Segments in this Video

Legends of Air Power: Richard "Steve" Ritchie: Introduction (01:15)


Richard finished at the top in his pilot training class, flew the first F-4 Combat Forward Air Control mission, became an instructor at the Fighter Weapons School, and was the only Air Force ace of the Vietnam War.

Ritchie's Early Years (05:04)

Ritchie was born June 1942, in North Carolina. He played football and attended the Air Force Academy, where he earned a reputation as a troublemaker. Ritchie reflects on the regimentation of academy life and his first flight aboard the T-37.

Gulf of Tonkin Incident (03:10)

Vietnamese PT boats were reported to have attacked an American destroyer; President Johnson pushed for the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Ritchie learned to fly the F-104 Starfighter and transitioned to the F-4 Phantom. He recalls arriving at Da Nang Air Base.

Combat Experience (05:06)

Pilots in Vietnam labored under restrictive rules of engagement; Ritchie became part of Fast Forward Air Control. He returned to the U.S. in 1969 and attended Fighter Weapons School where he became an instructor; he wanted to return to Vietnam.

Combat Air Patrol (03:14)

Ritchie was assigned to the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron. The Nixon Administration changed the rules of engagement. Ritchie recalls shooting down a MiG-21 and the Roger Locher rescue mission.

Fighter Ace (03:00)

Ritchie credits "Disco" with saving his life during a combat mission. He became the Air Force's first ace. By the end of his tour, he had completed 339 combat missions.

Public and Private Sectors (01:56)

Richie toured with the Thunderbirds in the U.S. and resigned his commission to run for Congress; he lost. Ritchie served in the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, and accepted political appointments. He is helping to bring the Javelin to market.

Credits: Legends of Air Power: Richard "Steve" Ritchie (00:29)

Credits: Legends of Air Power: Richard "Steve" Ritchie

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Legends of Air Power: Richard "Steve" Ritchie

Part of the Series : Legends of Air Power
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $69.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $104.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $69.95



Richard “Steve” Ritchie was the only Air Force pilot named an ace during the Vietnam War. After completing his training at the Air Force Fighter Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base, Ritchie in 1969, he became one of the youngest instructors in the school’s history. In 1972, his second combat tour in Southeast Asia allowed him to rise to ace status, bringing down 5 MiG 21s during Operation Linebacker in 1972. In addition to becoming the only ace since the Korean War, Ritchie is also the only American pilot to destroy 5 MiG 21s.

Length: 24 minutes

Item#: BVL129050

ISBN: 978-1-64198-036-4

Copyright date: ©2003

Closed Captioned

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