time I was looking for
    a way down. I lucked out here and got into a little water course, a little ravine, coming down the
   slope I was on. I figured it to have some water down there somewhere, and with a little searching
   around I found a little spring about the size of a bucket. That's where I got my first water; it was
   one of my highlights of the day.

   I pressed on, and it was about 11:30 in the morning. By the way, I can't say too much about this
   radio. It definitely saved me. There was no other way to do it, to stay in contact with them, that
   was effective for sure. Every hour on the hour we had a little radio contact, discussion on my
   condition, where I was, and what they were doing for me. The guys in the Crown aircraft that
   alternated between an HC-54 and an HC-130, taking shifts up there. They did a lot to keep my
   spirits up and keep me happy. They were giving me a running description of the effort that was
   going on, who was going to be here next, and even a couple of times what 2nd Air Division had to
   say about the situation. I knew everybody was looking out for me.

   About 11:30, I got down into a real steep ravine, there was a little flowing stream there, crashing
   on the rocks. It was filled with boulders, it was pretty tough going but it sure beat where I've been
   and there was a way down.

   This was the first time I used the rope to get down. It was actually a waterfall, about 30 feet high. I
   was down in a canyon, a very steep canyon. The walls were over 100 feet high there was just no
   way to get out of the thing without going back tracking several miles. So I had looped the rope
   around a tree. Did a little experimenting with how to get the thing around me to the best
   advantage and repelled down the waterfall. It was refreshing and cool besides being on the way
   down. This was the first time I used the rope and the only time I couldn't retrieve all of it. As I was
   pulling it down, pulling it around the tree the last couple of feet of it hung up above me and I had to
   sacrifice about 20 feet of it, cut it off with what I had.

   I pressed on down the stream. I've lost count of the number of times that I had to leave the stream

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 64 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                               Robert M. Krone
                                                F-105 History
   bed, walk over another ridge or something because of bluffs, waterfalls, places that I just couldn't
   get around. But I always kept coming back to the same old stream because it was the best place
   down and the farther down I went the more the water was running, which had cut a better channel.
   Things got better as I walked along.

   I know I keep coming back to this, but I cannot, I just can't find any way to describe what the stream
    was like. I fell down innumerable times. Once I saved myself from taking a real nasty fall over the
   edge of a little hill, catching hold of the last tree that was going by me. The SAR people made a
   big point several times, 'Be careful, don't take any chances', because they knew they couldn't get
   anybody to me if I really fell down and hurt myself.

   As far as their SAR procedures, there was somebody over me, as I said, from the time I went out.
   The Sandy's showed up 35 minutes after I was on the ground. The rescue helicopters were
   actually over me almost exactly an hour after I got on the ground. There was somebody there
   almost all of the time. The Sandys and the Jolly Greens had to leave every once in a while to go
   back for fuel. The A-1Es could stay in the area quite a long time. But the helicopters could only
   stay there about an hour. That was their max and they had to leave and go back.

   I was in contact with the Crown people all the time, except for a few hours during the night. I think
   they were probably in the area. Occasionally I would hear a recip job at pretty high altitude circling
    in general. So I imagine they were over there listening just in case I had to get hold of someone.


   Something I didn't find out about until last night actually. These guys made a dummy pickup, or a
   faked pickup. After they decided they couldn't get me, they moved off away from me a ways and
   went through the whole bit about hovering, dropping the sling down through the trees, picking it
   back up, going home and the jets went by waving their wings like this. This was strictly a sham, so
   that any bad guys on the ground, who saw me go in, they would think I was picked up and already
   out. They wouldn't come up there and pester me during the night. This might have had some
   effect. I know there were people pretty close at one time. But they apparently didn't make any
   effort to come find me so they may actually have thought I was gone. Somebody mentioned that
   this faked pickup, if anything else, convinced them that I wasn't there and they didn't throw any
   mortar rounds at me during the night. I don't know, it sounds kind of wild, maybe, and if it worked I
   sure am glad.

   As I said, I had radio contact every hour, sometimes every half hour, during the day. The Crown
   people stayed over there, gave me advice, asked for a running commentary on where I was and
   what I was doing. Along in the afternoon, they told me if I could get down to this flat valley that this
    stream I was in, was leading into, I could probably get picked up. Or, if worse came to worse they
   could either put a man on the ground with me or at least kick out a pack to me, one that I could
   find. By this time I was already, I figure, about 5 or 6 miles inside the North Vietnamese border
   and going farther every step.

   A couple of times I got kind of tired of it all. I wanted to sit down and rest. But, I had no intention of
    spending another night up there if I could help it. So I kept pressing on down through this
   streambed. Eventually the traveling got fairly good, except for the rocks. I don't know how many
   times I fell down on moss and things like that. I never really was hurt, outside of a couple of
   sprained fingers.

   About 3 o'clock, 15:00, I was supposed to make another radio contact. A few minutes before then,
    ahead of me, I could see what looked like the first generally open area that I had come across in
   the 15 miles of walking. So I held off on the radio call, pressed on, and then called them about 10
   minutes late. I found this clearing; it was a good-sized clearing over this stream. There were no

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 65 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                               Robert M. Krone
                                                F-105 History
   trees within a hundred feet of me, except for a few overhanging branches way up high. There was
    a great big rock about 20 feet high right in the middle of the thing. I was able to get up on to. It
   was a good place to lay down, I appreciated. I rested a little while and I talked to them.

   I had actually traveled a lot farther then I thought I had. I was about four miles farther east than
   they thought I was. I called them – 'Come on over east' – they moved over. They said, 'OK we're
   two miles further east then we were'. I said, 'Good, come two more'. They were ginning over in
   that direction. Right at first I heard one of the Sandys go by. I said, 'OK, there's one close to me
   right now, I can't see them'. So they started ginning around the general area. I finally spotted
   Sandy 31. He was over the wrong clearing. I kept telling him. He was in a left orbit over this
   clearing. The only time I could see him was when I was in his 3 o'clock position, the opposite wing.
     He is circling left and he can't see to the right. I said, 'OK, turn right, turn right'. By the time he
   gets the message, his radio, for some reason, wasn't picking mine up. Trying to relay it and be in
   the wrong place again. He would go back and circle the same area and finally got the general
   idea. He came over and found my general area, circled quite a while. He never actually spotted
   me. But, I told him he was over me. He knew where I was then. They said there will be a
   helicopter here in about 15 minutes. I heard the chopper coming in and was real glad to hear him
   coming. I talked him in pretty close. He passed over me once. I got to spot him as he went by. I
   said, 'OK you passed me, come on back'. He circled around, made several passes around the
   general area. I don't know how many. I finally got him talked in real close and he finally spotted
   the stream. I was under the impression the whole time that these guys could see the stream I was
   in. There was a lot of water running there by then. They kept saying, 'OK, We see the water'. But
    the only problem was there were so many trees over the stream I was in that they didn't see that
   one; they saw the next one over the next ridge. So they finally saw the little ravine I was in. He
   was up above me, coming down, he just passed me and he wasn't 300 feet above me. They
   spotted the opening I was in. They circled it twice but they could not see me and I didn't stand out
   that much. I had a mirror; I hit the chopper once pretty well with the flash and one of the crewmen,
    hanging out the door, spotted it, didn't have the exact position, but he knew pretty well where I
   was. So he could talk to his pilot and get him in real close. I popped the LPU and waived him and
   immediately, really immediately, they saw me.

   They made one pass, trying to go uphill, to hover, couldn't hack the wind, played around a bit and
   got over me again. The guy said, 'OK, now I can't see you, you talk to me and tell me how to move
    in here'. I was telling him 4 feet right, 10 feet forward and things like that. So he got directly over
   me and I was there for about 15 seconds. I got a sinking feeling that they weren't going to try to
   get me out and they were going to toss out a bundle. By this time, I didn't want a bundle. Then
   they started this big yellow canopy down on the end of a cable. Boy, I was happy to see that.

   Oh, I forgot. I was using my .38, to people in the area, firing tracers. Nobody ever saw it. I
   jammed the .38 back in the holster. I'll swear I put the thing shut. Evidently I didn't. I know I had it
   when I started up the sling but I didn't have it when I got out of the helicopter at Nakon Phanom. I
   guess it fell out. I was getting swung around pretty violently by the blast from the chopper blades
   and it must have fallen out.

   Anyway, they got the thing down to me. They told me they had 240 feet of cable on the thing.
   They must have been 235 feet above me because the cable was just barely long enough. They
   dropped it to almost 5 feet from me and I was standing on this edge of the 20-foot rock and I
   couldn't reach it. And, from where they were, they thought it was flat and they waved me over to
   take hold of it. I was waving them back towards me; I wasn't going to jump and try to grab it. It
   must have been 10 or 15 seconds that they sat up there at the door waving me towards the thing
   and I kept shaking my head no and waving them back.

   They finally got the message, pulled the thing back and then when they banged it off the rocks it
   actually went passed me, pulled up a few feet and put it right in my hands. I grabbed the seat
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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 66 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                               Robert M. Krone
                                                F-105 History
   down, unzipped the thing, sat down, pulled the strap out, put it around myself, clipped it and
   looked up at them. By that time I was airborne. It was a pretty wild ride really. They were having a
    tough time in the wind. They would bobble around a little bit. I got hit by a branch at the last of
   the top of the tree. They almost crammed me into the bottom of the helicopter pulling me up
   because it twisted the wrong way at the last second. I came within six inches of hitting the bottom
   of this thing and they swung it out away from the chopper and pulled it up real quick while I was on
   the outside swing and swung back right into the door, beautiful!

   They grabbed me and pulled me inside. I think I got some of my bruises from the pounding that
   the two crewmen gave me on the back when I got in the chopper. They dragged me away from
   the door.

   One of the things that I learned at Stead was don't try to help them. Just hold on to the darned
   thing and they'll get you inside and get you clear of the door until you're safe and won't fall back
   out. Then you can move on your own. Otherwise, stay right in the rescue device and don't move
   around.

   They dragged me away from the doors. I got up. You'd be amazed how shaky I suddenly was. I
   felt read good all the time I was on the ground, but as soon as I was safe I thought I was going to
   collapse right there on the spot. I sat down, pulled off some of my stinky old gear that by this time
   smelled of jungle rot, sweat and stuff like that. The guy handed me a ten-ounce medicine bottle
   full of something. I'm not sure, it said whiskey on it. It was the smoothest stuff I've ever saw. I
   drank all but an ounce of it in one gulp. It went down as smooth as could be.

   He talked to me for a second. Asked me if I was hurting any place except my head. I said no.
   They peeled the bandage off. It was the second bandage I had put on, by the way. I had
   changed the dressing on the thing, poured a couple ounces of Merthiolate into it, while I was
   traveling. They took it off, looked at it, cleaned it up real well. It started bleeding a little bit, but
   they put a new bandage on it. Gave me a little water, I drank some water, took some more salt
   tablets because I suddenly had a craving for salt. They gave me a little damp cloth to sort of wipe
   off my face with. That was real good. About that time, they told me, I was already pretty well sure
   that though I hadn't said anything to anybody, they told me definitely that I had walked across the
   line into North Vietnam. It seemed a little ironic, but it was the only way down that mountain.

   I was going home. I walked up to the cockpit, shook hands with the pilot and co-pilot, told them
   how good it was to see them. They told me it was awfully good to finally get me out of there
   because they were tired of running back and forth trying to find me. I went back and sat down
   again. I hadn't been hungry, really hungry, the whole time I was walking. But suddenly I was just
   ravenously hungry. But I couldn't face any more jelly bars out of the C rations. They had about a
   half a can of shoe-string potatoes, which I devoured on the spot. I felt pretty good then. I just
   relaxed, really took it easy. They headed back.

   The one kind of bad note of the whole thing was at 15 minutes after I was completely safe and
   everything in the world was rosy, Captain Bob Bush got shot down and they heard about it. [Capt
   Robert Edward "Bob" Bush, 421 TFS, KIA] They told me that Walnut Lead had just gone in. I
   didn't know who it was at the time. That was too bad, I really felt bad about that, because they got
   me out, and I was completely unhurt, and was on my way back.

   They took me to Nakhon Phanom. I climbed out of the helicopter and there must have been 40
   people there. The whole complement of the base, I think. Congratulations all around, answered a
    few questions about their rescue effort. I was surprised at these guys -- there were things that
   they were asking me I thought they should have had the answers to. I'm sure that they learned a
   couple of things out of this as far as the terrain over there. I don't know if they ever picked

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 67 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                              Robert M. Krone
                                               F-105 History
   anybody up in that particular area or not before. They were pretty well amazed at that.

   The chopper crew -- I talked to them for about 10 minutes. The same guys that picked me up
   were the same guys that had gotten there first the night before and kicked out the basket at me.
   They were really a cool crew. They did the job really well.

   I was so tired and beaten by that time, I didn't get their names and I've got to find out who they are
   and send them a letter. They were number one!

   They took me to the dispensary, cleaned up the wound a little more, dressed it a little better and
   talked about putting some sutures in it. They gave me a mirror and I looked at it about the fourth
   time that I had actually seen it and it was worse than before, swollen. He said there was no
   possible chance to making the thing match up so just leave it alone. He cleaned it up a little more
   and put a real tight pressure bandage on it. I washed up a little bit.

   Went over and had a roast beef, French fries, salad, some tea. That was about the best meal I'd
   ever eaten. The co-pilot out of the chopper took me over to the officer's quarters. I showered up,
   got all the grime and smell off of me. He gave me some of his own clothes to wear.

   They bundled me out to an A-1E, in fact it was Sandy 31, the same guy who pretty well found me.
   Took off for Udorn. He asked me if I wanted to fly, from the back. Man, I couldn't have flown a kite
   by that time – no thanks, go ahead! I nearly fell asleep in the bird. I was pretty drowsy and really
   worn out.

   When we got to Udorn, for the ... Lord I lost count ... for the umpty-umpth time they put a new
   bandage on my head. Every flight surgeon I ran into -- a new bandage. I think they just wanted to
   see what it was like underneath.

   They took me over to ... it wasn't TACC ... it was some sort of intelligence group over there, ultra
   hush and they grilled me for two hours. They had a list of questions that were unbelievable, things
    that I hadn't even been concerned with or thought about. They recorded it all, wrote all the
   answers down. They were particularly interested in these people I heard over on the ridge. They
   asked me if I heard about any friendlies in the area. It was a relatively safe position. Yes,
   supposed to be guys in there with khaki uniforms, white armbands and red berets. As far as I'm
   concerned, anybody can wear a khaki uniform, a white armband, and a red beret. He laughed,
   and it was a sort of laugh that sort of gave the impression that somebody else had already gotten
   shot at or in trouble because of it. I wouldn't advise, from the impression he gave me, anybody
   taking this too literally. Anybody over there would have a pretty good chance they would not be
   the right guys they run into.

   That was about it. I drank three Pepsi Colas, I think, because I was still pretty well dehydrated.
   Staggered over to the Q, and passed out for eight hours. Got up the next morning, and there was
   Smiling Jack Bailey right there at the door. He told me he was headed on home. I assume I had a
   few hours. I got the Gooney Bird out of Udorn and flew back to Nakhon Phanom, just long
   enough to let four people jump out and took off again. I got home, climbed down, and sprayed
   Champagne all over the Colonel.

   The taped interview continued for another 30 minutes. It was recorded on one side of a second
   tape. During this part of the interview, the group discussed with Lt Thomas the performance of his
    survival equipment. Thomas described in detail how he used each item in his equipment pack.
   Some equipment, such as radios and his boots were vital in his successful evasion and rescue.
   Other equipment such as his single pair of gloves didn't withstand the rigors of his evasion. He
   also discussed what he had learned during his survival courses, none of which was on jungle

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 68 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                     Robert M. Krone
                                                      F-105 History
   survival. He attributed his successful evasion to his upbringing. "I was better off with my ole farm
   boy intuition and knowledge of outdoors than any training I had. I wasn't the least bit worried
   about being out there by myself. I knew I could hack it. ... They asked me up at Udorn that if I had
   one word of wisdom to say to anybody, what would it be? ... Stay calm and use your head,
   particularly use your head. ... Quite a walk!

   469 TFS Oral History Interview tape, AFHRA Call # K239.0512-1154 REEL 5, IRIS # 1032687. Transcribed by
        John J. Revak.
 04-Apr-66
   "Oak" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, Korat RTAFB, Thailand, flew a "Buddy Bombing"
   pathfinder mission with "Elm" flight also from Korat, and "Dallas" flight, four F-4Cs from the 8 TFW
   at Ubon. The four F-105s in "Oak" flight left Korat at 06:10 and at 06:40 all three flights refueled
   from "Red Anchor 20, 21, and 22". The F-105s carried two 3,000-lb bombs, which they dropped
   on Mu Gia Pass. The flight lineup was:

   #1 - Capt John A. McCurdy flying 60-0414
   #2 - 1Lt Nicholas A. Pool flying 62-4326
   #3 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 62-4409 on his 72nd mission
   #4 - Capt Gordon E. Lewis flying 59-1749
   Spare - Capt Fred H. de Jong in 61-0120
        Maj Robert M. Krone's mission card dated 4 Apr 66 in the Archives of the National Museum of the United States
        Air Force.
 06-Apr-66
   "Beech" flight from the 469 TFS, 6234 TFW, Korat RTAFB, Thailand, flew an armed recce mission
   into RP-1, North Vietnam. The flight took off at 12:40 and at 12:55 refueled from White Anchor 32
   at 17,000 feet. Each plane carried two 3,000-lb bombs. Their TOT was 13:45. The lineup was:

   #1 - Capt Gordon E. Lewis flying 59-1749
   #2 - 1Lt Nicholas A. Pool flying 61-0120
   #3 - Capt John A. McCurdy flying 62-4409
   #4 - 1Lt Kenneth D. Thomas flying 62-4300
   #5 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 62-4395 with a camera pod on his 73rd mission.

   They struck their primary target, a barracks and storage area near a reservoir at 17-12-13N and
   106-42-47E, about 16 NM south of Dong Hoi, RP-1. With his camera pod, Maj Krone shot photos
   of the target area.
        Maj Robert M. Krone's mission card dated 6 Apr 66 in the Archives of the National Museum of the United States
        Air Force.
 15-Apr-66
   "Locust" flight from the 469 TFS, 388 TFW, bombed a truck park in RP-1 at location 17-35N and
   106-19E 15 nautical miles west of Dong Hoi, North Vietnam. The flight lineup was:

    #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone on his 74th mission to North Vietnam (97th combat mission) flying F-
   105D 61-0051
    #2 - 1Lt Kenneth Deane Thomas, Jr. flying 61-0068
    #3 - Capt Steven Roy Sanders flying 59-1739
    #4 - 1Lt Jerry Donald Driscoll flying 62-4326

   The flight took off at 06:10 with the planes carrying five 750-pound bombs. During the mission,
   the flight received 37-mm flak and Lt Thomas accidentally jettisoned his multiple ejector rack.


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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 69 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                    Robert M. Krone
                                                     F-105 History
   Later in the day, Maj Krone wrote a letter to his wife.

   "Another sad day of the 469th. John McCurdy was killed with a bad engine and a load of
   weapons. We can't figure out why he didn't jettison the ordnance -- or do almost anything but
   what he did -- land too heavy, too fast. Perhaps his previous ejection had something to do with it,
   but we have lost a fine man and a fine pilot.

   "Gordie Graham [Maj Gen Gordon M. Graham] arrives at 07:30 tomorrow for a visit. When I heard
    he was due, I asked Col Sams if Gen Graham could present me my DFC and he has set it up. It
   was to be presented by the vice chief of staff on his visit later in April. I would much rather have
   Gordie do it and I suspect he will be pleased to make the presentation. The rumor is that he will
   be taking over Gen Myer's job at 7th Air Force (recently renamed from 2nd Air Division -- Saigon)
   and Gen Dinghy Dunham [ BG William Douglas Dunham] will come to Thailand as Deputy
   Commander for Thailand. I don't feel very newsy. It's days like this that makes us all wish the
   whole business was over. I know you do, too. June can't come too soon."


        Combat mission cards of Maj Robert M. Krone in Archives of the National Museum of the United States Air Force,
        Accession Number AR.2007.032 & letter dated 15 April 1966.
 17-Apr-66
   Three F-105Ds and an F-4C in "Bamboo" flight from the 469 TFS, 388 TFW, went hunting for a
   SAM site with an F-100F Wild Weasel carrying an AGM-45 Shrike missile. This was one of the first
   times that the F-100F Wild Weasels had carried a Shrike into combat. The flight lineup was:

   #1 - Capt Anthony J. "Tony" Gangol flying 62-4409
   #2 - An F-100F flown by Maj Marion A. Tuttle (WW #125) and EWO Capt John H. Elmer (WW
   #111)
   #3 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 61-0126 on his 76th mission (99 total missions).
   #4 - Capt Gordon E. Lewis flying 60-0422
   #5 - An F-4C carrying a camera pod piloted by Capt James V. "Jim" Meyers..
   F-105 Spare - 1Lt Nicholas A. Pool in 59-1768

   The flight took off from Korat at 07:35 and at 08:05 refueled from Red Anchor 21 at 13,000 feet.
   It's time-over-target was 08:45. Their primary targets were three SAM sites in RP-2 south of Vinh:


   VN-F-75 at 18-27N and 105-42E
   VN-F-76 at 18-22N and 105-51E
   VN-F-77 at 18-18N and 105-38E

   The flight encountered thunderstorms, which prevented them from reaching any of the SAM sites.
    "... Milled around trying to get in. Went to RP-I and hit same target as yesterday [a storage area
   at 17-14N and 106-41E].

   Maj Krone's letter home today highlighted mission counts and arrivals of new pilots in the
   squadron.

   "... The counters have started up again and I have had three in a row so the count is now 76/99.
   Hopefully by the 28th of April (when and if I go to Australia) I can have around 85 plus or minus 3.
   We now have seven people in the 90s and Chastain flew 95 today.

   "New pilots are coming in fast and we now have seven lieutenants. Another Captain, Mike Steen,
   came in yesterday from Billings. It's good to see some experienced pilots arriving along with the
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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 70 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                    Robert M. Krone
                                                     F-105 History
   Lieutenants.

   "Chastain [Capt Robert L. Chastain] had a hair-raising flight on the 15th. He was hit by two 37-mm
    shells. One came completely through the nose into the cockpit and set his maps on fire and the
   other put a big hole in the tail. He flew it over 300 miles on a 'wing and a prayer' and landed
   safely. We're going to put him in for the Silver Star for this one.

   "Dick Mitchell (421st now) [Capt James R. Mitchell] had a tremendously successful mission today
   and you will probably hear some publicity on it."
        Combat mission cards of Maj Robert M. Krone in Archives of the National Museum of the United States Air Force,
        Accession Number AR.2007.032 & Bob Krone letter dated 17 April 66 - Korat.
 19-Apr-66
   "Walnut" flight from the 469 TFS, 388 TFW, took off at 13:45 to meet a TOT of 15:15 for a target
   at location 21-22N and 104-18E, 14 nautical miles east of Sam Neua, Laos. The flight lineup was:


   #1 - Capt John Edward "Jack" Bailey flying 60-0442
   #2 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 62-4335 on his 101st mission (77 counters).
   #3 - Capt Glenn E. "Wally" Belew flying 62-4340 (the spare aircraft after 59-1737 aborted.)
   #4 - Capt Harold C. Perkins flying 61-0068
   Spare - 1Lt Thomas A. Gibbs

   At 14:15, the flight refueled from "Green Anchor 41" at 20,000 feet. "Flew via Luang Prabang to
   Sam Neua and bombed karst."

   In today's letter home, Maj Krone discussed mission counts and again commented on the new
   lieutenants in the squadron.

   "The dry period changed on April 15 and I had four counters in a row then a no-counter today and
    the total stands at 77/101. It is kind of a moral victory to be over the 100 mark even if it no longer
    has anything to do with the length of the tour.

   "Our big problem is getting the new pilots adequately supervised on their first missions. We had
   two more Lieutenants arrive today, which makes a total of nine in the squadron. I haven't seen so
   many lieutenants since we were in training. Chastain is still leading the pack with 96 and there are
    several more (Jones, Steen, Belew, Millner, Lewis, and Secker) now in the low 90s. Cooper has
   84 and I feel sure he is planning to press right on through. He has kind of thrown up his hands
   about the 'old squadron' disintegrating and doesn't even want to fly with the new pilots until they
   get around 15 missions. It's probably just as well because Coop is notoriously inconsiderate of
   wingmen (he always flies lead) and usually brings back somebody on minimum fuel. Steve
   Sanders and Driscoll are the only two of the original group with less missions than I have. Steve is
    now on his second two-week leave in Hawaii with his family (It's nice for him) and also good to
   have an experienced pilot around for two weeks and Driscoll was DNIF for quite a while with back
   troubles.

   "If I don't go to Australia at the end of the month, I will take another R and R and perhaps take the
   train to Kuala Lumpur. I am just about on schedule for missions to leave early in June. I should
   have 82 or 83 before the next trip, then be able to pick up 15 in May and the rest in June.

   "... The DFC presentation with Col Graham went well. I was the only officer receiving the medal as
    Col Sams was saving the rest until the Vice Chief of Staff's visit next week. General Graham was
   pleased to make the presentation."

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 71 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                     Robert M. Krone
                                                      F-105 History
        Maj Robert M. Krone's mission card dated 19 Apr 66 in the Archives of the National Museum of the United States
        Air Force & Bob Krone, letter, Korat, 19 April 1966.
 20-Apr-66
   In his letter home today, Maj Robert M. Krone, 469 TFS Operations Officer, discussed events at
   Korat.

   "Captain Abernathy in the 421st [Capt John B. Abernathy, 421 TFS] went down today and was
   picked up within an hour. It was a strange coincidence. He bailed out at McConnell about a year
   ago when he ran into a helicopter. He got some minor burns on his face then. The same thing
   happened today and the same airman who packed his chute at McConnell is now here and
   packed this one, too.

   "Yesterday, a Lieutenant from Takhli went down and was not picked up. [1Lt Lee Aaron "Larry"
   Adams, 333 TFS, KIA].]

   "People here are beginning to talk about going home. We still have only two assignments --
   Chastain to Nellis (who asked Dinghy Dunham to change it to McConnell) and Secker to Seymour
   Johnson (who is also trying to get it changed to somewhere else). The more people who arrive
   and the more counters we get, the '100-mission fever' gets stronger.

   "We have another 'really big shew' for tomorrow but suspect the weather will cancel it out as it has
   for some time."

        Bob Krone, letter, Korat, 20 April 1966.
 21-Apr-66
   "Thunderchief pilots reported hitting the Lang Bun (JCS 18.27) and Phu Tho railroad bridges on
   the Red River Valley line northwest of Hanoi.

   "Thunderchief pilot [from the 421 TFS] Capt Stephen G. Huisenfeldt, 32, said, 'I walked my bombs
   across the south span and approach of the [Lang Bun] bridge, and other pilots in my flight also hit
   the target.'

   "About 25 minutes after the first attack, Capt James R. Mitchell, 36, [from the 421 TFS] led another
    F-105 flight against the bridge. Following this attack, Mitchell reported the south span of the
   bridge down and the rail line cratered.

   "Maj James L. Jones, 34, [from the 469 TFS] led ... ["Pecan"] flight against the Phu Tho bridge [BE
    616-01099 at coordinates 21-24N and 105-14E, 41 nautical miles NW of Hanoi] and said his flight
    scored eight direct hits on the target. Dust from exploding bombs hid the target, but he estimated
    that the bridge was knocked down." (Republic Thunderchief Report)

   The 388 TFW at Korat sent five flights against the two bridges:

   "Walnut" flight took off at 12:35
   "Cactus" flight took off at 12:37
   "Bamboo" flight took off at 12:39
   "Oak" flight took off at 12:50
   "Pecan" flight took off at 12:52

   The strike force was supported by "Pluto", a flight of F-4Cs on MIG CAP and two EB-66s in "Finch"
   flight.

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 72 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                             Robert M. Krone
                                              F-105 History
   Maj Robert M. Krone, the 469 TFS Operations Officer, led "Oak" flight and was the mission
   commander against the Phu Tho Bridge. The planes carried five 750-pound bombs with fuze
   delays of .025-seconds. The flight lineup was:

   #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 62-4409 on his 102nd combat mission (78 counters).
   #2 - 1Lt Thomas A. Gibbs flying 60-0428
   #3 - Capt Anthony J. "Tony" Gangol flying 58-1165
   #4 - 1Lt Kenneth Deane Thomas, Jr. flying 62-4316
   Spare - Capt Fred H. de Jong in 62-4300

   The flight took off at 12:50 and at 13:15 refueled from Blue Anchor 50 and 51 at 20,000 feet.
   Their time-over-target was 14:15. Their primary target had been the Bac Giang Bridge (JCS
   18.23) but after receiving the code word "Onion", they went to the Phu Tho bridge as their first
   alternate. During the mission, they also strafed a warehouse at Nghia Lo. (Krone mission card)

   Maj Jones from the 469th led "Pecan" flight against the Phu Tho Bridge. His flight lineup was:

   #1 - Maj James L. Jones
   #2 - ???
   #3 - Capt Glenn E. "Wally" Belew
   #4 - 1Lt Ross A. Moon
   Spare - Capt Gordon E. Lewis (Krone mission card)

   In his letter home after the day's mission, Bob Krone reported on events at Korat.

   "This was one of the good days when everything went beautifully. It's nice to have them
   occasionally. The weather up north is slowly getting better, which makes our job much easier and
   much safer. Today I was mission commander on a large strike and it went like clockwork.
   Everyone did fine and returned safely and we all had a festive beer call at the bar to celebrate."

   On the next day, 22 April 1966, Korat again went to the Phu Tho Bridge but the strike force wasn't
   as lucky since Capt Charles Graham Boyd from the 421 TFS was hit by a SAM on his 106th
   mission and became a POW.

   Maj Krone's letter continued. "The word was in today that my second DFC was approved and
   General Blanchard (Vice Chief of Staff) will present it on Saturday. This makes a touchy situation
   as Coop's last two DFCs were disapproved. They were well deserved but General Myers told Col
   Sams that he thought 'one DFC was enough for anybody' since he went through World War Two
   and got only one. These people in Saigon have no real conception of the war in the north and
   don't seem to be going out of their way to find out. We are now rewriting a DFC for Coop's
   mission when he got the big hole in his wing. The wing here is also planning to submit Coop for
   the Cheney Trophy, one of the civilian awards for outstanding airmanship.

   "Jimmy Jones and I have evidently made the 'Korat Elite' now. Col Sams called down for us to
   have lunch with him and Col McCling, the DM, followed by a putting match on the 18th hole putting
    course, which has been the Colonel's pride and joy. Sams is a funny little man with a 'Napoleon
   complex'. We lunched in his trailer then played 18 holes to a draw and 18 more holes to play off a
    tie. Jimmy and I won (which may not have been too smart) by 5 strokes. Another pet project of
   Col Sams has been the crew conditioning facility, which is really quite nice. It has an exercise
   room, steam bath, masseuse, and barber. I had a steam bath followed by a cold shower tonight.

   "It has been fairly conclusively proved that Col Risner is the U.S. camp commander at the POW
   compound in Hanoi. I am sure this is sensitive information as the Viet Cong has never admitted

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 73 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                    Robert M. Krone
                                                     F-105 History
   officially that anyone was a captive."


        Republic's Thunderchief Worldwide Report Vol. 1 No 9 May 1, 1966 & Maj Robert M. Krone's mission card dated
        21 Apr 66 & 66 Bob Krone, letter, 21 April 1966 Korat.
 23-Apr-66
   After several days of weather aborts against this target, F-105s bombed the Bac Giang bridge
   (JCS 18.23) for the first time. This bridge was the largest of four key bridges on the northeast
   Hanoi-Dong Dang rail line that were designated by the JCS. The bridge " ... possessed four steel
   trusses resting on three concrete piers and abutments, two center swing spans, each thirty-nine
   feet in length, and two road lanes and one rail line." There was a pontoon bypass bridge and a
   ferry crossing over the Song Thuong upstream from the Bac Giang bridge.

   Four flights of F-105Ds from the 388 TFW attacked the bridge. The flights were:
   "Bamboo" taking off at 12:45
   "Oak" taking off at 12:47
   "Pecan" taking off at 12:50
   "Walnut" taking off at 12:52

   Maj William E. "Bill" Sanders, "Bamboo 01", from the 421 TFS, 388 TFW, was Mission
   Commander. Two pilots from the 421 TFS, Maj Bernard J. Goss "Pecan 01" and Capt Robert R.
   Dyczkowski, "Oak 02", were shot down by AAA and were KIA.

   The four F-105Ds in "Walnut" flight from the 469 TFS carried five 750-pound bombs and air
   refueled at 13:15 from "Orange Anchor 50/51/52" at 20,000 feet. The flight lineup was:

   #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone on his 79th combat mission (103 total) flying 62-4334
   #2 - Capt Carl S. Hicks flying 61-0202
   #3 - Capt Albert C. Vollmer flying 62-4325
   #4 - 1Lt Ronald Nels Running flying 62-4326 (Bob Krone's mission card for 23 Apr 66)

   After dropping their bombs on the bridge, "Walnut" flight encountered three MiG-17s. The time
   was 15:32 hours. "After attacking the target, [the] flight, which was the last of 3 or 4 strike flights,
   turned north to evade heavy 37-mm, 57-mm, and 85-mm flak from the Kep area. During this
   maneuver, #2 [Capt Hicks] became separated from the flight. Number 2 was heading 290 degrees
    about 55 miles NW of the target when he observed 3 MiG-17s at 3 o'clock on a reciprocal
   heading. Two of the MiGs made a 180-degree turn and gave chase firing on #2. Although the
   MiGs chased him for 20 miles, #2 successfully evaded by using cloud cover and low altitude.
   Number 2 did not use afterburner. During the chase, #2 informed the rest of the flight of the
   situation, but #4 did not hear the transmission."

   "The remaining 3 aircraft of the flight turned west for the Red River and the turning point south.
   Number 2 rendezvoused with the rest of the flight on the west-bound leg but by that time the MiGs
   had broken off."

   However, F-4Cs in "Dayton" flight from the 555 TFS, 8 TFW, flying MIGCAP for the F-105s,
   engaged four MiG-17s that were trying to intercept the F-105 bombers and shot down two of them.
    "Dayton 03", Capt Max F. Cameron and 1Lt Robert E. Evans, were credited with one of the MiG-
   17 kills. "Dayton 04", Capt Robert E. Blake and 1Lt S. W. George, received credit for the second
   MiG-17.

   The MiG encounters were the beginning of more aggressive use of MiGs in countering U.S.
   strikes. "The first clash between U.S. aircraft and the new high-performance MiG-21s took place
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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 74 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                    Robert M. Krone
                                                     F-105 History
   on 23 April and raised the prospect of an intensified air war. From 23 April through 12 May the
   MiG force actively and aggressively engaged U.S. forces. Their tactics suggested that support
   aircraft were their prime targets. All engagements took place at altitudes of 10,000 feet and
   above. The support forces, primarily ELINT/ECM aircraft, were well protected by F-4C MIGCAP
   aircraft, however, and the MiG tactics resulted in USAF destroying five MiG-17s and one MiG-21.
   No aggressive enemy air action was encountered for about a month, with Hanoi apparently using
   this period to continue extensive GCI training when no U.S. aircraft were in the area."

   "F-105 Thunderchiefs struck the powerfully-built structures with heavy bombs April 24, 26, 29 and
   May 5." (http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/history/vietnam/469th/)


        "Gradual Failure: The Air War over North Vietnam: 1965 - 1966", pgs 257 and 273 & Red Baron Report, Event II-
        11, pg 56 & Project CHECO, Rolling Thunder, July 1965 - December 1966, pg 117.
 24-Apr-66
   Capt Robert L. Chastain from the 469 TFS, 388 TFW, flying F-105D 61-0069 on his 100th mission
    over North Vietnam, led this morning's "Willow" flight with squadron Operations Officer Maj Robert
   M. Krone as #2 flying 62-4300 on his 80th mission, and 1Lt James Edwin Ray flying 62-4316 as
   #3. The flight took off at 07:00 and at 07:40 attacked the Dong Ca Thon highway bridge in RP-1.
   "Missed bridge. Heard beeper NE of Mu Gia. Flyby at Korat. 100 mission for Chastain."
        Bob Krone's 24 April 66 mission card.
 24-Apr-66
   For the second day in a row, F-105s from Korat attacked the Bac Giang bridge (JCS 18.23). In
   this afternoon strike the 388 TFW lost two more F-105s -- the mission commander, Lt Col William
   Earl Cooper commander of the 469 TFS, and 1Lt Jerry D. Driscoll, also from the 469 TFS.

   In a letter home, Maj Robert M. Krone, 469 TFS Operations Officer, described his squadron
   commander being shot down and his taking command of the squadron. "This surely will have to
   be the worst day of the tour. Cooper is gone - hit by a missile - and Lt Driscoll shot down - all in a
   matter of minutes.

   "The target was the same as the one we went after yesterday and so we have lost four pilots in
   two days. Cooper was the mission commander and pressed on when he should have aborted. He
    never did respect SAM's and Jimmy was calling for him to break down when he was hit. Jerry
   Driscoll bailed out OK but in an area where it was impossible to recover him. He will be joining
   Chuck Boyd, Bernie Goss and Col. Risner. The reverberations have only begun to start up in the
   chain of command. I'm sure we will now get some changes that should have come earlier. It
   always takes lives to convince people that something is wrong.

   "So now I am the squadron commander under pretty grim circumstances. You can imagine the
   morale of both squadrons at the moment. It's a horrible time for everyone but especially tough for
   the new pilots just arriving. Many of them have not flown their first combat mission. I feel certain
   that the missions will change tomorrow and that the pace will relax. Col. Sams, Gen Bond and
   Gen. Murphy are all going to Saigon tomorrow to thrash out the problem as to why we were
   fragged as we were.

   "The one and only bright spot today was that Chastain flew his 100th mission in the morning -
   before the big mission - and received the usual 469th welcome as he returned - fire engines,
   flares, champagne, and 100th mission patch. I flew with him and logged 80/104."

   "I won't be flying much for a while until I can straighten things out. I will put Jimmy as ops until
   something permanent can be arranged - probably with one of the new majors - as Jimmy now has

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 75 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                      Robert M. Krone
                                                       F-105 History
   95 missions. Jack Gaudion only has 80 but Col. Sams told me he would make Jack his personal
   aide if need be. ----- Coop died like he had lived - with his eyes on the target and disregarding
   everything else."


        Bob Krone, letter dated Sunday, 24 April 1966, on CD containing collection of his letters and other documents from
        his combat tour at Korat in 1965 - 66.
 29-Apr-66
   For the third time in April, twelve F-105s struck the Bac Giang Bridge (JCS 18.23) 25 miles NE of
   Hanoi. The attack damaged only one span of the bridge and cratered the southwest approach,
   requiring further attacks on this link in North Vietnam's north east rail line.

   A flight of four F-4Cs from the 555 TFS from Udorn flying MIGCAP north of the bridge encountered
   four MiG-17s. The crew in one of the F-4Cs shot down one MiG with a Sidewinder and another
   F-4C forced a second MiG to crash.

   Maj Robert M. Krone, the commander of the 469 TFS, flew on this day's attack of the bridge. It
   was his 84th mission over North Vietnam and his 107th combat mission during the war.

   "Both Korat and Takhli were fragged by 7th Air Force in Saigon for Bac Giang missions on 29 April
    1966. At Korat, Pecan flight was Major Krone, Captain Bailey, Major Gaudion, and Lt Running
   with Lt. Thomas as spare pilot. Elm flight was Captain de Jong, Lt Ray, Captain Campbell, Captain
    Stewart with Major Dutton as spare pilot.

   "All of our Thuds were loaded with a 3,000-pound bomb on each of the two inboard pylons. Any
   smaller bombs had little chance of doing serious damage to the Bac Giang Bridge. That load
   restricted the F-105's maneuverability and lowered the crusing altitude. Our Korat flights had a
   time on target of 15:15, just ten minutes after Dodge, Volvo, and Nash flights from Takhli that
   were scheduled at 15:05. The Takhli strike flights had a route north over Laos, across Thud
   Ridge (the mountains to the southwest of Hanoi) then into Bac Giang from the west.

   "Our two flights from Korat had a 13:25 take-off. Our route was over the Gulf of Tonkin to
   access the target from the East. Things began to go wrong on engine start. Bailey's F-105D was
    a ground abort and Ken Thomas filled-in. Immediately after take-off, Stew Stewart had an aircraft
    malfunction necessitating an air abort. Standard procedure was to have a chase plane return to
   base with an air abort. I told Ken Thomas to be a sympathy abort with Stewart while the Elm Spare
    Dutton took off to join us.

   "Pecan and Elm flights flew Northeast over Thailand, gave the "Crossing Mekong River" code
   transmission to our "Panama" controller, crossed Southern Laos and the Ho Chi Minh Trail, then
   took only a few minutes to transit Southern Vietnam to the Gulf of Tonkin 30 KM north of Hue.

   "Air refueling with KC-135 tankers occurred on all flights to the Hanoi area. On joining up with
   "Brown Track" tankers, our second failure occurred. Nels Running's refueling system would not
   function and he became the second air abort. Since he had no other problems, he returned
   alone.

   "That reduced us to six Thuds (the nickname for the F-105) heading north over the Gulf. To avoid
     the heavily defended Haiphong Harbor area, we had planned to fly 40 NM east of Haiphong over
   the Gulf to an island Initial Point (IP) just 35 NM south of the China border and directly east of Bac
     Giang. Here we lost two more Thuds from the mission. Jim Ray experienced an electrical failure
    and became the third air abort for the mission. Jim Dutton became his sympathetic abort for their
   trip back to Korat. Now we were a flight of four. I asked Fred de Jong to take the lead with Rock

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 76 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                    Robert M. Krone
                                                     F-105 History
   Campbell #2, Krone as Element lead, and Jack Gaudion as #4.

   "The 70 NM from the coast IP to Bac Giang on a 270 degree heading took less than eight minutes
   as Fred de Jong throttled up to 550K for the run to the target. We rolled into our dive bomb runs
   as Takhli's Dodge, Volvo, and Nash flights were pulling off. The AAA sites were filling the sky
   with exploding shells and flak. This time Bac Giang's southern portion went down. I wrote 'We Hit
   Bridge' on the back of my mission data card."

        "Gradual Failure: The Air War over North Vietnam: 1965 - 1966", pgs 257 and 274 & Red Baron Report, Event I-28,
         pg 185 & "Aces & Aerial Victories", pg 29 & Bob Krone "NORTH VIETNAM'S BAK GIANG BRIDGE", illustrated
        article attached to e-mail 11 Mar 05.
 01-May-66
   Maj Robert M. Krone, 469 TFS Commander, did not fly today but wrote a letter home in which he
   discussed the status of some of the squadron's pilots.

   "We had a second day of cancellations today, which gave everyone an opportunity to relax a bit.
   Bud Millner and Glen Belew left today, and Steve Sanders returned from two weeks in Hawaii to
   find a completely different squadron from the one he left. I have given him the scheduling job
   along with Carl Hicks. Fred de Jong and Gangol flew their #98 today. We should have the last big
    100 mission flight Tuesday with Coleman, Lewis, Gangol, and de Jong. Jimmy Jones is going to
   take a few days off in Kadena and when he returns, I plan to get a short break before he goes
   home the middle of May. Bob Chastain is collecting material for the book before leaving. He was
   planning to stay and write it for a week but once the realization hit him that he was through and
   could go home, he has decided to take it back with him. He may meet his wife, Pat, in California
   and spend a few days at Idyllwild talking to Dad about publishing the book. It's depressing to see
   all these fine people leave ahead of me. I wish I could be stepping on that plane tomorrow, too.
   I'm sure I will even be sorry to see Jack leave. For all his faults, I can't dislike Jack and even feel
   sorry for him and that things have turned out so poorly for him. He will be leading most of his last
   14 flights and will regain some of his old 'TAC Jack' self respect before he leaves. He's such a fine
    pilot -- it is too bad his other qualities work against him."

        Bob Krone, letter, May 1 1966, Korat.
 01-May-66
   Under Special Order G-352 dated 1 May 1966, Hq 7th Air Force awarded the Air Medal to 13
   pilots flying combat in Vietnam. "By Direction of the President, each of the following is awarded
   the Air Medal for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight. During the period
   indicated, outstanding airmanship and courage were exhibited in the successful accomplishment
   of important missions under extremely hazardous conditions. The highly professional efforts of
   each individual cited contributed materially to the mission of the United States Air Force in
   Southeast Asia."

   Four pilots on the order were from the 469 TFS, 388 TFW, at Korat. They were:

   Maj John J. Gaudion (3d and 4th OLC) 2 March 1965 to 28 January 1966.
   Maj Robert M. Krone (1st thru 3d OLC) 16 November 1965 to 10 March 1966.
   Maj Allan L. Parks (4th thru 7th OLC) 7 January 1965 to 23 March 1966.
   Capt Fred H. de Jong (4th thru 6th OLC) 12 January 1965 to 5 March 1966.
        Hq 7th Air Force Special Order G-352 dated 1 May 1966.
 04-May-66
   Maj Robert M. Krone, 469 TFS Commander, did not fly again today but wrote a letter home in
   which he discussed his actions in taking over the squadron since the loss of Lt Col Cooper on 24
   April 1966.

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 77 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                  Robert M. Krone
                                                   F-105 History

   "Yesterday and today I held my first 'Commander's Call'. The squadron is so large (160 airmen
   and 27 officers) I had to do it in two shifts. I dressed up in 1505s and felt very uncomfortable. I
   talked about the mission, showed some slides of various targets, got Dr. Dyke to give a pitch and
   announced a beer bust and gave a dissertation on drinking (Col Sams insisted that this be
   included). I couldn't hardly be against it so I was just against immoderation.

   "My time will now be taken up with all the nit-picky details of administering all these people. I made
    Rock Campbell the Operations Officer officially yesterday and turned it over to him completely
   with Steve Sanders as scheduling officer. I felt bad about moving out of my ops desk where
   everything goes on and slinking back to the commander's officer all by myself. Rock graduated
   from Stanford a year before I got out of USC. He played football (and looks like a rock) and was a
   dramatic major. He got an MA at [New] Mexico State U. and was ROTC instructor for four years.

   "We haven't turned a wheel since May first and only three total sorties then. My last flight was
   April 29th so I still stand at 83/107. Everyone is getting edgy. We get fragged every day and then
    cancel due to weather. We can't understand why we aren't getting alternate targets as Takhli has
    been flying about a third of their normal sorties rather than none. We have all these new people
   who need to get going plus Coleman, Lewis, and Gangol have been 99 for a week and de Jong
   98. It has helped me as I have had time to devote almost full time to getting my feet on the ground
    with the new organization, but I'm ready to press on also.

   " 'Across the Fence' is the call we make to the GCI stations in Thailand when we cross the Mekong
    River on a mission. Bob Chastain left today and I saw him off on a C-47 for Bangkok. I think he
   will see Dad on his way back. He said something to me the other day, which touched me, 'You're
   the ideal combination of guts and brains'. That was quite a compliment coming from him and I was
    truly sorry to see him leave -- as I have been all the old troops."


        Bob Krone, letter, May 4 1966, Korat.
 05-May-66
   On 5 May 1966, 24 F-105 pilots and a flight surgeon belonged to the 469 TFS in the 388 TFW at
   Korat RTAFB, Thailand. They were:

   1Lt James E. Ray                                  1Lt Ronald Nels Running
   1Lt Peter K. Foley                                 1Lt Thomas A. Gibbs
   Capt Carl S. Hicks                                Capt George A. Ball
   Capt Albert C. Vollmer                           Capt Anthony J. "Tony" Gangol
   Capt Robert L. Chastain                          Capt Fred H. de Jong
   Maj Robert M. Krone                              Capt "Combat Doc" Jim Dyke - Flight Surgeon

   1Lt Richard H. Hackford, Jr.                  Capt John J. "Jack" Gaudion
   Maj James L. Jones                              Capt Steven R. Sanders
   Capt Patrick V. Hughes                         Capt Gordon E. Lewis
   Capt John Edward "Jack" Bailey               Maj Don L. "Rock" Campbell
   Capt Mike Steen                                  Lt Col Robert E. Sizemore
   1Lt Kenneth Deane Thomas, Jr.                 Maj Richard Allen Dutton
   Capt "Stew" Steward                            1Lt Nicholas A. Pool
        www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/history/vietnam/469th/p3.htm
 06-May-66
   "Bamboo" flight from the 469 TFS, 388 TFW, took off at 13:32 to meet a TOT of 15:30. Their
   primary target was the Bac Giang Bridge but the weather in RP-6 was bad and so they received
   the code word "Parker" and went to their first alternate target, a bridge in RP-1 at location 17-16N
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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 78 of 87
 Albuquerque NM
                                                     Robert M. Krone
                                                      F-105 History
   and 106-47E. The flight lineup was:

   #1 - Capt Fred H. de Jong flying 59-1739 on his 100th mission.
   #2 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 62-4255 on his 108th mission (85 counters).
   #3 - Maj Richard Allen Dutton flying 62-4334
   #4 - 1Lt Ronald Nels Running flying 62-4328
   Spare - 1Lt James Edwin Ray in 60-0428

   In tonight's letter home, Maj Krone described yesterday's and today's events at Korat.

   "Lately life here has been either tragedy or celebration. The first makes the second all the more
   important. Yesterday Fred Coleman, Tony Gangol and Gordie Lewis flew their 100th mission and
   returned to the biggest and best reception we have had. Doc Dyke was leading the taxi-in with
   flares going, sirens blazing, and all of the squadron pilots leading the three of them in in the
   Datsuns. In a fitting fashion, Tony taxied all the way in with his canopy stuck closed and he was
   caught inside until they could pry it open. The champagne and the 100-mission patch flying suits
   are now traditional and Col Sams and Col Parsons were there.

   "The tragedy yesterday was the Ken Thomas went down for the second time in six weeks [1Lt
   Kenneth Dean Thomas, KIA]. He had a good parachute but went down 55 miles north of Hanoi --
   too far for the choppers to reach him. I have just written his wife and will send you a copy of the
   letter tomorrow.

   "Today I flew with Fred de Jong on his 100th mission. He led, as usual, for the last mission. We
   made a diamond flyby over Korat before landing and the reception was a gala one. The Doc had
   a big sign on the back of his ambulance, 'Welcome Home, Flying Dutchman' and Fred was really
   touched. Fred is the last of the old bunch with the exception of Jack, Steve Sanders, and I. It is
   great to see the guys finish but tough to see them go. The comparison between the 100-mission
   pilots and these new pilots is so apparent. I feel that my days of real enjoyable flying -- where you
   have complete confidence in every other man in the flight -- are now gone, and [in] every flight I
   will be worrying about the three other pilots who have not yet come up to speed.

   "The tragedy today was that Jim Lamar went down [Lt Col James Lasley Lamar, 421 TFS, POW].
   A good parachute but in a horrible area with no chance of getting picked up. I feel that in a few
   days we will be through this period of tough targets. The last two weeks have been grim but the
   end is in sight. Yesterday, Lamar had been lost leading two flights into a target and Jack Gaudion
   did a nice job of getting him straightened out. Jack then got hit in the left wing and ruptured a fuel
   line. He barely made it to a tanker over the Gulf and the tanker pumped fuel into him while the
   hole siphoned it out on the way to Da Nang.

   "I called McConnell tonight to tell Col McGough that Coleman, Lewis, and Gangol were finished.
   He was gone and I gave the message to Romaine. I couldn't hear her and gave the message to
   the operator at McConnell. I will do the same thing with you through Col Zemke. I can make an
   official call to him. I'm still hoping for about June 7th, but today was my first flight since April 29th.
   You might alert him for the call. We got through to Hill AFB for Fred de Jong today also."


        Robert M. Krone, mission card and letter, May 6, 1966, Korat.
 07-May-66
   Maj Robert M. Krone, 469 TFS commander, did not fly today but wrote a short letter home.

   "Jimmy Jones returned today and I am planning to take a couple of days off and go to Bangkok
   Monday (May 9).
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                                                 Robert M. Krone
                                                  F-105 History

   "Today they picked up a radio transmission from Jim Lamar. At least they think it is Jim.
   Tomorrow, a rescue effort will be set up to try and find him. He may have landed in a better spot
   than they thought at first.

   "No flying again today due to weather. The Bac Giang bridge is finally down. It will be as infamous
    as the Thanh Hoa bridge. The JCS pressure has lifted somewhat and we are returning to a
   normal schedule. It's quite a story and will make a good Hollywood movie some day."
       Bob Krone, letter, May 7 1966.
 08-May-66
   Two flights of F-105s, call signs "Pecan" and "Bamboo", from the 469 TFS, 388 TFW, struck the
   Cao Nung railroad bridge (JCS 18.24) at coordinates 21-33-25N and 106-29-55E. "Tulip" was the
   F-100F Iron Hand flight supporting the mission. Other flights were: 'Dodge", "Volvo", and "Edsel".


   "Pecan" flight took off from Korat at 12:55 and refueled from KC-135s Brown Anchor 62 and 63 at
   17,000 feet at 13:50. Their time over target was 14:50. Each plane carried two 3,000-lb bombs.
   The flight line up was:

   #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 62-4244 on his 88th combat mission over NVN (109 total missions)
   #2 - 1Lt Peter K. Foley flying 62-4328
   #3 - Capt Carl S. Hicks flying 59-1739
   #4 - Capt Martin William Steen flying 61-0187
   Spare - Capt Patrick V. Hughes

   Their post-strike refueling was with KC-135A "Brown Anchor 64" at 21,000 feet altitude.

   "Bamboo" flight took off from Korat at 12:57. The flight lineup was:
   #1 - Capt Steven R. Sanders
   #2 - 1Lt James Edwin Ray flying 62-4236 on his 13th mission
   #3 - Maj Richard A. Dutton
   #4 - 1Lt Thomas A. Gibbs
   Spare - 1Lt Ronald Nels Running

   Lt Ray was shot down by AAA and became a POW.

   Maj Krone earned his third Distinguished Flying Cross on this mission. "Major Robert M. Krone is
   awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism while participating in aerial flight as an F-105
   Pilot over North Vietnam on 8 May 1966. On that date, Major Krone was the leader of a flight of
   four F-105's striking a vital, heavily defended railroad bridge near Hanoi, North Vietnam. Despite
   adverse weather conditions, confirmed and accurate ground fire, and attack of opposing aircraft,
   Major Krone inflicted heavy damage on his assigned target with high explosive ordnance. The
   outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Major Krone reflect great credit
   upon himself and the United States Air Force."
       Bob Krone's mission card & Summary of 469 TFS Losses Nov 65 - May 66, undated, in Air Force Museum
       Archives & http://www.dfcsociety.org/citation_detail.asp?ID=1649.
 14-May-66
   "Dogwood" flight from the 469 TFS, 388 TFW, took off from Korat at 14:30 to meet a TOT of
   15:45. It was an Iron Hand mission with three F-105Ds and an F-100F carrying an AGM-45 Shrike
    anti-radiation missile. At 14:55, the flight refueled from Orange Anchor 52 and 53 at 13,000 feet.
    The lineup was:

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                                                     Robert M. Krone
                                                      F-105 History
   #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying F-105D 60-0431 on his 112th mission (89 counters).
   #2 - Wild Weasel pilot 1Lt Daryl P. Olson and EWO Capt Richard E. Morgan flying F-100F 58-
   1232
   #3 - Capt Martin W. Steen flying 62-4325
   #4 - 1Lt Peter K. Foley flying 61-0160
   Spare - Capt William W. Raitt in 58-1164.

   On the back of his mission card, Maj Krone wrote, "Fired first Shrike missile at Firecan radar at 17-
   59N and 106-15E. Went into clouds before impact. Strafed truck."
        Maj Robert M. Krone's mission card dated 14 May 66.
 17-May-66
   The two-ship "Locust" flight from the 469 TFS, 388 TFW, left Korat at 14:05 for a time over target
   of 14:45. The planes carried two 3000-pound bombs and they struck their first alternate target in
   RP-1 at 17-23N and 106-37E. The flight lineup was:

   #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 60-0422 on his 113th mission (90 counters).
   #2 - Maj Ewald C. "Charles" Farwig flying 62-4253 on his 1st combat mission.
   Spare - Capt William W. Raitt in 61-0196

   In his letter home, Maj Krone told about his mission today.

   "I flew 90/113 today with Major Chuck Farwig. This was his first. Gad, I'm glad I don't have 99
   more to look forward to. He is 43 years old, was in during World War 2, then got out and ran his
   own flying school, then got recalled for Korea and flew 100 missions, and now has been sent here
   to do two years until retirement. I swear I don't understand Personnel policies. He was a plane
   officer at Itazuke when we were there. Campbell outranks him as he was just made major last year
    so he will be assistant Ops Officer.

   "Personnel sent out a message requesting fifty days leave to Randolph. If Gordie gets my
   assignment changed, it's liable to be something in TAC Headquarters or the Pentagon and they
   may not let me take leave as lots of people (like Phil) will be coming over here in July."

        Robert M. Krone, mission card and letter, May 17 1966, Korat.
 21-May-66
   Maj Robert M. Krone, 469 TFS commander, did not fly today but wrote two letters describing what
   was happening at Korat.

   His first letter was written at 03:30. "We are in another dry spell and haven't flown for three days.
   We continue to get up at these ridiculous hours and brief before 7th AF decides to cancel. The
   weather up north is lousy, perhaps the last real bad session of the season. I'm stuck at 90. Jack
   is 96 and Bill Ripley, 421st, has been trying for his 100th now for almost a week.

   In a later letter, Maj Krone mentioned other happenings at Korat. "Another day of weather aborts.


   "We have a terrific tape recorded during the mission that Dick Mitchell got a SAM site and Lt Ray
   was shot down. In the next two weeks, I hope to consolidated what tapes I have, record a copy for
   myself, and write a commander's report on the tour.

   "Just now 34 F-4Cs landed here after evacuating Da Nang during the civil turmoil. Things are
   getting out of hand evidently in the political situation. ..."
        Bob Krone, letters, 21 May 1966.
 23-May-66
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                                                    Robert M. Krone
                                                     F-105 History
   "F-105 pilots [from the 355 TFW and 388 TFW] attacked eight miles north of the Mu Gia Pass,
   destroying trucks, road segments, and targets of opportunity." (Republic Thunderchief Report)

   The day's original target was JCS 44, the Yen Bai Ordnance Depot (BE 616-0146) at location 21-
   42-32N and 104-52-58E. The two F-105 wings sent nearly 100 aircraft against this target but bad
   weather in North Vietnam caused them all to divert to targets around Mu Gia pass in northern
   Laos.

   Maj Robert M. Krone, 469 TFS commander, was one of the pilots striking these targets. He led
   "Walnut" flight that left Korat at 07:45 carrying 3,000-lb bombs. Thirty minutes later, they refueled
   from White Anchor 30 and 31 for a TOT of 09:10. However, they received the code word
   "Longshot" and went to their alternate target, an interdiction point at location 17-48-20N and 105-
   47-02E. The flight lineup was:

   #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 59-1737 on his 92nd combat mission (116 total).
   #2 - 1Lt Ross A. Moon flying 60-0414
   #3 - Maj Don L. "Rock" Campbell flying 60-0425
   #4 - Capt Clarence A. Stewart flying 60-0426
   Spare - 1Lt Ronald Nels Running in 61-0165

   In tonight's letter home, Maj Krone described events in the 469th during the last two days.

   "The dry spell was finally broken with two counters yesterday. I flew again today but it was a no-
   counter. That puts me just about back on schedule with 92 and shooting for 98 by May 31.

   "Jack [Maj John J. "Jack" Gaudion ] got a Red Cross telegram yesterday that his father had died in
    Mexico where he has been living for several years. He was alone and not in good health but has
   no one to settle the estate and Jack left today on emergency leave. As he had 97 missions, we
   went back and found three that could be changed to counters and gave him a 100-mission party
   last night. Jack had a real good departure speech with a word about each pilot. In fact it was
   probably the best one we have had. I saw him off on a C-130 this afternoon -- as I have all the
   others -- and I was truly sorry to see him go.

   "Today also marked my last day as squadron commander. Col Sams decided that it would be
   better to put Lt Col Hopkins [Lt Col James R. Hopkins, who arrived at Korat today ] in the squadron
    for a period before I left as it would be awkward for me to be commander with him here. We are
   making the official change tomorrow. I am quite relieved as I can turn over all the little
   administrative details to him, let Rock run operations, and I can devote all my time to writing the
   report, editing the tapes, and compiling pictures for the book. That will easily keep me busy for
   the next ten days and will mean that I can leave earlier, perhaps immediately following my last
   mission.

   "Yesterday, Lt Dick Hackford had his engine come unglued over Laos and had to bail out. He was
    picked up about an hour later. The chopper was hit by ground fire as they picked him up and
   they whisked up to about 7000 feet hanging on the hoist. He was fine and got back in time for the
   party last night. These Lieutenants are doing an amazing job considering they just got out of
   school.

   "Now we are cracking ceiling back here much of the time on landing as the monsoon season has
   moved over Thailand. These men have had to learn in two months things that I had years to pick
   up."
        Republic's Thunderchief Worldwide Report Vol. 1 No 10 June, 1966 & Maj Robert M. Krone, mission card dated
        23 May 66 and Bob Krone, letter, Korat - 23 May 1966.


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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 82 of 87
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                                                  Robert M. Krone
                                                   F-105 History
 24-May-66
   Lt Col James R. Hopkins, who had arrived at Korat on 23 May 1966, replaced Maj Robert M. Krone
   as commander of the 469 TFS. Maj Krone remained assigned to the squadron until he flew his
   100th mission on 3 June 1966.
       Bob Krone, letter, Korat - 23 May 1966.
 26-May-66
   Three F-105Ds in "Elm" flight from the 469 TFS, 388 TFW, flew an Iron Hand mission with an F-
   100F Wild Weasel. The planes carried AGM-45 Shrike missiles and LAU-3 rocket pods. The flight
   left Korat at 13:25 and at 14:15 refueled from Red Anchor 60 at 16,000 feet for a TOT of 15:05.
   The lineup was:

   #1 - Maj Robert M. Krone flying 58-1165 on his 118th mission (93 counters).
   #2 - Maj Marion A. Tuttle the F-100F Wild Weasel pilot flying 58-1226 with EWO ??? (Mission card
    is too messy to read.)
   #3 - Capt Patrick V. Hughes on TDY from Kadena flying 62-4278
   #4 - Maj Don L. "Rock" Campbell flying 61-0160
   Spare - Capt George A. Ball in 58-1156.

   The mission commander flew in "Edsel" flight. "Teal" flight provided EB-66 ECM support. Elm
   flight wasn't successful. "Went to Ma Son. Nothing there. Weather abort. Cambell JC on tanker
   and bugger probe -- air abort."
       Maj Robert M. Krone, mission card dated 26 May 66.
 31-May-66
   " ... Air Force and Navy fighter-bombers rained bombs on six dispersed (POL) sites in and around
   Vinh, Phuc Loi, Da Loc, Yen Duong, and Phu Qui, all located below Hanoi. These strikes and
   others on non-POL targets accounted for 313 sorties over North Vietnam, the largest number in
   one day since Rolling Thunder operations began in March 1965."

   "Fighter bombers of the 355 TFW at Takhli and the 388 TFW at Korat flew the biggest strike to
   date against NVN. The target consisted of a large storage complex with both large and small
   warehouse type buildings in the Yen Bai storage complex located on the Lao Kay-Hanoi rail line
   and the Red River. The first photo interpretation readout indicated that 72 buildings were
   destroyed, 21 heavily damaged, and 23 slightly damaged. In addition, six 37/57-mm AAA sites
   and 15 to 18 85-mm sites were silenced." (Seventh Air Force Chronology 1 July 65 - 30 June
   1966 CHECO 66-0044.)

   Pilots from the 469 TFS from Korat flew on the strike against the Yen Bai complex (JCS 44). Maj
   Robert M. Krone, 469 TFS Commander flew this mission. "By 31 May I had been the CO
   over a month and Jimmy Jones was Ops doing the scheduling. Jimmy got me aside on the
    30th to tell me that Tony Gangol was very nervous and depressed ("There Ain't No
   Way") and on the schedule for Yen Bay. And he didn't have an experienced replacement
   pilot and worried about putting a recently arrived pilot on that mission. I took the mission.
   I remember while air refueling on the way out thinking 'If I'm going to be shot down on my
    99th mission, it might as well be Ho Chi Minh's home town.' " (Bob Krone, e-mail, 22 Apr
   2009.)

   Lt Col Krone was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross (3rd Oak Leaf Cluster) for this mission.
   "Major Robert M. Krone is awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary achievement
   while participating in aerial flight as an F-105 Pilot over North Vietnam on 31 May 1966. On that
   date, Major Krone was the leader of a flight of F-105's assigned to destroy an extremely vital and
   heavily defended military storage complex located on the main railroad line from Red China to

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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 83 of 87
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                                                    Robert M. Krone
                                                     F-105 History
   Hanoi, North Vietnam. Despite extremely adverse conditions, reduction by half of his force due to
   aircraft malfunctions, intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire, and the ever-present SA-2 missile
   threat, he led his flight to the total destruction of his assigned target. He also directed helicopters
   into an area 10 miles from the target for the rescue of a downed pilot. The professional
   competence, aerial skill, and devotion to duty displayed by Major Krone reflect great credit upon
   himself and the United States Air Force." (DFC Society Web Site,
   http://www.dfcsociety.org/citation_detail.asp?ID=1649)

   One 469th pilot, Capt Martin William Steen, flying as "Cactus 02", was shot down and, despite a
   rescue attempt, was MIA.

   "About 150 U.S. aircraft, the majority of them F-105 Thunderchiefs, attacked and destroyed the
   extensive Yen Bay Arsenal (JCS 44) in a low-level afternoon raid. (The target was at coordinates
   21-42-32N and 104-52-58E and included the arsenal, barracks and storage areas, a supply
   depot, and an administrative area.) Flying at tree-top level in flights of four, Thunderchief strike
   pilots dropped hundreds of 750-pound conventional iron bombs and 2,000 and 3,000-pound
   blockbusters. Other flights of Thunderchiefs dived to smother camouflaged antiaircraft batteries
   with bombs as they opened fire and revealed themselves. F-4C Phantoms flew high cover for the
   F-105 Thunderchiefs, offering protection against possible MiG fighter interception. Remaining
   aircraft were jet tankers for inflight refueling and RB-66 Destroyers, converted bombers with
   advanced electronics equipment that jams North Vietnamese radar defenses."

   "... Forty F-105 aircraft were launched from the 355 TFW and they expended sixty-eight 2,000-
   pound general purpose bombs, four 750 pound bombs and twenty-four CBU bomb dispensers.
   The target was essentially obliterated. A total of 70 buildings was destroyed and 45 were heavily
   damaged. The flights encountered heavy barrages of 37, 57, and 85-mm flak. One 355 TFW
   loss occurred on this mission (but the pilot was recovered)." The pilot was 1Lt Leonard C. "Lucky"
    Ekman from the 354 TFS.

   Col Aaron J. Bowman, 355 TFW, was the strike force commander. He and his wingman, 1Lt
   Michael L. Brazelton, were the first pilots over the target areas attacking an antiaircraft gun site.
   After landing at Takhli, Col Bowman was greeted by Lt Gen Joseph Moore and Col Edmund B.
   Edwards from Hq 7 AF.

   "Air Force officials told New York Times sources in Saigon that F-105 Thunderchiefs dropped a
   hitherto secret antipersonnel bomb [CBU-24] that shoots out thousands of lethal pellets. The
   bomb was designed for use against such targets as clusters of soldiers manning antiaircraft guns.


   "Air Force news sources said the Yen Bay raid was the largest flown during the war, with more
   than twice the number of F-105s than have previously participated in a strike against a single
   target in the north.

   "Colonel Edmund B. Edwards, 45, 7th Air Force's director of operations against North Vietnam,
   reported that the raid had been extensively planned and had been scheduled to take place in late
   May, but was delayed."


        "Gradual Failure: The Air War over North Vietnam: 1965 - 1966", pg 285 & Republic's Thunderchief Worldwide
        Report Vol. 1 No 10 June, 1966 & Vol 1 No 11, July 1966 & 355 TFW history, Jan - Jun 66, USAF microfilm
        NO461, frame 1104.
 31-May-66
   Six months after their arrival at Korat, the 469 TFS had 29 pilots PCS, on TDY from other units, or

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                                              Robert M. Krone
                                               F-105 History
   attached to the squadron for flying. The squadron commander was Lt Col James R. Hopkins who
   had replaced Maj Robert M. Krone on 24 May.

   This list is essentially the second generation of pilots assigned to the squadron after its PCS
   arrival in Nov 1965. The roster included:

   PCS pilots:

   Capt John Edward "Jack" Bailey arrived 24 Jan 66 and had flown 66 missions when he was MIA on
   10 May 66.
   1Lt Kenneth D. Thomas, Jr. arrived 28 Jan 66 and had flown 61 missions as of 5 May 66 when he
   was KIA.
   1Lt Thomas A. Gibbs arrived 28 Jan 66; 74 missions as of 31 May 66.
   1Lt Nicholas A. Pool arrived 23 Mar 66; 44 missions as of 31 May 66.
   1Lt Ross A. Moon arrived 21 Mar 66; 35 missions as of 31 May 66.
   Capt Carl S. Hicks arrived 21 Mar 66; 46 missions as of 31 May 66.
   1Lt James E. Ray arrived 12 Apr 66 and had flown 11 missions by 8 May 66 when he was shot
   down and became a POW.
   1Lt Ronald Nels Running arrived 7 Apr 66; 27 missions as of 31 May 66.
   Maj Richard Allen Dutton arrived 10 Apr 66; 25 missions as of 31 May 66.
   Maj Don L. "Rock" Campbell arrived 23 Apr 66; 22 missions as of 31 May 66.
   Capt Clarence A. Stewart arrived 21 Apr 66; 22 missions as of 31 May 66.
   Capt George A. Ball arrived 27 Apr 66; 21 missions as of 31 May 66.
   1Lt Richard H. Hackford, Jr. arrived 18 Apr 66; 20 missions as of 31 May 66.
   1Lt Peter K. Foley arrived 18 Apr 66; 22 missions as of 31 May 66.
   Capt Richard E. Doucette arrived 18 May 66; 6 missions as of 31 May 66.
   Capt Martin W. Steen arrived 16 Apr 66 and had flown 23 missions as of 31 May 66 when he was
   shot down and KIA.
   Maj Ewald C."Charles" Farwig arrived 14 May 66; 12 missions as of 31 May 66.
   Lt Col James R. Hopkins arrived 23 May 66. 45 missions as of 31 May 66.
   Maj Robert M. Krone had flown 99 missions as of 31 May 1966.

   Pilots on TDY to the 469 TFS:

   Maj Allan L. Parks arrived 3 Feb 66 TDY from the 44 TFS at Kadena on his second TDY period.
   175 missions as of 31 May 66.
   Capt Clifford H. Reese, Jr. arrived 3 Feb 66 TDY from Kadena on his second TDY period. 175
   missions as of 31 May 66.
   Capt Albert C. Vollmer arrived 31 Mar 66 TDY from the 44 TFS at Kadena. 17 missions as of 5
   May 66.
   Capt Willard H. Snell arrived TDY from the 67 TFS at Kadena on 14 Mar 66. 27 missions as of 8
   Apr 66.
   Capt John C. Jones arrived TDY from the 12 TFS at Kadena on 11 May 66. 9 missions as of 31
   May 66.
   Capt William W. Raitt arrived TDY from the 12 TFS at Kadena 5 May 66. 16 missions as of
   31 May 66.
   Capt Patrick V. Hughes arrived TDY from Kadena 1 May 66. 13 missions as of 31 May 66.
   Maj Michael S. Muskat arrived TDY from Nellis 26 Jan 66. 17 missions as of 16 Feb 66.

   Wing pilots attached to the 469 TFS:

   Col Monroe S. "Saber" Sams, the 388 TFW commander, arrived 17 Nov 65; 77 missions as of 31
   May 66.

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                                                    Robert M. Krone
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   Col Robert P. Parsons arrived 31 Mar 66; 22 missions as of 31 May 66.
   Capt Harold C. Perkins arrived 4 Sep 65; 36 missions as of 22 May 66 when he was attached to
   the 421 TFS.
   Lt Col Robert E. Sizemore, the 388 TFW Assistant DO, arrived 15 Apr 66; 9 missions as of 22
   May 66 when he was attached to the 421 TFS.
   Capt Ronald Schaertle arrived 4 Sep 65; 3 missions as of 31 May 66.
   Maj John P. Russell arrived 15 May 66; no missions as of 31 May 66.

   469 TFS history, 15 Nov 65 - May 1966, AFHRA Safe Paper extract, Call # K-SQ-FT-469-HI, IRIS # 420984.
 03-Jun-66
   Maj Robert M. Krone, 469 TFS, 388 TFW, completed 100 missions over North Vietnam. He had
   been commander of the 469th for one month, from 24 April 1966 when Lt Col William Earl Cooper
   was shot down until 24 May 1966 when Lt Col James R. Hopkins took over the squadron. Maj
   Krone was recognized as the first squadron commander to complete 100 "counters".

   For his 100th (out of a total of 125 flown), Maj Krone led "Elm" flight that took off from Korat at
   09:15. The flight lineup was:

   1 - Major Robert M. Krone in F-105D 62-4325
   2 - 1Lt Thomas A. Gibbs in F-105D 59-1766
   3 - Capt Steven Roy Sanders in F-105D 61-0196
   4 - Capt Carl S. Hicks in F-105D 62-4265

   The flight was chased by an F-4C from the 8 TFW out of Ubon that took photos of the historic
   occasion. The plane, F-4C 63-7518, was piloted by Capt James V. "Jim" Meyers from the 434
   TFS (?) with the 469 TFS flight surgeon, Dr. Marshall "Jim" Dyke, in the rear cockpit.

   Maj Krone's next assignment was to the Directorate of Personnel Resources and Distribution,
   USAF Military Personnel Center, Randolph AFB, Texas.

   By the end of Maj Krone's tour, the 469th's oral history collection that he started had grown to 16
   audio tape cassettes. Upon his return to the States, Maj Krone donated the tapes to the Air
   University at Maxwell AFB, AL. In his letter to the AU Commander, he described his purpose in
   making the tapes. "I am submitting this program to the Air University in hopes that the material
   may be of interest to Command and Staff School or Air War College students or to an Air Force
   sponsored research group. As I anticipated in the introductory tape, the program has produced
   'raw data' only. No attempt has been made to prove or disprove theories or to 'sell' any particular
   viewpoint other than the viewpoints of F-105 pilots participating in combat operations over North
   Vietnam and Laos."

   On 12 July 1966, Mr. Albert Simpson, Chief USAF Historical Division, replied to Maj Krone's letter
   (over a month after Maj Krone had departed Korat). He acknowledged receipt of the tapes and
   stated, "Notes from the tapes have been extracted by the historian who will prepare the history of
   the Air Force in Southeast Asia. The survival tape is of interest to the Arctic, Desert, Tropic
   Information Center of the Aerospace Studies Institute. Information from the tapes has been
   informally passed to the Squadron Officers School."

   He thanked Maj Krone for "... your part in instituting this somewhat novel historical coverage." He,
   however, stated that tapes alone do not make satisfactory history and cited several reasons why.
   "First, a written report is precise. The person who uses an oral tape will frequently be confused
   and in error about the exact spelling of proper names, both of people and of places. Second, a
   researcher can scan many pages of written text in search of needed information in the time that
   would be required to listen to a single tape. Of course, the tapes could be transcribed, but this

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                                                   Robert M. Krone
                                                    F-105 History
   would be very costly. ... I am sure, too, that you will appreciate that your program 'to document the
   individualism of fighter pilots in combat' will cover only one facet (even though it is the most
   significant facet) of the many activities of the 469th. ..."

   In December 1981, the tapes became part of the Air Force history archives in the Air Force
   Historical Research Agency at Maxwell.



        River Rats Album 2, pg 114 & Bob Krone e-mails 20 Dec 2008 & Bob Krone, letter, Korat - 23 May 1966 & 469 TFS
        history, 15 Nov 65 - May 1966, AFHRA Safe Paper extract, Call # K-SQ-FT-469-HI, IRIS #s 900365 and 420984.




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Compiled by W. H. Plunkett                                                Page 87 of 87
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