Western Museum of Flight

Warrior for the Hostile Skies: The F-105 in Vietnam Lecture

Address: Western Museum of Flight - 3315 Airport Dr Torrance, California 9050

Guest Lecturer: USAF Captain Gary Barnhill

Museum Members: Free

Non-Members: $10

Captain Gary Barnhill’s combat career began with F-105 missions in the hazardous and challenging skies over North Vietnam, the highest threat environment of the entire war. These missions required Thud pilots to face massive anti-aircraft artillery and Russian SAM missile defenses, as well as attacks by MiG jet fighters. Shot down Thud pilots had only a 50% chance of being rescued. They averaged being shot down three times during their tour giving way to their expression: “There ain’t no way” (to get out alive). Captain Barnhill will share some of the most harrowing of these North Vietnam combat experiences, as well as flying high-accident-rate no-flap F-100C Super Sabre in Europe 1958-1962. His ordeals included a risky and near fatal refueling episode, and an experimental Hunter-Killer mission, to detect and destroy the first elusive SAM missile sites. At extreme risk to his own life, Captain Barnhill and a few colleagues succeeded in destroying SAM missile sites, before the Wild Weasel mission was invented. These are fascinating reminiscences, and you won’t want to miss them.