r/todayilearned Jun 28 '22

TIL that the last American pilot to become an ace (score 5 or more air-to-air combat kills) was Richard Stephen Richie. He scored his 5th kill in August, 1972. Since him, no American pilot has more than 3 kills.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Stephen_Ritchie
6.1k Upvotes

790

u/Frank_Dracula Jun 28 '22

The US top flying ace for WW1 is Eddie Rickenbacker with 26 victories, and then the WW2 ace is Richard Ira Bong, seriously, with 40 victories. For Korea it's Joseph McConnell who shot down 16 Mig-15s.

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u/HighwayFroggery Jun 28 '22

Top ace of all time was WWII German pilot Erich Hartmann with 352 kills. He was a talented pilot, but his score was also influenced by flying against slower Soviet aircraft and the German policy of keeping skilled pilots on the front lines rather than moving them into training or leadership positions.

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u/mtcwby Jun 28 '22

Lots of opportunity too with very short distances to sortie. He'd sometimes fly three missions a day and the Soviet model of attacking in numbers made for a target rich environment. His tactics were to get so close that he sometimes took damage from the pieces falling off.

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u/Podo13 Jun 28 '22

Yeah. He crash landed like 16 times, but never from damage from enemy fire. It was always malfunction or shrapnel from an enemy plane he just downed.

69

u/wranglingmonkies Jun 29 '22

Its hard to imagine crashing 16 freaking times and then say yeah, I'll go back up.

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u/ncburbs Jun 29 '22

i guess after the 3rd or 4th time you start to feel like you're invincible and aren't scared of crashing anymore

19

u/[deleted] Jun 29 '22

First time I crashed my bicycle: omg I'm gonna die

100th time: fucking too fast that time, dumbass.

3

u/The_Casual_Scribbler Jun 29 '22

As someone who sends it on my mountain bike way outside my skill level. This is a true statement. When I was learning to manual my friends advice to me not committing was to make me fall back so I wasn’t scared anymore. I can manual now lol and falling has become my last worry in most situations.

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u/Syrinx16 Jun 29 '22

Crash landing is also a fairly relative term in aviation. It’s not always a nosedive into the ground that ends in a fireball. Crash landing can technically be a smooth landing in a farm field because your engine sputtered out. I imagine a fair number of his crash landings were relatively smooth compared to what we would normally think of when we hear those words.

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u/EccentricFox Jun 28 '22

Two fun facts to accompany this knowledge. The Soviet air doctrine of the time was training their pilots via trial by fire. Very little training and then they'd bank on combat honing pilots' skill (they mostly were going into ground attack rolls if that makes the logic any more... logical).

The second fun fact was German pilots were ripping actual meth to continue flying so much.

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u/PutridGhoul Jun 28 '22

Every German member of the military (and a substantial number of its citizens), of every branch and rank, from the grunts to the top generals, were not only just on meth; it was a part of every soldier's daily rations. It was manufactured by government-sponsored factories and it was called "Pervitin".

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u/Rusty_Shakalford Jun 28 '22

Fantastic stuff when you need to stay awake for a few days to blitzkrieg across France.

Somewhat less useful when you are pushing East and, after being awake for three days, start crashing when you are barely halfway to Moscow.

36

u/DataMan9 Jun 29 '22

When people say the German army was on meth it’s slightly misleading. It’s more like they were all on adderall.

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u/Alain-Christian Jun 29 '22

“We’re not so different you and I.” Says meth to adderall.

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u/iprocrastina Jun 28 '22

The US used meth for its pilots too, well after WW2. I believe Soviets did the same as well.

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u/Vertigofrost Jun 28 '22

US only stopped using amphetamines like 5 years ago

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u/ESCAPE_PLANET_X Jun 28 '22

Pretty sure we've been offering provigil or whatever it's generic name is for years now?

Edit modfinal I am too lazy to look up if it's the same drug as provigil.

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u/SavvyDevil12 Jun 29 '22

Do you mean modafinil? I take that for chronic fatigue. Wow! TIL

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u/FinishFew1701 Jun 29 '22

Oh, you fly planes too? United? Frontier? Delta?

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u/Derf_Jagged Jun 28 '22

Well... most of the pilots anyway.

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u/NybbleM3 Jun 28 '22

There was an episode of doc Martin where the receptionist found her grandpa's old pills from the war and thought they were breathments or aspirin or something and took one and went into work and he fired her for showing up to work on drugs, and it wasn't until she started having some side effects from it that grandfather found out and had to clear it and explain what had happened. Apparently it was used as kind of as an emergency energy supplement when they were fighting for ground troops as well or something like that. I'm sure they fudged the history to fit the TV show

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u/Siopilos_thanatos Jun 29 '22

Didn't expect a Doc Martin reference to pop up. Was one of my grandmother's favorite shows to watch on PBS.

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u/altcastle Jun 29 '22

Drugs powered so much stuff for so long. War, science, marriages, business. Everyone was either high as a kite or passed out from a sedative.

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u/gordy240 Jun 29 '22

That’s gotta be how Matt and Trey came up with Eric Cartman

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u/lemmecheckit Jun 28 '22

German pilots were known to lie a lot

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u/RogerTreebert6299 Jun 28 '22

What I always think is bullshit is that taking down the observation balloons they used to direct artillery fire in WW1 counts for those numbers. I get why I guess, technically you are shooting an object out of the sky, but a stationary hot air balloon has to be several orders of magnitude easier to take down than a plane that’s shooting back. It’s a free throw

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u/Jer_061 Jun 28 '22

TBF, free throws still count on the scoreboard.

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u/RogerTreebert6299 Jun 28 '22

But half of what a regular field goal does. I propose that observation balloons count as .5 of a confirmed kill /s

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u/blamedolphin Jun 29 '22

Observation balloons were heavily defended and shooting them down was a particularly hazardous duty.

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u/RogerTreebert6299 Jun 29 '22

Interesting, maybe I don’t give the balloon shooting guys enough credit

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u/FinishFew1701 Jun 29 '22

If you're in that balloon, you're thinking "please Lord, tell me Shaq is the pilot of that German plane!" ...on meth, ...smelling like Icy-Hot.

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u/Robbotlove Jun 28 '22

that’d be the meth talking.

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u/HighwayFroggery Jun 28 '22

Also a distinct possibility.

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u/Prof_Augustus Jun 28 '22

Also weren't Germans over reporting combat wins especially leading up to the Battle of Britian. I feel like a remember a documentary mentioning that lots of the Luffwaffe pilots were over reporting or claiming damaged planes as kills leading to Hitler think the British were to weak to defend Britian.

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u/ChimpskyBRC Jun 28 '22 Helpful I'm Deceased

In my mind Dick Bong has 420 confirmed kills, and I don’t want to hear anything different.

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u/MagicNipple Jun 28 '22

Flew 69 missions.

36

u/el_cid_viscoso Jun 28 '22

And was notoriously into Rick and Morty to an obnoxious degree.

22

u/Daniel_The_Thinker Jun 28 '22

"Wubba Lubba Dub Dub!"

"Jesus Christ what is this man going on about"

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u/el_cid_viscoso Jun 28 '22

This guy knows.

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u/Toad364 Jun 28 '22

His rank:

Major.

Can’t make this stuff up.

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u/HXRW Jun 28 '22

Interestingly, he did actually go by Dick Bong, by his own choice, not Richard or Rick or anythinf

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u/ChimpskyBRC Jun 28 '22

Yes, and there’s a park or something named after him in his home state which keeps having their signs stolen for some reason

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u/RadomirPutnik Jun 28 '22

"Bong Recreational Area". I mean, what do you expect? You couldn't design a better dorm room decoration.

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u/poorme2 Jun 28 '22

Despite going to one of the 2 big schools in the area, I never heard that anyone tried that.

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u/DisgruntledDimebag Jun 28 '22

There's a Bong St/Rd/Ave on just about every USAF base.

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u/ChimpskyBRC Jun 28 '22

Interesting! I work on a former USAF base (Mather) and will have to keep an eye out for such a street name from now on.

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u/_SgrAStar_ Jun 28 '22 edited Jun 28 '22

Huh, I’ve also been to a long list of USAF bases and have never noticed a Bong street. Most of the streets are named after people, yes, just never seen one for Bong.

Edit: Here’s one at Barksdale, which I’ve been to, just never noticed. It’s also pretty much the shortest street on base though. And another at Elmo in Anchorage. I literally lived a couple blocks away for two years. I guess we’ll chock this up to me being oblivious.

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u/SyxEight Jun 28 '22

There is bridge near his home named after him too

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u/Siggycakes Jun 28 '22

They have a lot of his personal effects at the Air Force Museum on Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio. Pretty interesting and worth a trip if you are at all into aviation.

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u/TinKicker Jun 29 '22

Best aviation museum on the planet. (And I’m trying to see them all).

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u/Gromit801 Jun 28 '22

Bong wasn’t even the top scoring allied pilot.

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u/cubanpajamas Jun 28 '22

Canada's Billy Bishop had 72 in WW1. George Beurling was the top Canadian in ww2 with 31.

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u/GarbledComms Jun 28 '22

My ex-wife's great uncle was responsible for downing several dozen Nazi planes. They said he was the worst mechanic in the Luftwaffe.

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u/cos1ne Jun 28 '22

To give some perspective on the quality of these pilots.

Rickenbacker scored 26 victories in 184 days, or a victory every 7 days.

Bong scored his 40 victories over 721 days, or a victory every 18 days (although to be fair Bong exceeded Rickenbacker's record in only 106 days and if we remove the time he was on leave he scored a victory every 15 days).

McConnell scored 16 victories in 124 days which is just above Rickenbacker's (7.07) at a victory every 7.75 days.

For the Vietnam War Charles B. DeBellevue a weapons officer actually holds the high score at 6 victories but not being a pilot we will take a look at Richard Richie. He had his 5 victories in 110 days or a victory every 22 days.

So it looks like regardless of the total numbers Rickenbacker, Bong and McConnell are pretty similar in quality, although Rickenbacker, America's first ace still holds the legacy as its best ace.

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u/free_billstickers Jun 29 '22

Which bong state recreation park I'm WI is named after!

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u/ZalinskyAuto Jun 28 '22

Dick Bong. Nice.

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u/mickeymouse4348 Jun 28 '22

TIL the namesake for the airport in south Columbus

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u/bjb406 Jun 28 '22

Since Vietnam, I don't think we've faced anyone that could maintain any kind of air power for more than a matter of hours.

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u/WonUpH Jun 28 '22

Vietnam had air fighters ?

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u/RogerPackinrod Jun 28 '22

Yes. Some of them were Vietnamese. Some more of them were white, Russian-speaking 'Vietnamese'.

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u/ChimpskyBRC Jun 28 '22

Just like the white, Russian-speaking Koreans before them

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u/skeetsauce Jun 28 '22

Pretty sure US and Soviet planes actually got into dog fights over Korea. I was under the impression that was the only time the US and USSR directly fought.

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u/ironroad18 Jun 29 '22

Yeah, it was kept highly classified for decades, but Russia sent several "advisor" pilots into Korea. Towards the end of hostilities a US Navy Aviator flying a Panther got into a fight with about seven Russian MIG-15s.

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u/marmorset Jun 28 '22 edited Jun 28 '22

The Russians supposedly participated in small numbers, but the Chinese sent thousand of troops of all kinds. All of the Vietnamese aces were actually Chinese pilots [Vietnamese men with hard to pronounce names.]

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u/The_Angry_Jerk Jun 28 '22

That's just false Chinese propaganda BS. VPAF had pilots born and trained in North Vietnam. You know the MIG-21 aces are real Vietnamese when half of them have the last name Nguyễn.

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u/[deleted] Jun 28 '22

[deleted]

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u/DrubiusMaximus Jun 28 '22

It's why we invented Top Gun.

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u/DrRam121 Jun 28 '22

It's all explained in that documentary

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u/guynamedjames Jun 29 '22

I thought that was a volleyball documentary

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u/DrRam121 Jun 29 '22

A homoerotic volleyball documentary

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u/Hartagon Jun 28 '22

TIL NVA pilots shot down more American pilots than vice versa.

According to their sources. According to US sources, the US had 128 air to air losses compared to Vietnam's 195.

Not denying Vietnam had skilled pilots and numerous aces, but its pretty hard for the US to fake our losses since its all public record... And anyone and everyone can look into it. And everyone who was shot down and survived, would have a pretty good idea of how they were shot down, so for the US' official figures to be a lie, that would mean hundreds of US pilots would have to be in on some massive conspiracy lying about how they were shot down without a single one of them coming clean and telling the truth in the last half century.

Compared to Vietnam's official numbers, where the numbers are whatever the government says they are, and anyone who disagrees can literally just be jailed as a dissident... Because, you know, they're an authoritarian police state.

Just look at like the Chinese 'Memorial of the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea', IE: China's national Korean War museum... That has exhibits about how they killed millions of evil invading American aggressors and such. Or official Soviet numbers from WW2 that downplay their losses by millions. Its prudent to take 'official' statistics from authoritarian police state with a large grain of salt.

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u/peterthot69 Jun 29 '22

I really agree with the last point but the US is known to have faked numbers in the Vietnam war by a huge amount. There are a lot of testimonies of the vets saying they would just say they were killing tons of the enemie when they couldn't find corpses or just killed random civilians without ever confirming if they were tied to the Vietcong for instance. So yeah obviously authoritarians states are not be believed but the US have behaved to differently to any of the other authoritarians states in this regard

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u/electricvelvet Jun 28 '22

And the white, English-speaking Vietnamese and Koreans fighting to install totally democratically chosen capitalist leaders

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u/ChimpskyBRC Jun 28 '22

Yep, proxy wars do be like that

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u/electricvelvet Jun 28 '22

It's almost like the Vietnam War was never really about the gears

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u/Justcouldnthlpmyslf Jun 28 '22

Gears? I have to admit that I've just realized that I have no idea why we fought a war with Vietnam other than (and I literally mean just this one solitary word) "communism". Any chance you're willing to teach me something?

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u/Cyberslasher Jun 28 '22

It looks like he was attempting a Rick and Morty reference. "The thing about the gear wars is... They were never really about the gears."

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u/terribledirty Jun 28 '22

"gears" is a Rick and Morty reference. I'd really recommend watching the docuseries "Vietnam" by Ken Burns if you want to learn something, it is absolutely fantastic.

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u/aknoth Jun 28 '22

Even then it wasnt really about communism i think. It was about stopping soviet influence from spreading. What type of government they are running is often a pretext.

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u/dryhumpback Jun 28 '22

Stupid France got us involved.

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u/SomeRandomMoray Jun 28 '22

Nah, the US didn’t need to hide its supreme power. USA USA USA 🇲🇾🇲🇾🇲🇾🇲🇾🇲🇾🇲🇾🇲🇾🇲🇾

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u/PoorPDOP86 Jun 28 '22

I wonder what it's like going through life not noticing basic details because your ideology doesn't allow it. You know like the date of June 25th, 1950. When NORTH KOREAN forces started their offensive, and the Korean War, by driving in to South Korea.

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u/alanpardewchristmas Jun 28 '22

They were so democratically elected they stayed in power in Korea for decades without need for elections. Also, a suspicious number of them spoke Japanese! Fun times haha. American Bomber go brrr!

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u/creggieb Jun 28 '22

America is much more in favor of diversity. The Mujahadeen only had to learn English to get that sorta support

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u/WonUpH Jun 28 '22

Seems legit

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u/worthrone11160606 Jun 28 '22

How many forces had helicopters that we fought against though?

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u/ShadowLiberal Jun 28 '22

They had powerful allies who did.

My grandfather was drafted during the Vietnam war, but stationed in Alaska for 3 years, just in case one of the countries backing Northern Vietnam decided to expand the war beyond Vietnam by invading the US.

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u/borismuller Jun 29 '22

I have no idea why, but the idea of being stationed somewhere remote like Alaska has always seemed appealing to me. I imagine reading endless books and just enjoying the peace and quiet. It probably wouldn’t be like that in reality, mind.

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u/thescrounger Jun 28 '22

There were a total a 269 American and enemy aircraft shot down in air-to-air combat over Vietnam during the entire war — 201 in fights between the U.S. Air Force and North Vietnamese air force and just 68 in the U.S. Navy’s air battles with the North Vietnamese. In those fights, the U.S. Air Force lost 64 aircraft and the Navy lost 12. from historynet

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u/Daniel_The_Thinker Jun 28 '22

Both north and south had air forces

North Vietnam was much more professional and technologically advanced fighting force than most people think, people should remember that the next time they assume just anyone can wage guerilla warfare.

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u/FiredFox Jun 28 '22 edited Jun 28 '22

The NVA was a very highly trained, motivated and equipped professional army. They had tanks and jet fighters, and Hanoi had the world's most formidable air defense net ever constructed.

Hollywood has made it seem that the Vietcong were the only opponents American, Australian and Koreans troops had to face in the Vietnam War.

And to add to Hanoi's massive anti-air defense systems American pilots also had to contend with extremely tight and one-sided rules of engagement that for most of the war forbade them from engaging Vietnamese aircraft with beyond-visual-range missiles without a visual confirmation, forbade attacking most radar, anti-aircraft missile facilities, runways and fighter aircraft on the ground for fear of killing Chinese and Russian advisors.

The Vietnamese had very skilled pilots and were very intelligent in their use of tactics and getting the most out of their AA, but Americans were prevented from conducting a total air war which would have possibly removed all North Vietnamese air defense capability in less than 6 months if allowed to take place.

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u/NoWingedHussarsToday Jun 28 '22

Lol, who do you think this guy fought to become an ace in 1972?

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u/WonUpH Jun 28 '22

Idk. Space nazis ?

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u/PoorPDOP86 Jun 28 '22

They're not stupid enough to try it. One of the last times someone tried was the Gulf of Sidra because Qaddafi was an idiot.

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u/ymmotvomit Jun 28 '22

And we have such a high volume of extraordinarily trained fighter pilots that the number of “kills” gets watered down.

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u/thekidfromiowa Jun 28 '22 edited Jun 28 '22

Exactly the last time I checked there's no Taliban or al Qaeda air force.

Correction: The Taliban is in possession of aircraft.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armed_Forces_of_the_Islamic_Emirate_of_Afghanistan?

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u/4thofeleven Jun 28 '22

There really haven't been a lot of wars since then that provided any sort of opportunity for pilots to become an ace - air to air conflict has become extremely rare. The Yom Kippur War produced a few aces on both sides, and I believe there were a couple of Iranian fighter aces in the Iran-Iraq war - I think they might be the last, and that was more than forty years ago.

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u/DrubiusMaximus Jun 28 '22

Most A2A missiles nowadays are fired from miles away.

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u/ClayGCollins9 Jun 29 '22

Before the War in Ukraine, there was just one recorded aerial dogfight since 2000. That was during the 2019 border skirmish between India and Pakistan where an Indian MiG-21 was shot down by a Pakistani F-16.

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u/skooterpoop Jun 28 '22 Silver Gold Endless Coolness

Except Maverick, of course.

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u/juiceman730 Jun 28 '22

It only took him 30 years and 8 fly-bys and 1 Admirals daughter...

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u/Smalz95 Jun 28 '22

Whose the admirals daughter?

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u/Masonius Jun 28 '22

Penny Benjamin, the bar tender.

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u/dutchmen65 Jun 28 '22

Bar OWNER.

Well played

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u/a_rainbow_serpent Jun 28 '22

It’s hilarious they took a throw away line from 30 years ago and turned it into a minor character

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u/thekeffa Jun 28 '22

Because they did not want to use Kelly McGillis character, "Charlie" the instructor whom he has a relationship with in the first film.

I thought it kinda sucked they didn't at least give her a nod of some kind in the film (Arguably they did in a flashback scene but I personally don't think it counts as her being there was purely incidental in the background).

They obviously tried to go for an age appropriate love interest for him but then when you look at Kelly McGillis today compared to Jennifer Connelly, you can surmise all kinds of reasons why they did it, and a lot of them aren't particularly nice.

And of course Kelly McGillis called it herself. I will let her own words speak for her.

When Entertainment Tonight asked McGillis in 2019 if she was approached to return for "Top Gun: Maverick" she said she never was.

"I'm old, and I'm fat, and I look age-appropriate for what my age is," she said. "And that is not what that whole scene is about."

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u/a_rainbow_serpent Jun 29 '22

Yeah, I do think she at least should have been acknowledged because she was a big part of the first movie. Even if as a special appearance like Val Kilmer. Wouldn’t have been hard to play her off as Secretary of State or SecNav .

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u/TomNguyen Jun 29 '22

hey obviously tried to go for an age appropriate love interest for him but then when you look at Kelly McGillis today compared to Jennifer Connelly, you can surmise all kinds of reasons why they did it, and a lot of them aren't particularly nice.

The Navy didnt want it so it wouldnt promote relationship between officers and servicemen

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u/NotWrongOnlyMistaken Jun 28 '22 edited Jul 11 '22

[redacted]

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u/DrestinBlack Jun 28 '22

The one mentioned in the first movie and bar owner in the second

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u/tuffdadsf Jun 28 '22

Who's on first and is a man.

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u/PoorPDOP86 Jun 28 '22

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u/BetterCallSal Jun 28 '22

We'll settle this the old navy way.

First guy to die, loses!

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u/SD99FRC Jun 28 '22

I want to say that I love that of all the lines you could choose from either film, that was the one you did.

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u/BetterCallSal Jun 28 '22

President Benson!

No you're not. I've seen him on tv. He's an older man about my height

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u/Genghis_John Jun 28 '22

These men have taken a vow a chastity, like their fathers and their fathers before them.

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u/BobSacramanto Jun 28 '22

That’s a negative, ghost-rider, the pattern is full.

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u/PokemonMaster619 Jun 29 '22

Danger Zone!!!

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u/buckykat Jun 28 '22

We don't fight anybody with an air force anymore

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u/Someone7174 Jun 28 '22

Marine: we had to fight against the Iraq navy.

Me: Iraq had a Navy?

Marine: yeah. For a few hours.

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u/anevilpotatoe Jun 28 '22

With respect to his service, The way this is looking, Ace numbers are about to look like rookie numbers.

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u/Jsimpson059 Jun 28 '22 edited Jun 28 '22

The Iraqi air force existed, we just unloaded billions of dollars on it till it was practically grounded

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u/buckykat Jun 28 '22

Iraqi pilots got literally one air to air kill in Desert Storm

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u/OldeFortran77 Jun 28 '22

Iraq is the country that had part of their air force fly to "friendly" Iran (who I don't believe ever gave the planes back) and buried another part of their air force thinking they'd be flyable after they were dug out of the sand.

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u/computeraddict Jun 28 '22

They'd be more flyable dug out of sand than left on the tarmac to eat bombs, tho

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u/OldeFortran77 Jun 28 '22

The end result was the same. They became scrap. Sand in every nook and cranny is bad news.

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u/MiriamSasko Jun 28 '22

You mean, sand is coarse and irritating, and it gets everywhere?

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u/_SgrAStar_ Jun 28 '22

That’s my experience with it.

uh-oh, am I evil?

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u/FamiliarWater Jun 28 '22

They should of at least put them in containers or welded steel box... or something.

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u/PigSlam Jun 28 '22

They need those bags you use with a vacuum cleaner to get most of the air out.

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u/imatwork999 Jun 28 '22

Iraq had the 3rd largest airport prior to the gulf war.

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u/Deadhawk142 Jun 28 '22

“The United States won air superiority in Europe by 1944 and the Pacific by the fall, won it in Korea in 1950 and hasn't lost control of the skies since. No American service members on the ground have died from enemy air attacks since three were killed during the Korean War more than 60 years ago.”

Source: https://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/109356/air-superiority-advantage-over-enemy-skies-for-60-years/

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u/AgoraiosBum Jun 28 '22

USAF: "Fight me, you cowards!"

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u/buckykat Jun 28 '22

brown ten year olds: [screaming]

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u/davidinphila Jun 28 '22

I was a Stinger platoon leader. I got mobilized for Desert Shield but never sent because the knew the USAF and USN/USMC would handle them before we even got our missiles out of the box.

I'm convinced the Stingers I didn't use in 1991 finally saw life this Spring in Ukraine.

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u/noob_lvl1 Jun 28 '22

I’m pretty sure the second biggest Air Force in the world is the US Navy.

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u/bonzojon Jun 28 '22

it is. And the 4th is the US marines I believe.

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u/PoorPDOP86 Jun 28 '22

Nobody with an Air Force is dumb enough to try.

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u/Marquis_De_Carabas69 Jun 29 '22

Tell that to Pete “Maverick” Mitchell and his super awesome mid-air plane flippery pal

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u/ChimpskyBRC Jun 28 '22

Related fun fact: the only air aces in the F-14 Tomcat are Iranian

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u/sf_randOOm Jun 28 '22

Hmmmm, I don’t get it, why are the Iraqi MiG-21’s exploding out of thin air? AIM 54-Phoenix: how are you doing on this fine day

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u/ChimpskyBRC Jun 28 '22 edited Jun 28 '22

Iirc Iran never got the Phoenix but just the F-14A’s which were delivered pre-Revolution were still more than capable enough with other missiles

Edit: as it turns out Iran did have some AIM-54’s in stock by the 80’s, and did use some to splash Iraqi planes (source)

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u/sf_randOOm Jun 28 '22

Yea might have not been the phoenix but still, BVR combat was still a new concept back then

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u/ChimpskyBRC Jun 28 '22

Actually you were right, I typed too soon

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u/yosayoran Jun 28 '22

Also related, Israel holds many records for mirage fighter jets and F16s

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giora_Epstein

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u/notagoodboye Jun 28 '22

More just that we haven't fought anyone with a significant air force since then, or we've wiped it out on the ground.

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u/TaskForceCausality Jun 29 '22

I don’t think most people realize the level of airpower the US can bring. Here’s a stat to put things in perspective;the 58th TFW shot down 16 Iraqi planes in Desert Storm with their F-15s. That’s a fair amount of enemy planes to wreck, but they happened over 1,800 sorties!

Meaning if you were a pilot who hypothetically flew every single one of those F-15 sorties, you’d have a .08% chance of getting ONE kill.America deploys so much airborne firepower that even shooting down one enemy airplane in a dedicated air to air combat wing is PowerBall odds.

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u/Honey-and-Venom Jun 28 '22

do they actually have to kill the pilot? or is shooting down the plane enough?

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u/The_Thunder_Child Jun 28 '22

The plane has to be either shot down, forced to crash or surrendered.

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u/Littlepsycho41 Jun 28 '22

They don't even have to shoot down the plane even. I know in Desert Storm, a pilot was credited with a "Maneuvering Kill" by evading an Iraqi plane to the point where it crashed into the ground.

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u/SayNoToStim Jun 28 '22

If they truly did that, I think that should count.

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u/Littlepsycho41 Jun 28 '22

https://tacairnet.com/2013/09/10/unarmed-kill/ Here's an article about it.

https://youtu.be/zxRgfBXn6Mg?t=700. Also spoken about at this time stamp in this visual documentary about the Desert Storm Air War.

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u/thanksforthework Jun 28 '22

Upvote for this. Anyone who hasn't seen the desert storm air war vid is missing out on a top notch video

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u/Lawdoc1 Jun 28 '22

Only Vietnam Air Force Ace Pilot - Last name Richie

Only Vietnam Navy Ace Pilot - Last name Cunningham

Coincidence? You be the judge.

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u/joecarter93 Jun 28 '22

That's not true. Captain Pete Mitchell had five kills as of 2022 according to the documentary "Top Gun: Maverick"

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u/fargmania Jun 29 '22

You posted so I didn't have to. Well done, soldier.

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u/AudibleNod 313 Jun 28 '22

Part of that is countries are afraid of using those assets against the US when there's a conflict against the US. Iraq flew most of it's fighter jets to Iran at the outset of Desert Storm. Likewise, Yugoslavia kept all it's ships in port during the Kosovo conflict. This allows them to use them in regional conflicts.

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u/kaloonzu Jun 28 '22

Can't imagine why...

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u/Trippingthewire Jun 28 '22

They told you why

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u/kaloonzu Jun 28 '22

I meant why they don't bother using them against the US, it was rhetorical: they would surely be lost.

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u/Trippingthewire Jun 28 '22

Already implied by saying that allowed them to be used for other reasons!

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u/Acceptable_Clock2353 Jun 28 '22

Yesterday I learned that wine is sometimes measured in what are called "Butts" and a certain, large amount of wine is technically known as a "butt-load"

Your handle reminded me of this valuable information

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u/Soggy-Inside-3246 Jun 28 '22

Well I mean, Tom cruise aka Maverick is an ace now.

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u/DrJawn Jun 28 '22

Air to Air

US pilots have killed a fuck ton of people since 1972, they're just people on the ground

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u/OldManTrumpet Jun 28 '22

A lot fewer than before 1972 though. The Dresden bombings alone in WWII killed 22,000 to 25,000 people. The Tokyo bombings killed 80,000-130,000.

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u/DrJawn Jun 28 '22

Yeah plus Hiroshima and Nagasaki

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u/OldManTrumpet Jun 28 '22

Yes. I didn't mention those because those are really outliers. But things like Dresden and Tokyo were normal bombing raids with conventional bombs. People don't seem to realize that civilian casualties today are a small fraction of what they were in previous engagements.

23,000 were killed during the German bombing raids over Britain. Such numbers would be unheard of today.

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u/popejubal Jun 28 '22

Came in to say this. One bomb from a plane can (and sometimes does) kill dozens of people.

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u/Jakeinspace Jun 28 '22

One bomb from a plane once killed 100 thousand people!

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u/Drewfus300 Jun 28 '22

Up until a few years ago Ritchie was still flying the Phantom - the Collings Foundation aircraft at airshows, an F-4D. He still flies F-104 Starfighters.

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u/SouthTexasCowboy Jun 28 '22

wrong. pete mitchell 2022

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u/smashlorsd425 Jun 28 '22

Hangman had 3?

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u/BritishGolgo13 Jun 28 '22

You mean Bagman.

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u/soccorsticks Jun 29 '22

And he only has 2.

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u/Mereinid Jun 28 '22

Wrong. Maverick just did it last weekend.

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u/Toasted_Bagels_R_Gud Jun 28 '22

whats the high score?

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u/thesexychicken Jun 29 '22

Obviously this is misinformation as Pete Mitchell is the last American pilot to become an ace…

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u/nta-mobi Jun 28 '22

I beg to differ. Maverick now has five. I just saw the documentary.

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u/jdmbuick Jun 28 '22

It's like OP didn't even do any research

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u/nta-mobi Jun 28 '22

It’s not like they couldn’t have checked it out in any local cinema.

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u/1autist_boi Jun 28 '22

False. CAPT Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, USN accomplished that feat in 2022.

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u/Ph33rDensetsu Jun 28 '22

Well good for h--OOH MY GOD!

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u/Good_Adeptness7325 Jun 28 '22

Did you know that the term ace is an acronym for air combat excellence?

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u/computeraddict Jun 28 '22

Knowing the military, it's probably a backronym

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u/Daniel_The_Thinker Jun 28 '22

No way it's not from the playing card

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u/Angdrambor Jun 28 '22

You're right. It was apparently the name of a small roman coin. Eventually made its way around 1300 to being the "1" side on a dice. It ended up as the playing card in the 1500s. Sometime between 1500 and 1800, people invented more games that use the ace high card instead of a low card, and it gradually shifted the extended uses of the word from meaning "shitty" to meaning "awesome".

"Ace in the hole" has attestations from 1904, so it definitely predates air combat.

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u/TathanOTS Jun 28 '22

Probably one of those things.

There is an early episode (maybe 1st?) Of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D where one character tests another by asking what it stands for. Then they ask what it means, and the reply is along the lines of "someone really wanted to spell out shield".

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u/uk_uk Jun 28 '22

Fun fact... german aces in WW1 were called "Kanone" or "Canon" by the germans. Ace or "Ass" was used way later.

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u/SatelliteHeaven Jun 28 '22

Tell me you just watched Top Gun Maverick without telling me you watched it.

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u/Lee1070kfaw Jun 28 '22

Rich Richie

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u/GOU_NoMoreMrNiceGuy Jun 28 '22

that information is out of date. in late spring of 2022, the navy's captain peter mitchell became the latest ace.