Everyone knows the moment the Wolf Pack was born in 1967 under the leadership of Robin Olds, but some may not know where the idea to disguise F-4s as F-105s originated.
At the time, U.S. Air Force (USAF) Col. (Ret) John “JB” Stone was a captain and was posed the challenge of how the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW) would thwart the threat of the North Vietnamese MiG-21s. Over some cheap beers with Olds and critical thought of the resources available, he devised the plan that would later become a pivotal point in aviation history.
On Jan. 2, 1967, 8th TFW F-4s entered North Vietnam from the west using the same route, altitude, and formation as an F-105 bomb strike. They also carried and operated electronic jamming pods used by F-105s. The North Vietnamese took the bait, and the MiGs came up to intercept what they thought was an F-105 strike. At the same time, 366th TFW F-4s came into North Vietnam from the east to block the MiGs’ escape to China and to orbit their bases, preventing the MiGs from landing.
Despite some problems caused by the overcast weather, Operation Bolo was triumphantly successful. During the 12-minute engagement 8th TFW F-4 aircrews shot down seven MiG-21s others – about half of Vietnam People’s Air Force (VPAF operational force) – with no USAF losses.
Four days later, another ruse, this time mimicking an F-4 reconnaissance flight, shot down two more MiG-21s. These crippling losses greatly reduced MiG activity for several months.
Fast forward 51 years, and the story of JB Stone comes full circle during his recent visit to Kunsan.
JB shared his story, knowledge, and experiences from Operation Bolo with the Airmen of the Wolf Pack in the Olds room here at Kunsan.
He also flew with the Pack one more time. The 80th Fighter Squadron “Juvats” hosted his flight, which is yet another example of the story come full circle since JB’s son flew with the Juvats in the late 90s.
Photo credit: USAF
Source: Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea Facebook page
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com
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