The Edmond Sun

Local News

August 10, 2012

Edmond Vietnam ace registered 6 MiG kills

EDMOND — EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first of a series of profiles on the four Edmond-area veterans who will be inducted into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame Nov. 9. Vietnam Ace Charles DeBellevue, of Edmond, is today’s subject. Maj. Gen. Rita Aragon, of Edmond, will be profiled in Aug. 18’s Edmond Sun.

Four Edmond-area residents with distinguished military careers will be inducted into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame later this year.

This year’s event will be at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 9 at Quail Creek Golf and Country Club, 3501 Quail Creek Road in Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame’s Class of 2012 consists of:

• Col. Charles B. DeBellevue, of Edmond

• Capt. Boyd L. “Bo” Barclay, who lives in the Deer Creek area

• Maj. Gen. Rita Aragon, of Edmond

• Lt. Col. Orville O. “Bill” Munson, deceased

• Capt. John Lee Prichard, deceased

• U.S. Army Cavalry scout Amos Chapman, deceased

• Maj. Kenneth D. Bailey, deceased

• Command Sgt. Maj. Everett Bagley Jr.

• Capt. Vincent A. Kimberlin

• Choctaw Code Talkers of World War I and WWII


On May, 9, 1972, renewed and generally unrestricted airstrikes against military targets in North Vietnam began as part of what was dubbed Operation Linebacker.

Barrier combat air patrol provided a buffer zone between threat areas and specialized friendly refueling tankers, search-and-rescue forces and electronic communications and surveillance aircraft, according to U.S. Air Force combat narratives from 1972-73. They were advised of MiGs approaching from the northeast.

All strike formations were escorted by at least one and sometimes two flights of Phantom F-4s. If they had advance warning they were allowed to turn into approaching MiGs, which mostly relied on hit-and-run tactics — single passes at high speeds.

On May 10, 1972, Capt. R. Steve Ritchie and Capt. Charles B. “Chuck” DeBellevue, Ritchie’s weapons officer, reached their patrol area west of Phu Tho and south of Yen Bai.

Ritchie obtained radar contact and the bandits were declared hostile. Ritchie’s flight engaged four MiG-21s. Maj. Robert Lodge downed the number two MiG and his wingman, 1st Lt. John D. Markle, downed the number three MiG.

Ritchie and DeBellevue switched the attack to the number four MiG, a threat to Lodge and Markle, while Lodge pursued the number one MiG.

As they converted to the rear, Ritchie achieved radar lock and fired two AIM-7s at a range of about 6,000 feet. The first missile appeared to pass just under the MiG-21. The second impacted the target, causing a fireball. As they flew past the falling debris, DeBellevue observed a parachute and what was believed to be the MiG-21 pilot.

In June, bombing of Hanoi was suspended four days while the Soviet president visited the city. Between June 21 and July 9, USAF fighter aircrews destroyed seven MiG-21s.

On July 8, Ritchie and DeBellevue were the lead F-4E in a flight of four from the 555th Fighter Squadron in support of an Operation Linebacker strike, flying at medium to low altitude west of Phu Tho and south of Yen Bai. They were advised of bandits southeast of their position, about 35-40 nautical miles away.

Ritchie and DeBellevue headed toward the MiGs in a tactical support formation. During the dogfight, they downed two MiGs, giving DeBellevue a total of three kills all while flying with Ritchie.

On Aug. 28, Ritchie and DeBellevue were flying the lead aircraft during another Operation Linebacker strike mission.

They acquired radar lock on a MiG-21 flying head-on to them. They converted to the stern and fired two AIM-7 missiles in an attempt to get the MiG to start a turn. As they rolled out behind the MiG, they fired the two remaining missiles; the third one missed, but the fourth impacted the MiG. It exploded and started tumbling downward toward the ground.

“The most important thing is for the crew to work well together,” DeBellevue told reporters at the time. “They have to know each other. I know what Steve is thinking on a mission and can almost accomplish whatever he wants before he asks. I was telling him everything he had to know when he wanted it, and did not waste time giving him useless data.”

On Sept. 9, DeBellevue was flying with Capt. John Madden Jr. when they were making a turn to withdraw following an encounter with a lone MiG. That’s when two MiG-19s swarmed in for an attack.

“We acquired the MiGs on radar and positioned as we picked up on them visually,” DeBellevue recalled later. “We used a slicing low-speed yo-yo to position behind the MiG-19s and started turning hard with them. We fired one AIM-9 missile, which detonated 25 feet from one of the MiG-19s. We then switched the attack to the other MiG-19 and one turn later we fired an AIM-9 at him. I observed the missile impact the tail of the MiG. The MiG continued normally for the next few seconds, then began a slow roll and spiraled downward, impacting the ground with a large fireball. Our altitude was approximately 1,500 feet at the moment of the MiG’s impact.”

Madden and DeBellevue returned to their base thinking they had destroyed only the second MiG-19. An investigation, aided by the testimony of another aircrew, revealed that they were the only aircrew to shoot another MiG-19 which crashed and burned on the runway at Phuc Yen that day.

DeBellevue was asked how he felt about becoming an ace.

“I feel pretty good about it. It’s the high point of my career,” he said at the time. “There’s no other job that you have to put out as much for. It’s frustrating, and yet when you do shoot down a MiG, it’s so rewarding.”

During his combat tours, DeBellevue flew 220 combat missions, 96 of which were over North Vietnam. He is credited with a total of six MiG kills, the most earned by any U.S. aviator during the Vietnam War.

Text Only
Local News
  • MS_Wheeler.jpg Drugged suspect allegedly assaults cops

    Felony charges have been filed against a 20-year-old man who allegedly ingested the drug “Molly” before injuring two officers during an altercation, records show.
    At about 11:30 p.m. July 18, Edmond Police Officer Jason Albright assisted other officers at an apartment complex in the zero block of South Bryant on a call about suspicious people knocking on a door, Albright stated in a report released Friday by the Edmond Police Department.
    When he arrived, he made contact with fellow officers Ben Daves, Jason Lewellyn and Torrey Rowe who were with two of the suspicious persons, Albright stated.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • MS_Keifer.jpg Police seek help in finding Edmond youth

    Edmond Police Department Spokeswoman Jenny Monroe said the agency needs the public’s help finding 16-year-old Keifer McMullin.
    Monroe said he ran away from home July 17.
    “This is not the first time, but the longest he’s been gone,” Monroe said.
    Monroe said Keifer was last seen wearing white-colored Nike tennis shoes, blue jeans, a red shirt and had a black, heavy coat. If you know where he is located call 911 or text a tip at 625-TEXT.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Judge sends Edmond teen to next step in federal case

    A federal judge has ordered a detention hearing for an Edmond teen charged with making alleged illicit sexual contact with residents ages 4-9 while he was staying at a children’s home in Kenya.  
    Last month, the office of U.S. Attorney Sanford Coats unsealed a criminal complaint charging Matthew Lane Durham, 19, of Edmond, with traveling to Kenya to engage in illicit sexual conduct with underage children, both male and female, from April to June.

    August 1, 2014

  • Election board absentee voting deadline nears

    Voters who want to have absentee ballots mailed to them for the runoff primary election Aug. 26 should apply now. Although the County Election Board can accept applications for absentee ballots until 5 p.m. Aug. 20, voters who want to vote by absentee ballot are urged to apply early.
    Absentee ballot application forms are available at the County Election Board office, located at 4201 N. Lincoln Blvd. in Oklahoma City.

    August 1, 2014

  • spts-Weber St. Anthony Morales.jpg Bulldog grad a Carolina Panther

    Former Edmond Memorial linebacker Anthony Morales is not going to attend school this fall at Weber State University.
    Instead, he signed an NFL contract with the Carolina Panthers Thursday morning.
    “I’m on the 90-man roster and I've got to make the cut, so I’ll be in the preseason games and then after the third one, they do the cut to 55 and then after the last game, they go down to 53,” Morales said. “(The Panthers)” have 10 linebackers, including myself.”

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Edmond Santa Fe hosting Punt, Pass & Kick competition

    Young pro football fans will have the opportunity to exhibit their football skills when the Edmond Santa Fe Touchdown Club hosts an NFL Punt, Pass & Kick competition Saturday, Aug. 16 at the Edmond Santa Fe Football Stadium, 1901 N.W. 15th St. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. with the competition kicking off an hour later. Punt, Pass & Kick is free and open to boys and girls ages 6-15. Entry forms and rules are available online at For competition information, contact Kelly Kay at

    August 1, 2014

  • pm_eagle scout John Giachino .JPG Scout earns Eagle rank

    John Bernard Giachino, 16, of Edmond, was awarded his Eagle Scout rank March 26. He is a member of Venture Crew 2021 chartered by St. John the Baptist in Edmond. John is the son of Phillip and LaDonna Giachino, grandson of Linda and the late John Giachino of Oklahoma City and Fred and Joanne Horinek of Newkirk.
    John’s Eagle Scout service project was designing and building a gaga pit for Camp Dakani in Oklahoma City for future Boy Scouts of America to play and enjoy for years to come.
    John will be a junior at Bishop McGuinness High School, where he is a member of the golf team and National Honor Society. He attends St. John the Baptist Church and participates in Life Teen. John recently visited Peru on a mission trip.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • State Education Department looking to develop new academic standards

    The Oklahoma State Department of Education is encouraging Oklahoma educators, parents and others interested in public education to consider taking part in the development of new academic standards for English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. Coordinated by OSDE, the standards-creation process is designed to be as inclusive and comprehensive as possible.

    August 1, 2014

  • MS_fire chief.jpg Edmond fire chief resigns amid internal review

    Embattled Edmond Fire Chief Jake Rhoades, in a letter sent to the media, stated he is resigning out of necessity for his health and the best interests of his family.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 1,000th baby group.jpg INTEGRIS welcomes 1,000th birth since opening in October 2011

    Being the father of a new baby boy is pretty exciting, but being the father of INTEGRIS Health Edmond’s 1,000th baby made it even more special.
    “When we got to the hospital, the night-shift nurse told us we were in a race with another couple who had gotten there at 7 a.m.,” said Bryan Lane, the new baby’s father.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
NDN Video
Under Armour Launches Biggest Women's Campaign with Inspiring Ad NYPD chokehold death of Eric Garner was homicide: medical examiner Christina Aguilera Pulls a Demi Moore! Man with no arms throws first pitch Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Is Justin Bieber Dating a Model? Guardians of the Galaxy (Trailer) 'Sharknado 2:' Hottest Memes Surfing The Net Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Recapping a Blockbuster MLB Trade Deadline Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2"

The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
     View Results