Who is America’s Newest Ace?

America’s Newest Ace


America’s newest ace – by Daves Warbirds

Who holds the title of “America’s newest ace”? Has any U.S. pilot become an ace since Vietnam? One of the reasons why I ask (besides personal curiosity) is that here in my local CAF group we have an ex-P-38 pilot named Jack Walker, who in the late 1990’s (1997 or 1999, I think) finally got the officially-recognized confirmation of his fifth WWII kill, making him “America’s newest ace”.

I was wondering if anyone has become an ace since then (either in modern combat or by belated recognition of prior victories).
– Dave

America’s newest ace – by Daves Warbirds

Saying that a kill doesn’t count because it wasn’t acknowledged at the time is ridiculous. 🙄 What about all those people who earned medals (up to and including the CMH) for their actions during the war, but had to wait years for the paperwork or the testimonials to make it official? They still did their heroic deeds (whether or not it was acknowledged then), so they are still heroes no matter what. Jack Walker scored five kills during the war. That’s a fact. And now it’s officially recognized. Just because the recognition came belatedly doesn’t alter the fact that he accomplished a feat that only a small minority of pilots can claim. In my opinion, he’s earned the right to the title ‘ace’, same as any other ace.

America’s newest ace – by Al Lowe

While I think that ANYTIME a pilot gets his 5th victory recognized, he should be considered an ACE, I don’t think that should make him a “NEW ace.” The way I see it, he was an ace from whenever he shot down that 5th plane. It’s just there was a delay in his receiving the title.

To be a new ace, you’d have to get your 5th one yesterday, or today. So far as I know, our “newest” ace is Air Force pilot Steve Ritchie. Along with Randy Cunningham, they were the last two ace fighter pilots this country has seen.

Though I’m sure Israel has produced one or two since.

America’s newest ace – by Al Lowe

by “Anonymous”]We should stop trying to rewrite history. An ace made 40 years later is not an ace in my book.

The victories acknowledged during the conflict are all I’m interested in.

Just an opinion.

So it doesn’t matter to you if evidence becomes available AFTER the war that confirms someone’s claims? By that token, Boyington re-wrote history when he was released from the POW camp. He came back claiming 2 or 3 more kills, that as far as I know were awarded on his word alone.

Supposedly, one of Rickenbacker’s claims was confirmed 30+ years after the fact. And there’s been other corrections too.

Robert S. Johnson was thought for years to have 28 victories, even though he only claimed 27 himself. It turned out, through a USAF investigation that claims between him and another Johnson in 56 group had been switched. R.S. Johnson had been given credit for a double kill on a day when he hadn’t flown, and one of his claims was given to the other Johnson (the guy with the double kill). The air force corrected this, reducing R.S. Johnson’s record to 27 and increasing the other Johnson’s score by 1.

WWI Pilot Charles R. D’Olive had been on the threshold of acedom for 45 years when on June 18, 1963 the USAF confirmed one of his two unconfirmed claims to give him an “official” score of 5.

Things happen. That’s why there’s always research going on. In some cases, specially those of WWI, I doubt if we’ll see much hard evidence anymore that will cause anyone’s score to change. But I don’t think you should over look information just because it shows up after the conflict is over.

That seems rather close minded to me.

Libyan MiG-25s, by Al Lowe

by “Daryn”]Weren’t there a couple of Libyan MiG-25s shot down in the 80s by the U.S.? Don’t know the pilot(s), maybe one pilot got two, or was it more than one pilot?

I know that a flight of at least 2 F-14s were involved, and I believe the Libyan aircraft in Question were Sukhoi 17s, not MiG 25s.

In any event, there’s not been a “new” American Ace since Vietnam. I believe Capt. Steve Ritchie was the 2nd American, and 1st and only USAF ace out of Vietnam, assuming you don’t count the backseater guys.

America’s newest ace – by max_g_cunningham

Al, might be referring to the original “Gulf Of Sydra” incident, prompted by Gaddafi of Libya, claiming territorial jurisdiction in the Med, behind the legal internationally recognized off shore limits.

The late USN CMDR Kleeman was lead pilot among a crew of 4, an F14 element comprised of 2 aircraft that took out 2 Libyan SU series (basically the MiG21 with swing-wings) aircraft, at medium-short range.
That also goes down as the first swing wing, VS swing wing encounter that resulted in a downing.

The Incident was virtually repeated several years later, when again, a pair of F14s, “smoked” a couple more, I believe they were SU23s (sometimes referred to as the Soviet’s 2/3 scale F111 knockoff).

Certainly, it’s not a particularly big leap to surmise that some Israelis must have made Ace, in the early 80s, when the Syrians got massacred, ostensibly by F15s, to the tune of 80-0, an era which goes down in modern air combat legend.

Many of those victories are attributed to radar guided missiles, from F15s flying CAP, that connected not long after the Syrian’s got airborne. For security reasons, Israel never publicly heralds, or lauds their Aces.

I’m not sure, if any actually made ACE, but the Brits flying their Sea Harriers also racked up some air to air victories against Argentina, with a relatively small number of aircraft and pilots, in the Falklands war.

America’s newest ace – by Stony

The March 2004 issue of “World War II” magazine has an article on a P-51 pilot of the 352nd Fighter Group by the name of 1st Lt. Alden P. Rigby, who has just become America’s newest WWII ace by finally getting confirmation of his fifth kill. While the U.S. Air Force has yet to make it official, he has been given official ace status by the American Fighter Aces Association.

There is a great article in the most recent issue of the American Fighter Aces & Friends quarterly magazine that just came out this week. It gives a detailed account of Rigby’s kills along with other good information.

They were Mig-23’s – by max_g_cunningham

Why is it that the F14 is among so many enthusiasts contemporary favorites ?

Although it’s not as if we have any influence, many including myself still question, and second guess, the DOD’s decision to turn their back on any further F14 derivatives and development, in favor of the so-called “Super-Hornet.” Then there’s the billions of sunk costs poured into development of the F22.

Like the F14, The story of the F20 Tigershark is a similar legacy, of throwing away the baby, along with the bath water,,.

Here’s one for you to ponder, very hypothetical, but interesting.

What if ?
The NJ ANG had been equipped with F20s, as advocated by many a “poor slob, dumb nuts” enthusiasts, with the F20’s attributed “quick reaction time,” obviously the 1st would have struck, but, would have the 2nd, the 3rd, or 4th, of a series of brutally terrorist hijacked commercial airliners have made it all the way, unchecked, to the WTC New York, and the Pentagon, Washington, back when ?