Medal of Honor Recipient Colonel Leo Thorsness Releases New Book

On April 19, 1967, Colonel Leo Thorsness was flying a F-105 (Wild Weasel) on a mission to destroy surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) deep in North Vietnam. After destroying two SAMs, his wingman was hit and radioed Col. Thorsness that he was going to have to eject from the aircraft. Col. Thorsness replied that he would keep him in sight.

As the other plane’s crew ejected from the aircraft, Col. Thorsness noticed an enemy MiG-17 fighter preparing to shoot the parachutists. Although his plane was not equipped for dogfights, Col. Thorsness was able to destroy the enemy fighter with his battling gun.

Low on fuel, Col. Thorsness quickly air-refueled and returned to protect the parachutists. His rear-seat weapons officer spotted four more MiG fighters in the area. He was able to down another one although he never received official credit for it because the film in his gun camera had run out.

Col. Thorsness climbed to an altitude of 35,000 feet on his way back to the nearest U.S. airfield. With his fuel tanks on empty, he glided to the base. As he landed, his engine ran out of gas.

Two weeks later, Col. Thorsness was shot down on his 93rd mission. He spent the next six years in the Hanoi Hilton where he ran into the two crew members that he had tried to save. The officer that wrote up Col. Thorsness’s Medal of Honor citation was also shot down and joined him at the Hilton.

Read more on this topic or purchase Col. Thorsness’s book Surviving Hell: A POW’s Journey released in February 2009. Below Col. Thorsness is pictured in Vietnam.
Leo Thorsness

Explore posts in the same categories: Books, Vietnam

Tags: , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: