Staff Sgt. Samuel Turner: B-52 Tail Gunner Mig-21 Kill

First bomber gun kill since Korean War

While serving as the tail gunner on a B-52 bomber on a mission over Hanoi, North Vietnam, Turner sighted a pair of Mig-21’s closing on the bomber from behind. As the lead Mig began to open fire, Turner let loose with all four .50 cal machine guns in the tail of the giant bomber. The lead Mig burst into flame and exploded while the other one retreated. It was not the only attack they had encountered that night but his vigilance saved another B-52 from certain death. 31 B-52 bombers were lost over Vietnam in Operation Linebacker II. Staff Sgt. Samuel Turner was awarded the Silver Star for his actions, along with the Distinguished Flying Cross and other Air Medals. He died in 1985 at age 42. His vigilance and courage kept his fellow airmen alive. His B-52D is on display in Spokane, Washington Fairchild Air Force Base.

The price of Freedom is eternal vigilance. Valor is in you. Set it free.

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