Category Archives: Thailand

How I came to fly the Pit of the F4 – a story of genes, rejection, and being where I was meant be,

In 1962, I went to college and joined the AF ROTC program with the hopes that I would be a pilot when I graduated in 1966.  Well, my entry into the Air Force was not without some bumps. After graduation … Continue reading

Posted in 13 TFS, 43 TFS, American History, F-4 Phantom II, F4 Phantom II, F4 PhantomII, Fighter Aircraft, Fighter pilot lingo, Fighter pilot slang, Thailand, U Dorn RTAFB, Udorn RTAFB, Vietnam War | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Say Hello to the New Guys

Recently I watched Band of Brothers.  One episode centered on new men entering Easy Company as replacements after D Day. The men are welcomed with less than enthusiasm and are not sure what to make of it. And I thought … Continue reading

Posted in 13 TFS, 43 TFS, Air Force, Air Force lingo, Alaskan Air Command, American History, Band of Brothers, F-4 Phantom II, F4 emergency, F4 Phantom II, F4 PhantomII, Fighter Aircraft, Fighter pilot lingo, Fighter pilot slang, Thailand, U Dorn RTAFB, Udorn RTAFB | 4 Comments

Thanksgiving 45 years ago – long ago and far away

Military men and women often share moments that are seemingly out of time. These are universal events singular to the military experience, but shared across generations.  Some of these include: being hunkered down in a fox hole; moving across a battlefield … Continue reading

Posted in 13 TFS, Air Force, American History, F4 Phantom II, Thailand, Thanksgiving, U Dorn RTAFB, Udorn RTAFB | Leave a comment

The Day Time Stopped – We drop the Hook

During my years flying the F4 there was only one time, while flying combat, 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 … 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 , | 8 Comments

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 , , | 1 Comment

On to SEA in ’73

45 years ago this week,  a new phase of my life began. On May 15, 1973, I kissed my wife goodbye at the airport.   And set off on what was to be the great adventure of my life – flying … Continue reading

Posted in 13 TFS, Air Force, American History, Combat, F-4 Phantom II, F4 emergency, F4 Phantom II, Luke AFB, Thailand, Vietnam War | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

F4 Graduation Day

45 years ago in April 1973,  I left Luke AFB in Arizona en route to South East Asia.  As I graduated from F4 upgrade training, I was a very different person than when I began it. Actually, I can say … Continue reading

Posted in 13 TFS, American History, Arizona, F-4 Phantom II, F4 Phantom II, Fighter Aircraft, Norvell Family History, Thailand, Udorn RTAFB, Veterans, Vietnam War | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Not all the Targets were In North Vietnam- A tale of the Panther Pack

As the war in SEA wound down, plans were put into place for an aggressive training schedule. Now schedulers were faced with actually having to plan training, not just assume it would happen in the course of daily events. It … Continue reading

Posted in Air Force, American History, F-4 Phantom II, F4 emergency, F4 Phantom II, Fighter Aircraft, SEA, Thailand, Vietnam War | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Speech Given at the First Annual Veterans Dinner at Finger Lakes Community College

Remarks by  Lt Col John E. Norvell (USAF Ret.)  November 10, 2017 President Nye, Dr. Pierce, ladies and gentleman and members of the College community,  thank you for inviting me to speak tonight. As a former history professor I routinely … Continue reading

Posted in 13 TFS, 43 TFS, Air Force, American History, Bolling AFB, F-4 Phantom II, F4 Phantom II, F4 PhantomII, Family History, Fighter Aircraft, Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp, New York State History, Norvell Family History, Ontario Co, Thailand, U Dorn RTAFB, Udorn RTAFB, Veterans, Vietnam War | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Watch out for the flying Bucket of Water

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 and the washing away all of … Continue reading

Posted in 13 TFS, Air Force, American History, Cambodia bombing 1973, F-4 Phantom II, F4 emergency, F4 Phantom II, Fighter Aircraft, Fighter pilot lingo, Fighter pilot slang, SEA, Thailand, U Dorn RTAFB, Udorn RTAFB, Vietnam War | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment