Author Archives: jenorv

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.

A Picture worth many words

  I have been looking at this picture a lot this week. I posted it to several F4 facebook groups.   It shows me standing in front of an F4C parked on the ramp at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona … Continue reading

Posted in 13 TFS, 43 TFS, Air Force, Alaska, American History, Arizona, F-4 Phantom II, F4 Phantom II | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Hardest Thing I Ever Did

Originally posted on An American Family:
? Lord, guard and guide all those who fly Through the great spaces in the sky. Be with them always in the air, In darkening storms or sunlight fair; Oh, hear us when we…

Posted in American History | Leave a comment

Little Orphan Annie and the end of the Air War in SEA August 1973

Lest we forget:  F-4 Phantom II—445 total lost in the SEA Air War,  382 in  combat more than any other fixed wing aircraft First combat loss F-4C 64-0685 (45th TFS, 15th TFW) shot down Ta Chan, NW NVN on 20 June 1965.  Final … Continue reading

Posted in 13 TFS, Air Force, American History, Cambodia bombing 1973, Combat, F-4 Phantom II, F4 emergency, F4 Phantom II, F4 PhantomII, Family History, Fighter Aircraft, Military history, Norvell Family History, SEA, U Dorn RTAFB, Udorn RTAFB, Veterans, Vietnam War | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Chicks in Tow

As July 1973 ended, I had been flying combat missions with the 13th TFS nearly every day for two months against the Khymer Rouge in the area around Phnom Penh and also to interdict supplies being moved down Uncle Ho’s … Continue reading

Posted in 13 TFS, Air Force, Air Force lingo, American History, F-4 Phantom II, F4 emergency, F4 Phantom II, F4 PhantomII, U Dorn RTAFB, Udorn RTAFB, Vietnam War | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The Day Time Stopped – We drop the Hook

During my years flying the F4 there was only one time we had to use the tailhook to stop on the runway.   It happened while I was stationed in the 13 TFS at Udorn RTAFB,  Thailand.  We blew a tire … Continue reading

Posted in 13 TFS, American History, Combat, F-4 Phantom II, F4 emergency, F4 Phantom II, Fighter Aircraft, SEA, Tailhook, Thailand, U Dorn RTAFB, Udorn RTAFB | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Three Independence Days

45 years ago, in 1973, I found myself on July 4 flying combat missions over Cambodia. I wrote the following comment to my wife:   “4 July 1973: To celebrate today I am again off to Cambodia to drop some firecrackers … Continue reading

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Party suits, Patches, and Jewelry — the well dressed Fighter Jock

As soon as I arrived in the 13 TFS I was taken off the base to meet the Maharajah and order my work suits and a party suit. To go to the Maharajahs to be fitted was a rite of … Continue reading

Posted in 13 TFS, Air Force, American History, F-4 Phantom II, Fighter Aircraft, Fighter pilot lingo, Fighter pilot slang, Thailand, U Dorn RTAFB, Udorn RTAFB, Veterans, Vietnam War | Tagged , , | Leave a comment