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Name (Last, First Middle)Richter, Karl W.
Branch at time of eventUSAF
RankFirst Lieutenant
SquadronCS 08
Home TownHolly
Home StateMI
High SchoolHolly High School, Holly, MI.
High School ActivitiesFootball,Basketball, Track, 4-H, Natl Honor Soc, Class President
Post High SchoolNone
Academy ExperiencesFootball, SquadEvec Officer, Prof Stu GroupSki Club, Automobile Club, Mountaineering Club, Comm's List(1)
Academic Degree MajorBS-Science USAF Academy, 1964
Active Duty AssignmentsPltTng,CraigAFB,AL,PltF-105,388TFWg, KoratAB,Thai. KIA 28 July, 1967
Civilian PositionsNone
Award Year1969
Award Summary InformationThe spirit and legend of Karl Richter convey the aggressive, dedicated, and determined academy graduate who we strive daily to prepare for the challenges of war and peace. His was the ultimate sacrifice--the sacrifice which we all are trained to be prepared to give. He not only made the sacrifice willingly, he did it with enthusiasm and great pride for what he was doing and for what he believed in. He was the warrior returning again to the battlefield; tar beyond what was expected of him or any man. Lt. Richters selection for 1969 Jabara Award based on his total record of service and outstand¬ing performance during nis tours of duty in SEA. The citations of awards listed below, by themselves, do not convey the many other acts of dedication and service performed by Lt. Richter. specific acts not identifiable within the award citations include his volunteering for a second one hundred missions over North Vietnam and his shooting down of a MIG aircraft. His recognition by superiors as an outstanding combat leaderand his total acceptance hy subordinatei as a leader detailed in letter from Sgt. Kermit A. Work, an NCO who served with Lt. Richter in Thailand. Citation For The Air Force Cross: First Lieutenant Rarl W. Richter distinguished himself by extra¬ordinary heroism as the leader of a flignt of F-105s on a mission over North Vietnam on 20 April 1967. The target, a very important railroad facility, was defended by several hundred antiaircraft artillery emplacements and SA-2 missiles. Lieutenant Richter's mission was to destroy or limit fire from these defenses immedi¬ately before a strike on this facility by fighter bombers. Arriving over the approach to the target, he found clouds ohscuring navi¬gational referencea and increasinq the danger Erom unobserved SAM launches. Despite weather conditions, Lieutenant Richter, with great profassional skill and undaunted determination, led his flight throuqh a barrage oL missiles to the target. Braving the heavy concentrated fire of the antiaircraft artillery, he positioned his flight and attacked the deienses, causing heavy damage. As a result of his efforts, the fighter bombers of the main strike force encountered only limiteddofonoive fire and destroyed this vital railroad facility. Citation For The Bronze Star Medal: Firit Lioutenint Karl W. Richter distinguished himself hy meritorioun service as Wing Tactics Coordinator while engaged in military operations against an opposing armed force in Southeast Asia from 8 February 1967 to 20 July 1957. During this perlod, the outstanding leadership, exceptional operational knowledge. and ceaseless efforts consistently demonatrated by Lieutenant Richter contributed greatly to the sustained mission capability of the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing. Citation For the Third Oak Leaf Custer io The Distinquished Flying Cross: First Lieutenant Karl W. Richter distinguished himself by extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as a F-105 Pilot in Southeast Asia on 25 April 1967. On that date, despite accurate intense flak, missiles, and MIGs in the target area, he successfully destroyed his assigned target of the Hanoi Railroad and Rolling Stock Repair Facility. Citation tor The Twenty-First Oak Cluster to the Air Medal: First Lieutenant Karl W. Richter distinguished himself by meritorious achievement whilw participating in aerial flight as a F-105 Pilot in Southeast Asia on 5 July,1967. On that date, he was number four of a four-ship flight executed against a vital railroad bridge at Bac Gaing, twenty-three miles northeast of Hanoi. Disregarding his personal safety, he accurately delivered ordance directly on target while encountering extremely heavy antiaircraft artillery fire from hostile ground forces.
Involved Crew MembersNone
Burial Site/DateUSAFA/ 8 August, 1967
Aeronautical Speciality RatingPilot
Notable Military and Civilian Decorations & AwardsAFC,SS,DFC(4),BS,PH,AM(22), AFCM Jabara Award, 1969
CommentsAt age 23, youngest pilot to shoot down a MIG-17, On 21 Sep, 1966, downed MIG-17 30 NM NNW of Haiphong. Only 1/Lt to lead a major raid against enemy targets. Flew 198 combat missions over NVN
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