[Randy Cunningham Photo] The Unauthorized Randy “Duke” Cunningham Page

Randy “Duke” Cunningham Forum

  Forum Index
 Cunningham shot down General Toon
Author: Jeremy Scott 
Date:   2001-09-01 15:51:07

Thu, June 22, 2000 1:56 pm

On your "unofficial Cunningham" webpage, you said that Cunningham is a "self proclaimed" Vietnam hero.

I just thought you should know that Cunningham shot down general Toon in the most famous modern day dogfight. General Toon was the highest ranking North Vietnamese air force officer. On top of that, Cunningham had the most air-to-air kills in the war. Furthermore, his efforts in Vietnam were so commendable that a movie was made based on his legendary flying ability. Maybe you have heard of the movie, it is called Top Gun. Know your facts.

 Another dog fight myth
Author: Jim Nichols 
Date:   2002-08-02 18:56:32

The rumors of Willie Driscoll asking Duke to "extend out of the fight" etc., ad nauseum, are based on Duke's own account of the dogfight in his book Fox Two. He claims that Willie was "needling" him (my paraphrasing, not his words) saying, "Duke, this guy really knows what he's doing. Whaddaya say we knock it off?" (My paraphrasing; read the book, then you'll know).

I asked Willie Driscoll in person if this was true, and he reacted immediately with a look of surprise and rolled his eyes while shaking his head to indicate that this is not true.

 Re: Colonel Tomb (or Toon) doesn't exist
Author: Tim Lokken 
Date:   2004-05-21 17:30:18

I have been an aviation historian since I was in grade school. However when i saw this webpage i was surprised about Col. Tomb doesn't exist. I already built both Randy Cunningham's F-4J and Col, tomb's Mig-17 model planes in 1/32nd scale. So my question is who is flying the plane on the last page of Lou Drendel's book ...AND KILL MIGS which showed a picture of a MiG-17 with the number 3020 which stated the plane flown by Col. Tomb?

 Re: Colonel Tomb (or Toon) doesn't exist
Author: Samo Umer 
Date:   2004-07-05 00:56:41

I guess it is hard for indoctrinated Americans to let go of fascist concepts like the "American freedom-loving uber-mensch" that sweeps away with inferior forms of life like for instance the Vietnamese.

Col.Tomb is nothing more than a propaganda gimmick. And "the duke" is merely enjoying the carpet ride.

The fact of the matter is that although Cunningham was an excellent and courageous pilot, he was shot down right after he got the infamous third mig by a MiG-21. Of course as the "uber-mensch" cannot be beaten by inferiors the official explanation for the loss of his plane was the usual culprit: SAM

And that brings us to another matter: American air-air losses, where a considerable percentage is attributed to SAM and AAA instead of MiGs, a approach the saves the USAF/NAVY face and allows those TopGun Hollywood wet fantasies that narrate of a 12 to 1 kill ration in favor of the US.

 Re: Colonel Tomb (or Toon) doesn't exist
Author: Geoff 
Date:   2004-08-08 23:17:45

I have read articles denying the existence of Col. Tomb, Toon, or Ton - however you want to call him. Yet the only counter-claims I have found are sourced from a communist regime. Given that fact alone, shouldn't the credibility of them come into question? We have no trouble questioning the credibilty of our own governments claims, why would we not question ones coming from a communist government?

Whether Toon did or didn't exist, we may never know 100%. However, I would not treat the counter-claims as Gospel either.

Yet, countering the counter claims, I have heard that a Col. "Toon" did in fact exist. However, according to the article that states this, he probably wasn't the person Duke faced that day because he was not recorded as flying that day.

Yet the article indicates this pilot was notorious for flying into combat alone. That is characteristic of the last pilot Duke encountered that day. There were no other wingmen or MiG's around when they battled with this guy.

I thought anyone reading up on this may be interested in the this article. Here is a copy of the link, which has another persepective on the matter:


 Colonel Toon or Tomb is a propaganda gimick
Author: Samo Umer 
Date:   2004-08-20 05:34:29

Mind you: the american government is a government that assassinated its own president, at least 50 witnesses and after 40 years we still don't have absolutely no clue whatsoever who was behind it.

Toon or Tomb is phoneticaly a non existing word in the vietnamese language. Vietnamese names have a very clear structure of 3 units. I believe first is clan, then gender related name and the third is a personal name.

Vietnamese pilots NEVER flew on their own. The skies of north vietnam were not the wild-wild west with flying cowboys in their migs. The NV strictly followed USSR interception doctrines usually in flights of 2+2.

However the whole Cunningham myth is a well rehersed propaganda gimick that makes feel good a lot of people.

 Re: Colonel Toon or Tomb is a propaganda gimick
Author: Samo Umer 
Date:   2004-08-25 12:25:29

"...why would we not question statements coming from a communist government???"

No reason whatsoever. Furthermore, NV pilots claimed let us say... 300-500 US planes shot down in air combat. However if one elaborates figures claimed by both sides, I am comfortable enough to state these approx. numbers:
US 190 - 230 victories
NV 100 - 140 victories
Far from fascist "DeltaForce"-like wet fantasies about expendable lower forms of life, isn't it?
I believe the US accredited its pilots with 194 aerial victories. NV claims are hard to elaborate though that is why the 40% planes gap.

Regarding Tien-an-men
That is a perfect example of American propaganda. All the values and ideas the US implied were involved were just wishful thinking. To Chinese culture words and concepts like western-style individuality, bourgeoisie society, democracy and/or representation are completely and utterly alien! The so called “communist” regime is China is merely a novel name of a governance system known in China for the last 6000 years, now with Mao as the emperor. To my own surprise, China proved to be the harshest capitalist system I ever witnessed with NO elements of even socialism whatsoever. On US behalf we witnessed an attempt to destabilize a country that is and will be a very hard nut to crack. Obviously the US would prefer a myriad of “democratic” yet small Chinese states… khm… that is “country-size sweat shops” owned by US corporations and local unscrupulous henchmen. Divide and conquer. I say propaganda because media-wise the Tien-an-men “accident” was and still is an important and remembered event, only because it served US interests. Example: the 50.000 Kurds killed in NATO-member Turkey were quickly hush-hushed, whereas a few thousand Kurds killed in Iraq were almost genocide but only when it fit US war mongers. The 2000 victims in 1 billon China were martyrs of democracy paraded on CNN ad nauseam, but look: the 300 students killed in 60 million Thailand in 1991 were… not so convenient is it? After all Thailand was a strong ally of the US and rightly so those Thai students were promptly forgotten. And that is why nobody even knows about those bloody protests in Bangkok.

Regarding JFK
I believe G. Washington said something along the lines of: “A patriot should always be prepared to defend his country against its government.”. Yet for most Americans I think patriotism is merely a spiritual good to acquire and amass, a self-indulging collective ritual, merely a fabricated resource that feels the unscrutinable void and constructs part of one’s perception of “self”. This sort of social pattern is also very acute in Australia, although to a lesser extent, nevertheless the modern “Gallipoli” sea-side-bash party with tales of brave mules, hono(u)r and “freedom” are beyond good taste, yet provide the grounds for a self-glorification, self-pitty ritual. These prepackaged spiritual “goods” make up such a large percentage of an ordinary American perception of reality and self, that killing or removing the fallacy is actually killing part of the individual who was indoctrinated to incorporate the “goods”. E.g. No one likes to be told his mother was a prostitute, which is why the power of self-denial is never to be under-estimated. That is also why Americans are almost begging for a “good” believable lie that would calm them, that would sooth their soul and allow those nice preconceptions to survive, yet at a big expense – reality.
To me, the level of government conspiracy against JFK is absolutely unbelievable! I admire the people that were so audacious and capable in organizing his assassination and cover-up. But the cherry-on-top-of-the-cake is the fact that after they killed him, they made him a martyr – brilliant! I know most Americans are not so stupid to fall for the Oswald tale, yet at the same time it is way too painful to admit that his own country is not so perfect as he would like to believe. “Hey, what perfect? This is a nightmare!” That is why Americans tend to linger in a limbo “Yeah, something happened, no one really knows…you see… the mafia, the communists, the aliens, you just can’t tell.”. Heck! If you ask me I think it was the same kind of people that suggested to JFK to hijack commercial planes and use them for suicide attacks against Florida and Washington, blame the Cubans and attack Castro. The mastermind behind this ingenious plan was a certain general Lemnitzer (the so called project Northwood 1962). Alas JFK had no vision for this sort of “noble” endeavors and later paid the price.

No, I did not serve in Vietnam ;-))) I was born in ’74.
NV pilots flew on their own only when their attack formations where broken by US pilots. Which happened in a somehow regular fashion though meaning : individual MiGs escaped towards the airfields and off-limits sanctuaries.
From what I’ve read so far NV pilots were pretty gutless, avoiding the dogfight-hungry US formations and although the final air combat ratio is very favorable for the Vietnamese, its jet air defense was an utter failure!! … well, more or less a nation’s “morale tool” and not much else. The North Vietnamese pilots were completely declassed by USSR instructors, being labeled as the worst possible students etc… Later is the war MiG-17s were usually used as a bait, a nuisance, whereas the 21s were the real players, which makes the claim that Cunningham was shot down NOT by SAM but by a MiG-21 even more credible.

»Is it possible that the Vietnamese would try to deny the existence of this pilot and his defeat to save them from disgrace or embarressment?«

Not really. I am sure they would like to, but bear in mind Geoff that NV pilots were public figures, morale boosting tools. The top pilots were venerated and nowadays they still are. It is hard to let a person of this callibre disappear into oblivion.

 War Record
Author: bruce barbera 
Date:   2001-09-01 16:00:25

Sat, August 19, 2000 1:36 pm 


I don't care about your politics or anything else, but where do you get off making fun of Cunninghams war record? Did you serve? Did you put yourself in harms way to serve your country? The man got shot at, he could have wound up in the Hanoi Hilton. Don't you have any mercy?

 Colonel Tomb doesn't exist
Author: Yuan 
Date:   2001-09-01 16:06:13

Tue, September 12, 2000 8:09 pm


Can you describe about the situation when you engaged and took down Col.Tomb on Vietnam? If the answer is "no", then can you lead me a way that how to find the information about it?

I heard about the top ace of North Vietnam—Colonel. Tomb on many discussions about Vietnam air war. However, official information from Vietnam tells me that they had no such man in the Air Force!

28 years has passed. Have you found out what's going with it or who he is (or them)?


 Re: Cunningham shot down General Toon
Author: IGotMine 
Date:   2001-09-01 16:08:26

Sat, September 16, 2000 11:13 pm

You obviously are not a fan of Cunningham's and your webpage contains some defensible liberal satire of his positions. However, your statement that all Randy did was "get shot down" in Vietnam is hardly correct, and is insulting to all veterans. Are you familiar with the events of 10 May, 1972, where Randy met your criteria of playing "a major role in winning a battle"? He shot down three MiGs, in single combat, within a few minutes. The last aircraft he defeated was flown by the North Vietnamese Air Forces' top ace. He was awarded the Navy Cross for the heroic actions you trivialized.

Let me guess...you were one of the guys from the California delegation that booed the Boy Scouts during the convention?

 Are you for real?
Author: Ron 
Date:   2001-09-01 16:10:03

Tue, October 17, 2000 11:37 pm 

I am a Vietnam veteran to. I wished I was there with you then. You sound like an officer, I cant believe you left in country alive. Oh well.

 You are of line running down a War Hero
Author: gary steiner 
Date:   2001-09-01 16:16:11

Fri, November 3, 2000 8:38 pm

You may disagree with Cong. Cunningham's politics, but you are out of line in running down his military record. Our veterans deserve our respect, especially those who performed as Mr. Cunningham did. Few in U. S. history have risen to his level.

 Re: Colonel Tomb (or Toon) doesn't exist
Author: Lee Brimmicombe-Wood 
Date:   2001-09-01 17:47:23

Thu, March 15, 2001 10:30 am

Interesting page on Duke Cunningham. Even more interesting is the myth about his fight against Colonel "Tomb" (or "Toon", depending on your source) on 10th May 1972 over North Vietnam. America's first Navy ace in the South East Asian conflict faces off against a fourteen kill hero with a name like "Tomb". Sounds like something out of Hollywood, doesn't it?

It is.

Two scholars, Dr. Istvan Toperczer and Marshall L. Michel III (the latter the author of the definitive book on the air war in Vietnam,
Clashes: Air Combat over North Vietnam 1965 -1 972) have visited Hanoi separately performing original research on the air campaigns. Michel is a former USAF Phantom pilot with a number of missions over Vietnam to his name, has flown practice combat against Cunningham, and can hardly be called a 'Commie Lover'. Both Toperczer and Michel asked the Vietnamese People's Air Force (VPAF) about "Tomb/Toon" and got a blank response.

In short, the man didn't exist. As Marshall Michel put it to me, the VPAF aren't slow to honour their finest. And dead martyrs are as good as live ones. They had no Earthly reason to cover up the death of a top pilot. The only reason they didn't comment on the loss of a hero is that he didn't exist.

So where did the Tomb myth come from? No one knows. I have personally heard all sorts of theories. Tomb is an amalgam of several officers. He really did exist but the details are still secret and are being held by the NSA. He was a Russian adviser. All sorts of conspiracies abound.

The story is muddied by Cunningham, who was one of the earliest Top Guns; a real 'gung ho' flyer who believed he couldn't be beat in anything with wings. Cunningham states his opponent was really good. But Cunningham wasn't flying too well that day. His RIO, Willie Driscoll, gives a more level-headed account of the flight and states that on several occasions he recognized that he and Duke were in a less-than-good situation and asked Cunningham to extend and get out. Duke refused, telling Driscoll that he was on top of things.

Expert opinion is divided. There's a big strand of thought amongst the flying community that anyone who gets a kill must have done well to get it. But there's another which says that Cunningham took enormous risks to get this kill and it could so easily have gone wrong. I incline to the idea that this was not the best of fights, Cunningham was not thinking straight, and that there were far more sensible things he should have done that day.

Not that Duke would accept this view...


- Lee Brimmicombe-Wood

 Colonel Tomb (or Toon) is a urban legend
Author: Tom Cooper 
Date:   2001-09-02 09:44:59

Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Date: 2001-08-03 00:13:42 PST

it's not so that US pilots haven't shot down anybody, but they fought somebody they believed was "Col. Toon/Tumb". From what I know, this name was not a result of Vietnamese propaganda, but a kind of "urban legend" between US pilots in SEA; they talked about him, the Vietnamese haven't.

One Day in a Long War
, by Jeffrey Ethell and Alfred Price, Guild Publishing, 1989, appendix, p.189:

"Q: Who piloted the MiG-17 that engaged Randy Cunningham so
aggressively before the latter shot it down?

A: Several Western accounts have stated, that the pilot of the third MiG-17 shot down by Randy Cunningham and Willie Driscoll on May 10 was Colonel Tomb or Toon, said to have been the top-scoring North Vietnamese fighter ace. The source of this information is said to be so sensitive that it cannont be revealed after seventeen years. (If all of the stories about the colonel are to be believed, he was in action three times on May 10, flying a different type of MiG on each!)

Despite an intensive search of Vietnamese open literature the authors have found no reference that can be linked to a Colonel Tomb or Toon, however. Accounts of exploits of famous pilots were often published and it is unlikely in the extreme that so successful a North Vietnamese pilot would not have received public recognition. (By May 1972 all the MiGs sent into action over North Vietnam were flown by North Vietnamese pilots.)...

...The authors belive there was no Colonel Tomb or Toon, and no North Vietnamese pilot achieved thirteen victories. Probably Tomb or Toon was a nickname given to a Vietnamese pilot often heard by U.S. radio monitors, whose real name was not known. The real name of the pilot of the third MiG-17 shot down by Cunningham and Driscoll remains a mystery."

Several years later, Istvaân Toperczer, a Hungarian author which visited Vietnam and researched extensively with the help of official records, explained the rest about "Col. Tomb" in his Air War Over North Vietnam, published by Squadron/Signal Publications, ISBN: 0-89747-390-6, p. 61:

"Who was Colonel Tomb?
There is a final note on the legendary VPAF fighter pilot Colonel Tomb mentioned in many Western publications. During my visit to Vietnam I tried to find out about him, but it seems that he is, and was, only an imaginary figure. There are several reasons for this:

There were very few pilots in the VPAF and they knew each other very well either from their training courses abroad or from joint service in VPAF regiments. Both Nguyen Van Coc and Pham Tuan (decorated VPAF pilots) denied, in separate interviews, that they knew or had ever heard of "Colonel Tomb".

- There is no official record of a Colonel Tomb in VPAF files, and, if he really had 13 victories, the VPAF propaganda machine would certainly have used him.
- In 1972 there were no active pilots with rank of Colonel in the VPAF.
- No North Vietnamese pilot had 13 aerial civtories as reported by western experts.
- The name Tomb does not exist in the Vietnamese language, nor are there any similar sounding names."

According to Toperczer, the "top-scoring" would be Nguyen Van Coc, with nine claimed kills, followed by Nguyen Hong Nhi and Mai Van Cuong, with 8 each.


 Re: Cunningham shot down General Toon
Author: Garey 
Date:   2005-12-21 13:48:17

I just finished watching a special on the History Channel regarding Duke Cunninghams 3 kills on May 10, 1972. Regardless of what the guy in the last migs name was, he was a better pilot than the ones they had met up with before. The Duke flamed him, became an ace, nuff said.

As for his RIO Willie Driscoll acting like Duke made himself out to be bigger than what he was. Driscoll statements showed that he had nothing but respect for the man who sat in front of him in Showtime 100.


The Fine Print: The above comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way (Communications Decency Act, 47 USC § 230). In compliance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998, we do not accept postings from children under 13 years of age. Privacy notice: messages posted to this forum are public. Trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners. The rest copyright © 2001-2012 Dan E. Anderson. All rights reserved.


[Blue Ribbon] [Bottom 5% Web Site] Copyright © 1996-2012 Dan E. Anderson. All rights reserved.
This page is not authorized or approved by anyone, but I hope you enjoy it. About this website.

If you have comments (hate mail, praise, jokes, corrections, constructive criticism, or destructive criticism), please send me (Dan Anderson) a secure private message. You can read other people's comments here.

[Best viewed with 20/20 vision]