The Untold Story of American pilots in the Vietnam War who flew F-105 "Thuds" and their dedicated ground crews - together they battled the enemy in the air and bureaucrats on the ground
Forgotten F-105 Warriors is a documentary film that will capture the personal stories of these heroes - these warriors - for this generation and the next.
Fifty years have passed since these warriors fought a war that
resulted in the loss of so many.
Now is the time to get these warriors and their families in front of the camera
to preserve their thoughts and feelings from those days.
When I was asked by Gene Basel’s family to write a screenplay based on his book, Pak Six, I knew nothing about Operation Rolling Thunder. I had never heard about the intense air battles that were carried out over North Vietnam between March 1965 and 1968 from US Air Bases hidden in the jungles of Thailand. I had no idea that this air campaign—the worst since the aerial bombardment of Germany during World War II—was a disaster for America and for the thousands of pilots who were asked to undertake impossible missions.
Reading Gene Basel’s book was an eye opener. He was a Thunderchief F-105 pilot, who was shot down while entering the area called Pak Six, a direct path to Hanoi—where anti-aircraft installations and Russian MiGs were waiting for him. Basel survived to tell his story. Sadly, 342 F-105’s were shot down—hundreds of pilots were killed, others ended up as prisoners-of-war for many years.
This tragic story was kept secret from the American people. The heavy hand of President Johnson and the politicians in Washington, DC, created a heartbreaking disaster. Targeting bore little resemblance to reality. The sequence of attacks was uncoordinated, and the targets were approved randomly – even illogically. The North's airfields, which, according to any rational targeting policy, should have been hit first in the campaign, were also off-limits.
Forgotten F-105 Warriors’ docu-drama mini-series is an important story that needs to be told. The F-105 pilots were the best of the best. Their groundcrews risked their lives to keep their planes in the air. Their personal stories are inspirational. Many sacrificed their lives, others their health. They served proudly and bravely. They deserve to be recognized for their incredible sacrifices and service to America.
I am forever grateful to the brave men of our military,
Interview with Col. Leo K. Thorsness