All posts tagged 'Distinguished Flying Cross'

Achievement Unlocks Great Success

     On a warm spring evening in South Vietnam all is quiet on December 25th. The year is 1966 and a “48 hour ceasefire” has been called and negotiated with the people of Vietnam. Many American Marine Soldiers gather in celebration of Christmas day, and as the officers assemble they share laughter and memories. The soldiers wash away all fears and sadness with merriment, good food and beverages. As the night progresses, the beverages grow stronger while the American Marine Military base grows weaker and more vulnerable against the foreign land. The year is 1966 and America is at war fighting for peace in the Vietnamese nation. Sometime later into this Christmas celebration an American spotter plane is seen passing over the Marine’s camp. The Pilot, fully aware of the temporary “ceasefire” continues north toward the territory known as the Demilitarized Zone (also referred to as the DMZ) when all at once he spots and observes large numbers of North Vietnamese troops on a southbound march. Clearly this is not a march with good intent. The troop’s intentions are blatant and they are not stopping short on such a lucrative target.

“The DMZ! Come in! Thousands of North Vietnamese soldiers are coming across the DMZ!” The spotter pilot’s voice came in loud and clear as he bellowed through the radio frequencies. This man sounded alarmed and utterly distraught as he alerted the Marine Base of the North Vietnamese troops and their foul play just miles ahead of them.

     By this time the Marines were completely exposed and unprepared. Most of these men would be unable to drive a car due to their levels of intoxication, let alone prepare, control and maintain a fully armed aircraft. Alcohol aside, the Vietnamese troops would not disarm the “ceasefire” regulation; it was very much still in effect. Nonetheless, these troops were headed straight for the camp and the Marines were rapidly running out of time. If this were to go uncorrected it would surely mean a Christmas day Massacre; the Marine base had no choice but to send up a pilot. In minutes a clear minded and sober pilot revealed himself. This brave and noble man was an F-4 Phantom pilot and he was prepared to serve his country by protecting his camp. The sober pilot moved quickly on his feet as he grabbed what he needed off the ground. Within moments he and his copilot were off the ground and traveling at 700 miles per hour. The weather was terrible, spitting an awful rain and offering low cloud coverage. The pilot would not have much time to detect the troops and correct the threat. Shooting to kill would be difficult in and F-4 Phantom with a one thousand foot ceiling and it would be doubly difficult to pursue the target enemy with napalm and rockets. Nonetheless, he would do the best he could with what he had. As the pilot approached the enemy he SHOT! Again and again, then he watched as grease spots began to appear on the earth below him. He was instantly filled with sheer pleasure as the enemy troops fell to the ground. Unfortunately, at this point the pilot and his right hand man had officially broken the “cease fire” without hesitation they were advised to continue north to Ubon, Thailand. As the Pilots landed, they were congratulated thoroughly. Due to their wild courage and bravery, the pilot and his co pilot had successfully saved their home camp from the Christmas day massacre.

     It is said that a hero is born among a hundred, a wise man is found among a thousand, but an accomplished one might not be found even among a hundred thousand men. The question is, at what point does an achievement become an accomplishment? Is it enough just to follow your dreams? Is it enough to succeed? What is an accomplishment? For Ronald J. Biddle the answer was simple. In May of 1967 Ron Biddle was awarded with his second Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight; thus accomplishing more than he could have ever wished for.

      Ronald Biddle was born in 1940 in Louisville, Kentucky. During Ron’s high school years he took part in an exam which later led him to a full-ride scholarship to the University of Louisville’s Speed School via NROTC. It was here that he completed his first success as he carried through and eventually accepted a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering. Prior to Ron’s completion however, he was required to take three summer cruises with the Navy on an aircraft carrier. During Ron’s third cruise he was given a choice, at this time he could make a decision between The Navy and The Marines. Ron, similar to many young and talented men of his age was interested in speed and aerial flight so he chose the second option and became a United States Marine Soldier. During his senior year at The University of Louisville Speed School Ron was sent to Kentucky Flying Services located at Bowman Field where he studied and obtained his private pilot’s license with Dick Mulloy. In 1963 Ron graduated college and was sent to Quantico, Virginia for basic infantry training and then eventually Pensacola, Florida where he completed a rigorous eighteen month flight training program. As Ron continued in his training he was offered the first pick of aircraft for being at the top of his class and in time he entered his very first jet; a T-2 Buckeye. The Buckeye was soon followed by an F9F Korean War Fighter. Shortly thereafter Ron graduated from aerial flight training and was sent to South Vietnam where he was to complete a thirteen month mission. It was in Vietnam that he was trained to fly and fight in fully armed F-4 Phantom jets in which he successfully completed several hundred combat missions.

      Six and a half months into Ron’s thirteen month tour he was placed on the ground to complete his mission in infantry combat on foot. In no time at all he was promoted to an Infantry Company Commander and made great used of his previous infantry training. It was during his time on foot that Ron Biddle earned his purple heart.

      Once Ronald had successfully completed his thirteen month tour in the Vietnam War he came back to the United States and was chose to be removed from the active duty Marine Corps. After leaving the military, Ron served as a flight instructor working for Dick Mulloy at the Kentucky Flying Service that is now known as Louisville Executive Aviation. Ronald J. Biddle resides in Louisville, Kentucky today and continues to fly as he is a proud owner of a Diamond DA XL 40.

      It is said that a little bit of hero resides in all of us, just be strong enough to find it. If a hero is born among a hundred, a wise man is found among a thousand, and an accomplished one will be found among a hundred thousand men. I would place Mr. Ron Biddle into a category of a hundred thousand men. His dedication became his achievement and with years of hard work I would venture to say that he found accomplishment in his life. It is enough to follow your dreams and it is enough to succeed.

So I dare ask the world one question “what is your greatest accomplishment?”

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