As a young fighter pilot, Ronald R. Fogleman proved his mettle during two combat tours over Southeast Asia where he flew 806 hours on 315 combat missions. Fogleman, a native of Lewistown, Pennsylvania, earned an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy. After graduating in 1963, he earned his pilot wings at Vance AFB, Oklahoma, and then became a Cessna T-37 "Tweet" instructor pilot and flight examiner. He volunteered for combat duty in Southeast Asia and transitioned to the North American F-100 Super Saber.
In June 1968, Fogleman began flying combat in the 510th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Bien Hoa AB, South Vietnam. In September, during a ground attack mission, his F-100 took numerous hits from ground fire. He ejected, evaded capture, and, in a dramatic rescue, clung to the gun bay door of a U.S. Army Bell AH-1 Cobra gunship and was carried 20 miles to a special forces camp. In late 1968, he volunteered to fly with the "Misty FACs." These elite forward air controllers flew dangerous and demanding low-level missions over North Vietnam and Laos.
After 80 Misty missions, he went back to Bien Hoa AB. Returning stateside in September 1969, he earned a masters degree in military history and political science, and then taught history at the Air Force Academy until 1973. Next, he again volunteered for duty in Southeast Asia to fly the McDonnell F-4 Phantom II. He completed 75 combat missions and commanded the "Laredo Fast FACs." Following as staff job and attendance at Army War College, Fogleman moved to the 36th Tactical Fighter Wing, Bitburg AB, Germany. Late in 1976, he began McDonnell Douglas F-125 Eagle training.
The next spring, he led a flight of F-15s during Ready Eagle, the first deployment of a combat-ready Eagle squadron to NATO. He deomonstated the Eagle in numerous international airshows and then, in 1978, became the Deputy Commander for Operations, 32nd Tactical Fighter Squadron, Camp New Amsterdam, the Netherlands. After serving a tour at the Headquarters, USAF, he became Vice Wing Commander, 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, Hill AFB, Utah. There he became the first former Eagle pilot to achieve combat ready status in the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon.
Next, in 1982, Fogleman became Director of Fighter Operations at Tactical Air Command, and from there, moved to MacDill AFB, Florida, to command the 56th Tactical Training Wing. He went on to command at the air division, numbered air force, major command, and unified command levels, and culminated his career as the 15th Cheif of Staff of the Air Force. He has over 6,500 flying hours in trainers, fighters, and transports. General Fogleman retired in September 1997 and is currenty adjusting to civilian life in Colorado with his wife, Miss Jane.
By 1968, the USAF air war over South Vietnam was devoted to stopping the movement of enemy troops and supplies and providing close air support for allied forces. The North American F-100 Super Sabre was the "workhorse" for this unglamorous task. The men wbo flew the "Hun" ranged from veteran World War II aces to young, eager fighter pilots. Fogleman stood out. He was inclined to take action and not let up. He flew 240 combat missions, earned a Silver Star, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, 17th Air Medals, and a Purple Heart.