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Leo Keith Thorsness

Leo Thorsness - Medal of Honor Recipient


U.S. Air Force
Medal Of Honor, Vietnam

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Major Thorsness was piloting an F-105 on a surface-to-air missile (SAM) suppression mission over North Vietnam on April 19, 1967. Having destroyed one SAM site, Major Thorsness and his wingman attacked and eliminated a second site. In that attack, the wingman's aircraft fell to antiaircraft fire and the crew members ejected. While circling their parachutes in order to relay the position for rescue, Major Thorsness sighted and destroyed a MIG-17. Low fuel then forced him to leave the area to seek tanker support. Rescue helicopters arriving at the scene were threatened by four MIGs. Aware of this, Major Thorsness returned without receiving fuel, damaged one MIG and drove the others from the scene, thus protecting the rescue effort.

Subsequent to this heroic action, while on another mission, Major Thorsness was shot down and captured.  He was later repatriated with other Prisoners of War.

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