Preserving The Oral HistorIES of Combat Veterans

COMBAT STORIES FROM Vietnam

Rick Hilton | 497th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 8th Tactical Fighter Wing - Air Force

5:59   |   Rick Hilton was based in Thailand during his first Vietnam tour with a fighter squadron that flew missions mainly over North Vietnam. Their gunners weren't always the best shots, but there were a lot of them. When he looked out his cockpit on a tough mission, the sky was full of red raindrops going in the wrong direction.

More From Rick Hilton

Keywords   :     Rick Hilton    fighter pilot    Vietnam    Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base    Thailand    interdiction    Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ)    Hanoi    Hoa Loc    surface-to-air missile (SAM)    anti-aircraft (AA)    tracers

Videos ( 11 )
Vietnam
Cold War
  • Rick Hilton  |  Cold War  |  Multiple Units  |  5:43

    He was only four years old when Rick Hilton's uncle let him "fly" his airplane. The kid couldn't reach all the controls but he did get a deep desire to fly. He got his chance in college with the Air Force cadet program and was soon piloting jet fighters.

  • Rick Hilton  |  Cold War  |  Multiple Units  |  4:21

    When an alert was sounded, the procedure for fighter pilot Rick Hilton was to get his aircraft fueled and wait at the end of the runway with a live nuclear weapon on board. Someone thought this was a little too much power for a fighter jock so the procedure was changed to include blocking the taxiway with a fuel truck. Then a real alert came in.

  • Rick Hilton  |  Cold War  |  Multiple Units  |  3:38

    Fighter pilot Rick Hilton was scrambled and sent aloft from his base in New Mexico for possible strikes in Cuba during the missile crisis. He was amazed when he contacted the FAA for flight clearance. No low priority this time.

  • Rick Hilton  |  Cold War  |  Multiple Units  |  4:00

    The second homecoming from Vietnam wasn't as bad as the first for Rick Hilton. The war was basically over and he settled into an Air Force career. Eventually retiring out of the Pentagon, he had another career waiting at Hughes Aircraft.

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