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Randy “Duke” Cunningham Forum

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 Viet Nam Record
Author: John 
Date:   2005-07-21 13:51:01

As for most of your misguided crap, it's just opinion. The facts regarding the war however are just plain false. Duke ran the Top Gun School for a number of years to pass on the tricks that helped him survive as the only LIVING flying ace from the Viet Nam war. What are your credentials? That is besides owning a computer or two and wanting to be noticed.

 Re: Viet Nam Record
Author: Phil Karn 
Date:   2005-07-21 16:25:18

Uh, exactly how does Duke's war record, even if entirely true, demonstrate the wisdom, insight, fairness, open-mindedness, intelligence, respect for others, integrity and the other traits needed to be a good legislator? Why should I vote for the guy just because he was lucky enough to shoot down some enemy planes in a war that ended over 3 decades ago? Is that skill really so important to being a Congressman? (Perhaps Duke thought so when he talked out loud about raking the Capitol with 20mm cannon fire.)

I couldn't care less about his Vietnam war record, any more than I cared about Kerry's or Bush's. It's a sad observation about the state of this country that such things seem to matter to people more than their stands on the issues and their willingness to honor the principles enshrined in the Constitution.

As far as I'm concerned, even without his "Mansiongate" scandal Duke has proven himself one of the worst-ever members of Congress. He's certainly the worst Congressman •I've• ever had. By far.

 Re: Viet Nam Record
Author: R. B. Middlemas 
Date:   2005-07-21 16:52:43

To John: I hear what you are saying. I really do. By all accounts, Randy served to the best of his considerable abilities in Vietnam. He was an amazing pilot by all creditable accounts. For years I admired the man. I thought that here is a true hero we can all look up to. Sadly, I never looked further than that....

I can only assume that your comments are in reference to the "Vietnam" section on this site. Obviously, Mr. Anderson is doing a parody of Randy's own inflated image of himself. I feel that Mr. Andersons' parody has to do mostly with Randy's behavior and histrionics about his war record, coupled with his tiresome tendency to tell everyone who will listen what a hero he is.

After a while, one has to say, "Yeah, Randy, we get that you are a great pilot...but what else do you have?" By his own record, he has very little indeed.

As Phil said, there has to be more to the man. An elected official, in the execution of their duties, has to be cut of a finer cloth. I can respect a person who does not agree with my view of how things ought to be, but only after they give a clear and compelling argument to the contrary. At the very least, an elected official must show respect for their office. In these things, as well as many others, Randy has fallen far short.

By the way, I have five computers and this page is bookmarked on all of them...and will continue to be.

 Re: Viet Nam Record
Author: John 
Date:   2005-07-22 13:34:09

To John of pacbellnet,

Perhaps you should check your facts.

Indeed, Cunningham never "ran" the Top Gun School as you erroneously suggest . . . although some carefully contrived biographies might give one that false impression. He was only one of many junior and mid-level instructors, and he was just there for a couple of years.

Never was Cunningham a Commanding Officer of Top Gun. His only command, years later at the end of his career, was the much less prestigious VF-126, which among other missions, occasionally provided some supporting adversary aircraft to Top Gun.

Nor is Cunningham the "only LIVING flying ace from the Viet Nam war" as you falsely claim. Often overlooked, - and shamefully so – is his Ace RIO, the very much alive, Willie Driscoll. Also, Air Force Vietnam Ace Steve Ritchie I'm sure is living, as are back-seater Aces de Bellevue and Feinstein — both who incidentally each had not 5 but 6 kills apiece.

Ironically, and quite surprisingly, North Vietnam had many more Aces than did the U.S. Navy and Air Force combined.

Even though U.S. forces enjoyed a much higher "kill-ratio", - especially after a Navy tactics "renaissance" — recent reports list perhaps as many as 16 Vietnamese Peoples' Air Force (VPAF) Aces!

North Vietnamese Aces.

The reason for this high number is twofold:
1.VPAF pilots were not removed from combat duty after 5 kills, like their U.S. counterparts were. They therefore flew many more combat missions for many more years, and;
2. Because of the far greater numbers of aircraft and daily operations of U.S forces flying over North Vietnam, the VPAF pilot had significantly more opportunities to engage U.S. aircraft at his choosing, than did his U.S. opponent.

Had the U.S. Navy, and to a lesser degree, the U.S. Air Force, ever experienced the much greater opportunities to engage the enemy in aerial combat, as did their VPAF opponent, the resulting number of U.S. Aces would be quite astonishing.

Not to diminish Cunningham's tremendous feat, but there were at least 50 Navy fighter pilots at the time of equal or greater skill. Had those 50 pilots ever had the equal opportunity to engage at least the same or greater number of enemy aircraft as Cunningham did, most all would likely be Aces. MiG's were a whole lot harder to find, than to shoot down.

Regardless, as Phil and R. B. above have pointed out, Cunningham's exploits over a few days 33 years ago should have little if any relevance or bearing today. But by his aggressive and incessant self-promotion, it still seems to unfortunately influence many. Cunningham would never have had a career in the Navy, nor in Congress, had he not been an Ace. How he was able to parlay his singular Ace status, with little else to recommend him — into significant success – and now significant failure - is truly amazing.

Like a petulant child, Cunningham was extremely upset at receiving the nation's 2nd highest honor, the rare and coveted, Navy Cross. He wanted and expected the highest award, the Medal of Honor (which of course, he was totally unqualified to receive). Conversely, Air Force Brig. General Steve Ritchie, for his downing the same number of enemy aircraft as Cunningham, received neither the Medal of Honor, nor the Air Force Cross. His highest award was the lesser in status, Distinguished Flying Cross, for the same combat actions as Cunningham. And I never heard Ritchie complain . . . or consider accepting a bribe, for that matter.

 Re: Viet Nam Record
Author: John 
Date:   2005-07-22 21:18:43

Correction to my above post:

I'm sorry. Air Force Ace Ritchie's highest decoration was the Silver Star, not the lesser Distinguished Flying Cross (which he also received 10 of ) as I posted in error earlier.

Still, Ace Ritchie's multiple Silver Stars were lesser awards than Cunningham's Navy Cross.

It was the custom then to award one Silver Star for each MiG downed. However, Ritchie inexplicably only received four Silver Stars for his 5 MiG's – one short - while Cunningham, in addition to his Silver Stars, received the much higher award of the Navy Cross for his MiG's.

That is a large discrepancy in medals between the only two U.S. Aces of the Vietnam War. I do not know the explanation for this disparity . . . but knowing Cunningham, I can certainly guess.

 Re: Viet Nam Record
Author: Paul 
Date:   2005-07-27 12:19:04

John (—-.san.res.rr.com) well said.

John (—-.dsl.sndg02.pacbell.net) I was a fighter pilot at Miramar during the years that Randy was there. Top Gun was at the hanger next to where I hung my hat in several squadrons. I did not go to Top Gun. I was not career material. But we all knew everyone. Randy never ran or came near running Top Gun. He was an instructor. Jack Ready was his C.O. and is on record labeling Randy as an idiot . . . Jack became a Vice Admiral. His command of VF-126, was only made possible by the Navy inserting very a strong executive officer and department heads to backstop him. Actually, the main job of VF-126 was pilot's instrument checks. They would toss a fleet pilot in the back of a TA-4F and he'd shoot a couple of instrument approaches under the bag and re-new his instrument rating. It did however provide ancillary aggressor resources for Top Gun.

As rr.com John has alluded to, no matter what Randy did over a few days many years ago does not grant him a pass for illegal or unethical conduct as an elected official.

No one here has attacked his excellent war record for shooting down MiGs. But again, that record does not give him a pass. Many former Naval Aviators that I have spoken to regarding this mess are amazed that he lasted this long without screwing the pooch. The man is like the bridge hand referred to as "Aces and spaces."


 Re: Viet Nam Record
Author: Wes Askew 
Date:   2005-12-04 19:51:07

What is really sad about this mess is that Cunningham was one of my childhood heroes, as was any aviator who flew and fought in Vietnam. My father was in the Air Force during that time and he taught all of his kids that the greatest honor you can give is to serve your country in our nation's armed forces, especially in combat. I am also in the Air Force as a C-5 Loadmaster and I fly because of men like Ritchie, DeBellevue and Feinstein. But I quickly found that there is a lot more to it than just being a hero. You have to have character, integrity and a strong dedication to the nation. The Air Force has three core values that we are charged to live by: Integrity, Service Before Self and Excellence in all we do. We hold a public trust that must NEVER be broken. As a legislator, he held an even higher trust and I am disgusted that he would use his position for personal gain through graft and corruption. It seems that he has very little integrity and put his personal needs above the needs of the nation. The real damage is that any time his name is mentioned, it will always be prefaced with "Vietnam War Ace" and "Navy Cross and Silver Star Recipient". Bottom line is that it inadvertantly degrades some of the trust the citizens of this nation have for their armed forces. I hope they lock him up and throw away the key.

Wes Askew
American Citizen

 Re: Viet Nam Record
Author: Paul 
Date:   2005-12-05 02:08:12

Could not have been said better . . .

 Re: Viet Nam Record
Author: R. Middlemas 
Date:   2005-12-05 09:20:26

To Wes:

I agree with all that you said except one point: Randy's actions and attitudes will never diminish for me the respect and reverence I have for the armed forces, the people and their mission.

I do not equate Randy with anything other than Randy.

At the most basic level, he is a man who lost his way.

 Re: Viet Nam Record
Author: Paul 
Date:   2005-12-05 15:13:41

" . . . he is a man who lost his way." Moral Compass . . . . I do not know if he ever had a "moral compass" to follow. This guy got some "passes" in his life due to his "ace" status.

1. He broke into his C.O.'s office, and was not drummed out of the Navy.
2. A history of drunk and disorderly and sexual harassment of women.
3. He made open threats that he could "20mm the capital building" and nothing was done.
4. He attacked a fellow Congressman on the House floor, and nothing was done.
5. He constantly referred to those with opposing views as "Homos," "Dikes" and "Socialists" and nothing was done.

Finally, he has stolen from the American people and suborned his public trust and office . . . something is finally being done.

I believe that the Navy and Congress should have trimmed his tail feathers a long time ago. As for those defenders that say his war record should grant him a "pass." Well, defenders, Cunningham has been getting "passes" due to his "ace" status for that boorish behavior since 1975 . . . that is long enough.

Perhaps, had he been called to task earlier, this horrible situation that is playing out now would not have happened.

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