This is a listing of all Vietnam POWs with Aerial Victory Credits in any war. The rank listed is the rank the person held at the time of their last aerial victory.

Total number of enemy aircraft shot down by Vietnam POWs: 40 plus 2 probable’s

WW II

Prisoner

Number of Aerial Kills

Details

Larry Guarino

3

USAAF-3 (Shot down 3 Bf 109s while flying a Spitfire on 1/20/1944, 1/21/1944, and 3/19/1944, all using .303-in machine guns and 20mm cannons)

Hervey S. Stockman

2

USAAF-2 (Shot down 2 Bf 109s while flying a P-51B on 7/29/1944 and 8/16/1944, both using .50-cal machine guns)

Korea

Samuel R. "Sam" Johnson

2

USAF-1, plus 1 probable (Shot down 1 MiG-15 while flying an F-86 on 5/23/1953, using .50-cal machine guns)

James H. "Jim" Kasler

6

USAF-6 (Shot down 6 MiG-15’s all while flying F-86’s: 1 on 4/1/1952, 1 on 4/21/1952, 1 on 5/4/1952, 2 on 5/15/1952, and 1 on 5/25/1952, all using .50-cal machine guns)

James F. Low

9

USAF-9 (Shot down 9 MiG-15’s all while flying F-86’s: 1 on 5/8/1952, 1 on 6/6/1952, 2 on 6/11/1952, 1 on 6/15/1952, 1 on 7/4/1952, 1 on 12/2/1952, 1 on 12/10/1952, and 1 on 12/18/1952, all using .50-cal machine guns.

Robinson Risner

8

USAF-8 (Shot down 8 MiG-15’s all while flying F-86’s: 1 on 8/5/1952, 1 on 9/5/1952, 1 on 9/15/1952, 2 on 9/21/1952, 1 on 10/22/1952, 1 on 12/4/1952, and 1 on 1/21/1953, all using .50-cal machine guns)

Vietnam

Cecil H. Brunson

1

USAF-1 (Maneuvered a MiG-19 into the ground while flying an F-4E on 10/6/1972)

John C. Ensch

2

LT John C. Ensch, USN -2 Migs.  On 5/23/1972 shot down two MiG-17s while flying as a RIO in an F-4B while in squadron VF-161 on USS Midway, both using Sidewinder missiles (more below)

Harold E. Johnson

1

USAF-1, plus 1 probable (Shot down a MiG-17 while flying as an EWO on an F-105F on 4/19/1967, using 20mm cannon)

Joseph W. Kittinger, Jr

1

USAF.  He shot down a MiG-21 while flying an F-4D on 3/1/1972, during a night-kill mission using a Sparrow missile. Two months later, Kittinger was shot down 5/11/1972 by a Mig-21.  Joe’s Weapons System Operator (WSO) was 1st Lt William Reich. Reich became a POW.  He and Kittinger became roommates of Souder in Hanoi.  Jack Ensch joined them 8/25/72.  Ensch was shot down by a surface-to-air missile.  

Kenneth A. Simonet

1

USAF-1 (Shot down a MiG-17 while flying an F-4D on 1/18/1968, using missiles)

Wayne O. Smith

1

USAF-1 (Shot down a MiG-17 while flying an F-4D on 1/18/1968, using missiles)

 

James B. Souder

1

USN on October 26, 1967 shot down a Mig-21.  His pilot was Cdr. Dave Grossheuch. The Mig pilot was Capt Mai Van Cuong. Cuong had just shot down an Air Force F4 Phantom less than 5-minutes earlier. Cuong retired as a Lt General (more below)

Charles E. Southwick

1

USN-1 October 26, 1967, (Shot down a MiG-17 while flying an F-4B on 4/24/1967, using missiles). 

Leo K. Thorsness

1

USAF-1, plus 1 probable (Shot down a MiG-17 while flying an F-105F on 4/19/1967, using 20mm cannon)

Norman L. Wells

1

USAF-1 (Shot down a MiG-17 while flying an F-105D on 7/19/1966, using 20mm cannon)

John  C.  Ensch  –  LT Ensch and his pilot, LCDR Ron “Mugs” McKeown (w/wingmen, LT Mike Rabb and LTjg Ken Crandall) were flying a MIGCAP mission protecting an ALFHA Strike going to targets in the Hai Phong Harbor area. They engaged a flight of 2 Mig-19s and 4 Mig-17s flying out of Kep Air Base in the heart of enemy territory. During the ensuing hard fought, high-speed, low level dogfight McKeown and Ensch scored two MiG-17 kills.  The first kill was a MiG-17 flown by pilot Vu Van Dang who did not survive his ejection. The second kill was by shooting down a MiG-17 off Rabb and Crandall’s six o’clock. The name of the pilot of the second MiG-17 is unknown. McKeown and Ensch received the Navy Cross and Rabb and Crandall received the Distinguished Flying Cross for their actions that day.  On a trip back to Hanoi in 2016 with a group of USN/USMC/USAF aviators to meet some of their former Vietnam adversary aviators, Ensch met one of two survivors from his May 1972 dogfight, Col. Nguyen Van Lam. During their meeting Ensch found out from Col. Lam that the two MiG-19 pilots and two of other the MiG-17 pilots from their 1972 dogfight did not survive the war. The other MiG-17 pilot lived in Saigon and was unable to attend the meeting in Hanoi.

Ensch was shot down by a surface-to-air missile flying with LCDR Mike Doyle, USN. Doyle never showed up in the POW system. Ironically Ensch and Doyle were shot down in the same plane in which Ensch and McKeown scored their double MiG kills. Doyle’s remains were returned to U.S. custody in August 14, 1985. He is buried in Arlington Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

 

James B. Souder –  He was Vietnam’s second leading ace with eight kills of U.S. aircraft. LT Souder’s aerial victory came about while he directed his section of F-4s through a 20-mile intercept of a MIG-21 as a Radar Intercept Officer. This is the longest-range intercept-to-kill during the Vietnam War. When his own weapons system failed, he directed his wingman onto the MIG.  The wingman, Lt (jg) Robert Hickey destroyed the aircraft with a Sparrow missile. 

Souder later was shot down by a MiG-21 while flying as a RIO in an F-4N, 4/27/1972. 

Souder’s pilot was Lt Al Molinare.  In December 2010, Souder met the Vietnamese pilot who shot him down.  His name was 1lt Hoang Quoc Dung. Dung later retired as a Col, Head of the Air Department, Hanoi Defense University.  This would be equivalent to U.S. War Colleges. 

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