Richard Ritchie ("Steve"). Biography. Fighting. Ranks. Photo.
Many wanted to become pilots aces with childhood-adolescence, but Steve was an exception - a career pilot, he was not even thinking. But things are changing, Ritchie entered the USAF military service and received at the end of 1962 qualified pilot. The first combat experience he got in Vietnam, flying a "phantom". Further, the city 1972, 3000 hours about the incident, Richard returned for a second term.
2 first victory over the fighter MiG-21 he won 10 and 31 May. July 8 Ritchie led a unit, providing a route of escape, the task was to protect the retreating forces of the shock. One "Phantom" at high altitude was damaged by missiles for-13, another "Phantom" at the same time he is out of order.
Returning, they delivered a message about his situation, course and altitude, it was not a good idea, North Vietnamese troops were ready to respond. Richard turned his unit to assist, to go down to 5000 feet. When approaching Banana Valley, a little south-west of Hanoi, he received a message that the MiGs caught them on sight and are preparing to launch rockets. Ritchie picked up sharply to the left, after a few seconds MiGs came back:
"We flew at a speed of 600 miles per hour at a distance of 1000 feet of each other. It was a silver MiG-21, I did not see the second, but he knew that he was there".
Richard made a horizontal "barrel" and flew down to the second Miguén flying in 8000 feet behind the lead. As they passed, he turned, turned and spotted overtaking MiG. Ritchie fulfilled vector "barrel", coming from behind at a distance of 6000 feet. Ritchie pulled the trigger twice, by the time the MiG approached.
The first missile hit the target. Following maneuvers Richard, his flight was over, and at that time the leading MiG-21 performed a U-turn and went to the tail Fizelu Tommy, who flew the fourth. MiG Ritchie was right, but he did not at first able to detect it:
"When I was discharged in the plane was burning, immediately crossed the circle in the direction where presumably was the MiG. Flying through the circle, surely caught him on sight."
MiG, having lost interest in Fizelu changed the course of 180 degree and flew down to Ritchie. American has started a missile at a distance from the enemy, in 3000 feet. And got! The battle lasted about two minutes. Another pair of MiGs flew its course, but Richard came out of the fight by the time he ran out of fuel and rockets.
In the spring of 1974 Ritchie retired. He engaged in politics and business.
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