1970's -- On Dec. 18, 1972 near Hanoi, North Vietnam, Staff Sgt. Samuel O. Turner, a B-52 fire control operator (gunner), shot down a Mig-21. For his action the 30-year-old Atlanta, Ga. native was awarded the Silver Star. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Thirty-one B-52s were lost in Southeast Asia. Eighteen were lost to surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) or ground fire, and the other 13 were non-combat losses. No B-52s were lost to communist aircraft, but during Operation Linebacker II, two B-52D tail gunners, Staff Sgt. Samuel Turner and Airman 1st Class Albert Moore, each shot down a MiG-21 on separate missions.
During a Linebacker II mission on Dec. 18, 1972, Turner became the first B-52 tail gunner credited with shooting down an enemy aircraft. For successfully defending his aircraft and crew, Turner received the Silver Star.