Randy Cunningham & Willie Driscoll ~ MiG Aces
Randy Cunningham and Willie Driscoll shot down their first North Vietnamese MiG on January 19, 1972. They scored their second MiG kill on May 08, 1972. On May 10, 1972, they became the first American fliers to qualify as Aces in the Vietnam War when they shot down three MiG's in a single action. In addition to becoming the first Vietnam Aces, the two became the first Team of Aces, the first to score a triple kill over Vietnam and the first U.S. all-missile Aces.
Many years later, it was my privilege to meet both fliers. In July 2003, I was attending a Minnesota air show where Willie Driscoll was a guest VIP. I was able to talk with him for a few minutes while he autographed his bio in the air show program. In January 2004, while riding USS Midway across San Diego Bay to her final home as the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum, I was able to meet Randy Cunningham. Now a California Congressman, he was a guest VIP for the event. Although I didn't get his autograph, I was able to have my picture taken with him. Another meeting with Willie Driscoll took place in July 2004 at the same air show I had met him before. This time, not only did I get another autograph, but I was able to have my picture taken with him.
In June 2004, while participating in the opening week of the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum, I snuck away to the San Diego Aerospace Museum, which has the F-4J Phantom II Cunningham & Driscoll were flying when they shot down their first two MiG's.
The following is a small tribute to these Navy Aces.
Please click a thumbnail to view the larger