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F-105D Thunderchief Lt. David B. Waldrop, 388th TFW, Korat RTAB, 1967 

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F-105D Thunderchief Lt. David B. Waldrop, 388th TFW, Korat RTAB, 1967

Historical Note:




Lt. Dave B.  Waldrop grew up in Nashville, TN and graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1964 with a BS degree. From there he attended Air Force flight training at Laughlin AFB, TX. Upon graduation from flight training, Dave went to Nellis AFB Las Vegas Nevada where he checked out in the F-105 Thunderchief. On completion of his training, he was assigned to Yokota AFB, Japan. In May 1967 Dave volunteered for temporary duty in SE Asia and was sent to Takhli Air Base, Thailand. After flying 45 missions, Dave was released and was to return to Yokota, but instead, requested to be reassigned to Korat AFB, Thailand which needed experienced F-105 drivers due to having experienced some heavy losses. In December 1967, Dave completed his combat tour and returned to Yokota AFB, Japan with 105 combat missions in the F-105 including 49 over Hanoi.

Dave's achievements while flying combat include:

3 Silver Stars
3 Distinguished Flying Crosses
12 Air Medals
1 Well Done for saving a sick F-105
1 Ejection in Southeast Asia from a F-105
1 Confirmed Mig-17 Gun Kill
1 Probable Mig-17 Gun Kill

*** Listen to Former F-105 Thunderchief Pilot David Waldrop describes his Vietnam War aerial battle which resulted in a gun kill of a Mig-17. 8th AF Historical Society Meeting, Feb 8, 2014.

The Republic F-105 Thunderchief, was a supersonic fighter-bomber used by the United States Air Force. The Mach 2 capable F-105 bore the brunt of strike bombing over North Vietnam during the early years of the Vietnam War. Originally designed and deployed as a single seat aircraft, a two-seat Wild Weasel version was later developed for use in the specialized Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) role against surface-to-air missile sites. It was commonly known as the Thud by its crews. As a follow-on to the Mach 1 capable F-100, the F-105 was also armed with missiles and a cannon; however, its design was tailored to high-speed low-altitude penetration carrying a single nuclear bomb internally. First flown in 1955, the Thunderchief entered service in 1958. As the largest single-engined fighter ever employed by the USAF, the single-seat F-105 would be adapted to deliver a greater bomb load than the four-engined,

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