Military Aviation

The weird story of the USAF F-15C Eagle pilot that scored 3 kills during Operation Desert Storm and donated one to his section leader

On Feb. 6, 1991 a section of two F-15Cs were living BARCAP along the Iraq/Iran border when they engaged and destroyed a gaggle of escaping Su-7/22 ‘Fitters’ in a rear-aspect tail chase…

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Strongly influenced by the experiences of USAF fighter crews in the Vietnam War, ‘star spangled’ F-15s had to wait until Operation Desert Storm to win the type’s battle spurs — more than 15 years after the aircraft had first entered service with the Air Force.

On Feb. 6, 1991 the 58th TFS’s Capt Anthony R ‘ET’ Murphy (in F-15C 85-0102) and Col Rick Parsons (in F-15C 84-0124) claimed three aerial kills. As told by Steve Davies in his book F-15C Eagle Units in Combat, a section of two F-15Cs were living BARCAP along the Iraq/Iran border when they engaged and destroyed a gaggle of escaping Su-7/22 ‘Fitters’ in a rear-aspect tail chase.

Parsons, then 33rd TFW commander allegedly downed the Su-7 with an AIM-9 after his wingman, Capt Murphy, destroyed the two Fitters’ with AIM-7s. The two-ship had jettisoned their tanks and closed to within ten miles of the target group in order to bring their weapons to bear.

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-15C Eagle 36th TFW, 22d TFS, BT/79-051 / 1981

This engagement is somewhat enigmatic in that there are (unsubstantiated) suggestions that ‘ET’ scored all three kills but later ‘donated’ the third to Col Parsons. Indeed, the latter pilot admitted in an interview that he’d never actually witnessed his second missile (his first was beaten to its target by one or ‘ET’s’) impact the target, but that he and Murphy later pieced together the video tape recorder system, resulting in ‘the third kill being attributed to my (Parsons) missile’.

Who it was exactly that made this ‘attribution’ is unclear, although it is noteworthy that the original Central Commad (CFNTCOM) message traffic submitted immediately after the kills purportedly records Murphy as claiming three MiGs and Parsons one. It is believed that Parsons’ kill was later turned down, after which Murphy donated’ one of his three ‘confirmed’ kills to his boss.

Parsons returned to Eglin AFB with one kill credit painted next to his name on his jet, and the USAF Historical Research Agency’s data (issued in 2001) credits hint with a single Su-7 kill.

F-15C Eagle Units in Combat is published by Osprey Publishing and is available to order here.

This model is available from AirModels – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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