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.

Freedom Bird

45 years ago, this week in  April, I boarded a “Freedom Bird” heading home from Thailand after a year-long remote combat tour. It was a year filled with many things:  honing my flying skills as a backseater in the F4, … Continue reading

Posted in 13 TFS, American History, Cambodia bombing 1973, F-4 Phantom II, F4 PhantomII, Fighter Aircraft, Fighter pilot slang, SEA, U Dorn RTAFB, Udorn RTAFB, Veterans, Vietnam War | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Watch out for the flying Bucket of Water

Originally posted on An American Family:
Each spring in Thailand, there is a festival called Songkran.   This is the traditional Thai water festival celebrated with the Thai new year in April. According to Wikipedia:   The Songkran celebration represents purification…

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Hello Darkness My Old Friend

At one time, there was a belief among some aviators that there is “no lift” at night, therefore night flight was not possible. Clearly this is not true, and is regarded as a joke among flyers, but it does reflect … Continue reading

Posted in 13 TFS, 43 TFS, American History, F-4 Phantom II, F4 Phantom II, F4 PhantomII, Fighter Aircraft, Fighter pilot lingo, Vietnam War | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

National Vietnam Veterans Day

National Vietnam War Veterans Day will be observed on March 29. The nine million who served in the armed forces between November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, and their families are honored. Of this number: 304,000 were wounded. 1,253 … Continue reading

Posted in 13 TFS, Air Force, American History, Fighter Aircraft, U Dorn RTAFB, Udorn RTAFB, Vietnam Memorial, Vietnam War | 1 Comment

A Day in the Life

I  was thinking today about how I would have spent this day during the Vietnam War  My squadron the 13TFS had an air to mud mission, so unlike the 555th which was mostly air to air, we spent a lot … Continue reading

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Welcoming the POWs Home 1973

46 years ago, in 1973, the American POWs that were held captive in North Vietnam were repatriated to the United States.  On January 27, 1973, the United States and North Vietnam agreed to the release  American prisoners of war. Operation … Continue reading

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Suck it Up

I was complaining on line about the cold today, it was 4 degrees when I got up.  A former F4 jock suggested I Suck it Up.  Hadn’t heard that in many years and I replied to him, “Yeah no Puss … Continue reading

Posted in 13 TFS, 43 TFS, Air Force lingo, American History, F-4 Phantom II, Fighter Aircraft, Fighter pilot lingo | Tagged | 8 Comments