Don t let them escape!
The debate continues as to whom can claim victory in the skies over Vietnam. Statistics are still bandied about, though the polemic nowadays is conducted in better spirits, usually in chat rooms and mostly among ex-pilots and historians.
However, one interesting fact does emerge, which is commonly maintained. This is that the VPAF (North Vietnamese Air Force) produced many more aces than its American counterparts. This, of course, was mainly due to the imbalance of numbers, allowing fewer Vietnamese to encounter a much larger number of Americans, but it's an interesting point nonetheless.
The title of ace is a fighter pilot s ultimate goal, and is the honorific title for a pilot who has shot down five or more enemy aircraft. This tradition goes back to the earliest days of aerial combat in the First World War.
The VPAF boasts 16 aces to the USAF s 2.
The US Air Force officially acknowledges the loss of 60 planes to Vietnamese manned MIGs in aerial combat. There are many reasons as to how this may have occurred; however, debates aside, the number of aces is a hard-won testimony to the courage, skill, and determination of the VPAF pilots during the Vietnam-American War.
The above poster is a rare depiction of a dog fight, and the only completed work of its kind in the Collection.