14 July 1966, F-4C (SN Unknown) / MiG-21 / AIM-9.
Two MIG-21’s were destroyed on 14 July by F-4C aircrews of the 480th TFS. Capt. William J. Swendner and 1st Lt. Duane A. Buttell, Jr. flew the lead Phantom, and 1st Lts. Ronald G. Martin and Richard N. Krieps the number 2 aircraft. They were part of a flight of four F-4s providing MIG cover for an Iron Hand flight of three F-105’s.
Following the Thunderchiefs north of Hanoi, the Phantom flight, in a right turn, sighted the first MIG-21 in a 7 o’clock position. The F-4s jettisoned their tanks and spotted a second MIG pursuing the third F-105. Even though the second MIG closed in on the F-105, the pilot continued his Shrike launch. Captain Swendner and his wingman gave chase.
Swendner’s first Sidewinder passed close to the MIG’s canopy without detonating, and the MIG pilot lit his afterburner, initiating a 30 degree climb to the right. Swendner’s second Sidewinder detonated behind the MIG, but seconds later a third one went up the MIG’s tailpipe and blew the enemy aircraft into pieces.
Lieutenant Martin, meanwhile, had maneuvered behind the second MIG, which was attacking the fourth Phantom. Just after the MIG missed that aircraft with a missile and initiated a climb with afterburner on, Martin fired a Sidewinder which impacted near the right side of the MIG’s tail. The pilot ejected at once.
From an article in the Desert Sun, a local daily newspaper that served Palm Springs and the surrounding Coachella Valley in Southern California, published 14 July 1966:
U.S. Jets Shoot Down Red MIGs Near Hanoi
SAIGON (UPI) —U.S. Air Force Jets today shot down two Communist MiG-21 fighters in a high noon dogfight three minutes flying time from the North Vietnamese capital of Hanoi. It was the second air battle in as many days over the North and the third kill for F4 Phantom pilots in less than 24 hours. Navy airmen Wednesday brought down a MIGI7 with a heat-seeking Sidewinder missile. The MiG-21s, the best aircraft the Communists have thrown into the war, were blasted out of the skies 22 miles northwest of Hanoi and 50 miles northwest of the Red capital, U.S. spokesmen said. Credited with the first kill today were 1st Lt. Duane A. Buttell, 25, of Chillicothe, IL., and Capt. William J. Swender, 31, of Alamogordo, N.M. The second MiG-21 was hit by Lt. Ronald G. Martin, 26, of Lake Villa, IL., and 1st Lt. Richard N. Krieps, 24, of Chesterton, Ind.
“The MIG looked like a big red barn door,” said Buttell. “We shot him down with our first missile.”’
No American planes were lost in any of the dogfights but the air war was “heating up,” a spokesman in Saigon said. U.S. Air Force and Navy pilots flew 85 missions over the north Wednesday, concentrating on targets near Hanoi, the key port of Haiphong and along the southern panhandle on the coast, through which Communist supplies flow into South Viet Nam. They bombed bridges, barges, warehouses, trucks, roads and antiaircraft sites. Pilots said numerous secondary explosions were set off. The battle Wednesday occurred when six North Vietnamese jets attacked four carrier-based Phantoms near Hanoi. The North Vietnamese charged today U.S. planes Tuesday bombed dikes in the Red River Delta region near Hanoi, hoping to cause vast flooding “and jeopardize the lives of millions of Vietnamese people.” U.S. officials in Saigon denied the charge but said dikes have occasionally been damaged by bombs dropped on nearby targets. A U.S. Air Force spokesman said today the air war over North Viet Nam was “really intensifying.” He said the 1,400-mile-an-hour MiG-21s “are beginning to latch onto our strike force.” U.S. Navy and Air Force planes also are the targets of Soviet-supplied surface-to-air (SAM) missiles and 100 mm antiaircraft guns.