In January 1968, before completing his F-105 Wild Weasel training, Maj. Stan Goldstein was hurriedly deployed to Osan AB, South Korea, in response to the Pueblo incident (North Korea captured a U.S. ship and its crew). The incident was resolved peacefully, so he had a patch made. He later completed a 100-mission tour in Southeast Asia in the 44th TFS, 388th TFW. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Capt. Paul “Matt” Dillon pictured after finishing his 100th mission over North Vietnam in January 1968. Shortly thereafter, he was sent directly to South Korea because of the Pueblo incident. After the crisis passed, he finally came home. (U.S. Air Force photo)
DAYTON, Ohio - 100 mission patch donated by Will Koenitzer on display in the 100 Missions Up North exhibit in the Southeast Asia War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
DAYTON, Ohio - On display: Maj. Koenitzer wore a 100-mission patch on his flight suit when he trained F-105 crews at McConnell AFB in 1967-1968. Koenitzer wore a humorous “100-mission” patch on the shoulder of his MA-1 jacket that celebrated his many R&R trips to the Princess Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. John Mesenbourg, the operations officer in the 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron, earned this 100 mission F-105 patch. Lt. Col. Albert Vollmer had what he described as “two missions without a landing“ (he was shot down twice). His shoot-downs are recorded as half missions. This plaque with the 100-mission patch design was awarded to Capt. Robert Dorrough, an F-105 Wild Weasel pilot in the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, when he flew his 100th mission over North Vietnam on Jan. 24, 1968. Some pilots, like Capt. Paul "Matt" Dillon, had the 100-mission patch painted on their helmet visor covers. Dillon wore these patches to note his untimely deployment to South Korea. “OGDAA” stood for “one good deal after another.” (U
(l to r) 469th TFS pilots Capts. Bruce Holmes, Will Koenitzer, and William “Bart” Barthelmas. Barthelmas was killed on July 27, 1965, on the first USAF strike against North Vietnamese surface-to-air missile sites. (U.S. Air Force photo)
This widely-respected symbol began with F-105 aircrews. Capts. Bruce Holmes and Will Koenitzer, two pilots in the 469th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, designed the original 100-mission patch while on leave in Bangkok, Thailand, in 1965. Holmes completed his 100-mission tour on Jan. 15, 1966, and Koenitzer finished his the next day.
Although unofficial, this patch became a powerful symbol of a proud tradition. A badge of honor, it showed that one had faced mortal danger 100 times and survived where so many others had been lost. It also certified the faithful completion of a tour and the right to go home.