Top Cover for America

Recently had the opportunity to meet with a fellow F4 GIB who had flown with the 43rd in Alaska, so I am sharing my story again of how it was to guard America’s northern air spaces.

An American Family

43rdPatch

From 1974-1978 I flew intercepts of Soviet bombers off the coast of Alaska in the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II fighter. The F-4 was the mainstay of the Vietnam War and I had arrived in Alaska fresh from a combat tour in Thailand, where I flew missions over Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.  Flying in Alaska was very different, but more on that later .

The importance of Alaska to the defense of America, dated back to when the U.S. Army Air Corps sent Billy Mitchell there in 1901 to supervise the construction of the Washington- Alaska telegraph system. From this Mitchell came to appreciate strategic importance of the territory. Over the 73 years since Mitchell, there had been a major buildup of military forces in the state.   The Cold War engaged America and the U.S.S.R. around the world.  They met also at the top of America.   F-4 Phantom Landing in Alaska

When I…

View original post 658 more words

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About jenorv

John E. Norvell is a retired Air Force Lt Colonel, decorated air combat veteran of the Vietnam War, and former Assistant Professor of American and Military History at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He has written freelance for the Washington Post, the Middle Tennessee Journal of Genealogy and History, and for several newspapers around the country.
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