23. Fate of A-7B Corsair II, BuNo 154508

Flew 154508 on 12/02/69 as Commanding Officer VA-56 off USS Ranger (CV-61) in Gulf of Tonkin.

Fate of 154508. (sixth down)
The pilot of 154508 on that fatal mission was Lt Mike Penn who served aboard USS Ranger, 1976 when I was Commanding Officer.
Mike Penn being celebrated in Houston Texas November 2018


  1. Author

    Captain Nick howdy,

    First, it was great to hear from you, sir, and thanks so very much for sending the info on the A-7B that I shelled out of! Naval Aviation, as you know so very well, is a small world! So very few of us, in the big picture, had the opportunity and honor to fly Navy jets and serve our country.
    I want you to know, sir, that I do a lot of public speaking, contracted with American Speaker’s Bureau, and I refer to you in my Leadership presentation. As I learned from you, Lew Chatham and numerous others, the most important trait of Leadership is “Take care of your people”! I’ll never forget the night the F-4 hit the ramp, and your response to the Admiral, who ordered us to fly that night. Also, your countless actions that simply showed your constant support of your troops.
    I was so fortunate to work for Southwest Airlines, with our founder, Herb Kelleher, who, like you, structured his company around his people. A minority concept in the business world, that believes if you make your people your most important asset, take good care of them, and constantly assure them how important they and their families are to the success of the company, they will in turn treat customers the same, and customers like it and come back for more! It still works, and Herb knew the names of all 50,000 employees, never forgot them, and insisted all employees call him Herb, not Mr. Kelleher!
    It was an honor to serve under your command on Ranger and it was a bittersweet feeling leaving the Navy for the airline world, as I loved it so. ( with the exception of an 8 month vacation in the Hanoi Hilton…)
    Thank you sir for your selfless service to our country and being the ultimate representative of what Leadership is all about.



    Michael Penn


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