Sunday, May 14, 1972
Daredevil Pilot Lost In Dogfight Over North Viet
Lt. Col. Joseph W. Kittinger Jr., went to Vietnam on his third tour of duty in May last year to "get a MIG," according to his mother, Mrs. Joseph W. Kittinger Sr., of Orlando.
Kittinger, 44, realized his goal March 2 when he shot down the 114th Russian-built MIG fighter plane destroyed by American pilots in Southeast Asia.
But on Thursday Kittinger's Phantom jet was shot down following an aerial duel only 17 days before he was to return to the United States for reassignment.
Married and the father of two sons, Kittinger had long been an Air Force test pilot and had been a flier since 1949.
In the l950s he was lauded in newspaper headlines as "the first man in space" when he rode a small gondola under a huge balloon to 96,000 feet on June 2, 1957.
The balloon was not designed to return the rider to earth, so Kittinger came back by parachute.
The World Book Encyclopedia's list of balloon altitude records credits Kittinger with making a record 102,800-foot jump on Aug. 16, 1960.
During the 4 ½ -minute, 16-mile free fall before his parachute opened, Kittinger calmly munched on a peanut butter sandwich while watching the earth rush up to him at 614 miles per hour.
"Daredevil Pilot Lost in Dogfight Over North Viet", by (AP), published in the Pacific Stars and Stripes on Sunday, May 14, 1972 and reprinted from European and Pacific Stars and Stripes, a Department of Defense publication copyright, 2002 European and Pacific Stars and Stripes.
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