More
    HomeMilitaryHeroic Tale of Maj. Leo K. Thorsness and His Valiant Vietnam War...

    Heroic Tale of Maj. Leo K. Thorsness and His Valiant Vietnam War Actions

    Published on

    spot_img
    070811-F-2616H-010” by Kenny Holston 21 is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

    During the Vietnam War, acts of bravery were not uncommon, but some went above and beyond the call of duty. One such story is that of Air Force Major Leo K. Thorsness, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his extraordinary gallantry in the skies over North Vietnam.

    F-105 Thunderchief, 1984 (3)” by euthman is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    On April 19, 1967, a day like any other in the heat of the Vietnam conflict, Major Thorsness led a flight of four F-105F Thunderchiefs on a mission that would etch his name into the annals of military history.

    Republic F-105 Thunderchief armament display” by aeroman3 is licensed under CC CC0 1.0

    Their task was an “Iron Hand” mission, a perilous operation aimed to suppress enemy air defenses in support of a raid against the Xuan Mai army barracks and storage area.

    Republic F-105F-1-RE Thunderchief 63-8357 in Savigny-les Beaune” by J.Comstedt is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    The F-105 Thunderchief, affectionately known as the “Thud,” was the aircraft of choice for this formidable assignment. Built by Republic Aviation, the F-105 was a supersonic tactical fighter-bomber developed to replace the F-84F.

    F-105D Thunderchief” by rocbolt is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    Among the 833 Thunderchiefs built, 610 were the F-105D model, designed for the rigors of combat as the US faced the challenges of the Cold War and beyond.

    Republic F-105 ‘Thunderchief’” by aeroman3 is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    On that fateful April day, as Major Thorsness and his squadron darted across the sky, they encountered hostile fire and engaged in air-to-air combat.

    Republic F-105 Thunderchief” by amphalon is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    Amid the chaos, Major Thorsness’s wingman was hit and began leaking fuel. Demonstrating exceptional leadership and situational awareness, Thorsness directed a tanker to assist the imperiled aircraft.

    F-105 Thunderchief Wild Weasel Static Display” by JeromeG111 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Thorsness, despite his F-105 not being designed for air-to-air combat, engaged the MiG and successfully destroyed it using 20-mm cannon fire, while a second MiG approached from behind.

    Republic F-105 ‘Thunderchief’” by aeroman3 is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    Yet, in what could only be described as a double-edged sword of fortune, Thorsness’s own aircraft soon faced a critical situation – the fuel gauge reading “empty.”

    F-105 Thunderchief – Arnold A.F.B.” by SeeMidTN.com (aka Brent) is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    What followed was nothing short of extraordinary. With a daring mix of skill and resolve, When within 60 miles of Udorn, he throttled back to idle and “glided” toward the base, touching down “long” (mid-runway) as his fuel totalizer indicated empty tanks.

    F-111 Republican F-105 Thunderchief” by www78 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    Major Thorsness’s actions on that day went beyond the successful completion of the mission. His bravery, tactical acumen, and selfless decision-making under pressure saved lives and contributed to the overall success of the operation, earning him the highest military honor awarded by the United States government – the Congressional Medal of Honor.

    Republic F-105 Thunderchiefs from Hill AFB” by aeroman3 is licensed under CC CC0 1.0

    Those who delve into the details of such historic encounters often find themselves in awe of the capabilities of military aircraft like the F-105 and the valor of pilots like Major Thorsness.

    File:Frontiers of Flight Museum December 2015 007 (Republic F-105 Thunderchief).jpg” by Michael Barera is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

    As the listeners of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast, episode 2784, learned about Major Thorsness’s Congressional Medal of Honor award honors, it undoubtedly sparked a sense of pride and respect.

    Republic F-105 Thunderchief, Mobile” by nigelmenzies is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    The F-105 pilot, Major Thorsness, who faced down death and emerged victorious, will forever remain an emblem of the bravery that military service can demand, and the human spirit that soars even when the fuel gauge reads “empty.”

    F-105 Thunderchief” by Rennett Stowe is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Lieutenant Colonel Thorsness demonstrated extraordinary heroism, self-sacrifice, and personal bravery under significant risk, upholding the highest military standards and bringing great credit to himself and the U.S. Air Force.

    Relevant articles:
    Episode 2784 – Medal of Honor tribute to Air Force Maj. Leo K. Thorsness, Vietnam Veteran News

    Latest articles

    FN Five-seveN MRD: A New Era in Precision Handguns

    The FN Five-seveN has stood out in the modern firearms landscape for years, known...

    Raytheon’s Breakthrough: Achieving Milestones in the HALO Program

    The United States Navy is enhancing its offensive prowess and strategic vision by developing...

    Significance of Reagan Test Site in US Hypersonic Weapon Testing

    The US Air Force has garnered attention with the successful trial of a prototype...

    The B-21 Raider of the U.S. Air Force Prepares for Deployment Despite Production Hurdles and Hypersonic Competition

    The B-21 Raider, the United States Air Force's new stealth bomber, is edging closer...

    More like this

    FN Five-seveN MRD: A New Era in Precision Handguns

    The FN Five-seveN has stood out in the modern firearms landscape for years, known...

    Raytheon’s Breakthrough: Achieving Milestones in the HALO Program

    The United States Navy is enhancing its offensive prowess and strategic vision by developing...

    Significance of Reagan Test Site in US Hypersonic Weapon Testing

    The US Air Force has garnered attention with the successful trial of a prototype...