Dinner Meeting Reviews

thud4Our September 18 dinner meeting presentation offered the dynamic duo of Col. Robert Ettinger and Col. Roy Martin who both served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. We enjoyed hearing about the adventures they both had during their tours of duty. Col. Robert Ettinger started out the presentation by discussing the nine month period he flew F-4’s in the late 1960’s in a period of the war called Rolling Thunder. During that duty he flew 100 missions over North Vietnam. Robert shared with us about enemy ground defense, their significant number of SA-2 SAM Surface to Air Missiles (one type they called the Flying Telephone Pole), plus their heavy concentration of Anti Aircraft Artillery.

Robert also discussed our defensive tactics against the SA-2 SAM. We learned about USAF tactics along with the Alpha Strike Force timeline. Alpha Strike Force limitations included distance to targets, reliance on aerial refueling and predictable ingress/egress routes. Just introduced to the Air Force was the first terminally guided air-to-ground munition called the AGM-62 Walleye, which included a TV guided glide bomb with a 1,100 lb. shaped charge. A constant challenge included being up against numerous MiG’s which complicated things, as their primary tactic was to disrupt the Alpha Strike Force. Robert also shared with us his Ettinger’s Rules of Survival. They obviously served him well!

We then heard from Col. Roy Martin who served in Vietnam from May 1972 – May 1973 as an F-4 fighter pilot. This period of the war included the names Linebacker I and Linebacker II and had some differences in focus than the previous Rolling Thunder period in which Robert served. At this later time, there was improved laser bomb technology which included higher release altitudes and more precise targeting. There were also improved air to air tactics against MiG threats. Linebacker II included the 11 Days of Christmas (December 18-29, 1972) when peace talks fell apart and we resumed bombing of North Vietnam. The Peace Treaty was signed January 28, 1973.

It was a terrific presentation which kept the audience focused on what Robert and Roy experienced during their two distinct tours of duty during the Vietnam War. A special thank you Robert and Roy for sharing with us this important time of their lives and for their service to our country.