The most talented and fearless group of pilots every assembled.
Day after day they flew into the jaws of death in service for our country.
Flying out of Korat and Takhli, the F-105 pilots - known as Thud drivers - faced enormous losses.
Almost fifty percent of the 837 F-105s were lost in combat and hundreds of pilots were killed or captured.
Pictured at right:
Tom Boatman, John Morrissey, Charlie Copin, Matt Kech, Sam Waters, Ray Moss, Frank Tullo, Bill Hosmer
Photo courtesy of Bill Hosmer
Anyone who ever met Billy knows that he was a very special member of the F-105 community. He flew more than 145 combat sorties over North Vietnam and was awarded three Silver Stars, seven Distinguished Flying Crosses and fifteen Air Medals. His interview at the 355th Reunion in Dayton will be a feature of our documentary.
His book, Takhli Tales, is a riveting collection of stories that recall those turbulent years when F-105 pilots took part in Operation Rolling Thunder. Weaved throughout the book is the love story with his beloved wife, Dell.
The book is available on Amazon.com.
Lt. Colonel Billy "Sparky" Sparks - Interviewed by our Producer, Jonathan Chambers - 333rd Reunion at USAF Museum, Dayton - October 2012
Thanks to everyone who has made a donation in honor of Sparky.
He believed that this project is important because it honors those who gave so much to their country.
Want to honor someone? Would you like your story on our webpages?
Contact: info@forgottenf-105 warriors.com
"Our air warriors are flying west faster than we can stop them long enough to tell them how much we love, respect and admire all of them for their service and their courage.
The outstanding documentary, Forgotten F-105 Warriors, is a fitting and worthy tribute to the men who flew the F-105 Thunderchief.
Their story - THIS story - deserves a starring place in United States aviation history."
The Famous Electronic Warfare Officers
They are too often forgotten...now we want
to honor the heroic EWOs who sat second seat
on Weasel flights.
If you have a story and photos about an EWO, please write to us at:
On April 4, 1965 while flying his F-105 (Tail #591754), Frank Bennett was shot down. He was the first F-105 pilot killed in action during Operation Rolling Thunder.
On that same day James Magnusson was also KIA and Carlyle "Smitty" Harris was shot down and became the first F-105 POW.
If anyone has a story they would like to share about F-105 pilot, EWO or ground crew, please email us.
When Carlyle Smith Harris was shot down over North Vietnam he had no idea that he would remain a POW for seven years, eight months and eight days. On the day he was shot down, his beautiful wife, Louise, was waiting for him in Japan. She was eight months pregnant. Although it was thought "Smitty" had not survived, Louise knew in her heart he was alive.
This is a photo of Col. Harris and his family. When he was was released in 1972 the reporters surrounded him asking him questions. He had one simple message he wanted to share:
"God Bless America!"
These are the words of a hero.