Monday, August 15, 2011

2011 Air & Space Highlights: Colonel DeBellevue, Air War over Vietnam

Capt. Charles B. DeBellevue.
(Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force)
While flying during the Vietnam War, Chuck DeBellevue became the first Air Force Weapon Systems Officer (WSO) to become a flying "Ace".

Colonel Charles “Chuck” DeBellevue logged over 550 combat hours while flying 220 combat missions during his combat tours – 96 of those missions were over North Vietnam alone. He is credited with the destruction of six North Vietnamese jet fighters in aerial combat (four MiG-21s and two MiG-19s) – the most earned by any U.S. aviator during the Vietnam War.

Join us at this year’s Air & Space Conference and Technology Expo, where you’ll get to hear from veterans who’ve left their marks on history. In a session titled “Air War over Vietnam”, DeBellevue will highlight how the US operated on a daily basis in the area in and around Hanoi, North Vietnam; how they trained for the air to air missions; how they flew into the most heavily defended area of the world; and the results achieved.

Colonel DeBellevue was born Aug 15, 1945, in New Orleans, LA. He earned a B.S. in Physics with a minor in Math from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1968 and a Master of Business Administration degree from Chapman College in 1979.  He is also a graduate of Squadron Officer School, Armed Forces Staff College and the Air Force and Army War Colleges.

Commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps in 1968, Colonel DeBellevue attended undergraduate navigator training at Mather Air Force Base, CA, graduating in 1969.  He later was assigned to the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand in October 1971, where he was an Instructor Weapon Systems Officer, served as a Laredo High Speed Forward Air Controller and was a lead crew for MIGCAP Air-to-Air missions during Linebacker I.  He went on to be the leading "ACE" from the war in Southeast Asia and was awarded the MacKay Trophy for the most notable aerial achievement in 1972.

Capts. Steve Ritchie (left) and Charles DeBellevue prepare for a mission in their F-4 Phantom.

After graduating from undergraduate pilot training in November 1973, Colonel DeBellevue flew with the 8th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Holloman Air Force Base (AFB), NM and was an Instructor Pilot with the 43rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, Elmendorf AFB, AK.  He later went on to become Chief of Staff of the Air Force Flight Test Center (in 1991), followed shortly by command of the 95th Air Base Wing at Edwards AFB a position he held for over three years. While the Commander of the 95th Air Base Wing, he was in charge of all Air Force support involved in over 20 Space Shuttle recoveries. Colonel DeBellevue’s final assignment was as the commander of AFROTC Detachment 440 at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Catch Colonel DeBellevue on Tuesday, September, at 1:15pm! But remember, at AFA's Air & Space Conference and Technology Expo, you can choose from more than four dozen conference addresses, forums and workshops. Besides being the perfect venue for professional development, its a great opportunity to engage in open dialogue on important national defense issue. Don't forget to register early!

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