Chute, Clarence Wellwood, MSgt

Deceased
 
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Last Rank
Master Sergeant
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
111X0-Defensive Aerial Gunner
Last AFSC Group
Aircrew
Primary Unit
1972-1972, Strategic Air Command (SAC)
Service Years
1951 - 1976
Master Sergeant

 Last Photo   Personal Details 


Home State
Maine
Maine
Year of Birth
1932
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSgt Gerald Jones (Jerry)-Deceased to remember Chute, Clarence Wellwood, MSgt USAF(Ret).

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Contact Info
Home Town
Steep Falls
Last Address
Dover, Strafford Co., New Hampshire

Date of Passing
Jun 24, 1993
 
Location of Interment
Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery - Augusta, Maine
Wall/Plot Coordinates
SECTION PC ROW 9 SITE 4

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 Military Association Memberships
Air Force Memorial (AFM)
  2015, Air Force Memorial (AFM) [Verified] - Assoc. Page


 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

 
   
Other Comments:

B-52 Tail-gunner Recalls MiG Downing

101223-F-2661B-006 12.27.2010 By Air Force Staff Sgt. Don Branum U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - If the landmarks here could speak, the B-52 Stratofortress bomber sitting near the academy's north gate would have quite a Vietnam War story to tell.

The B-52 Stratofortress known as "Diamond Lil" sits near the north entrance of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., Dec. 23, 2010. Diamond Lil's tail gunner, Airman 1st Class Albert Moore, shot down a North Vietnamese MiG on Dec. 24, 1972. Diamond Lil came to the Academy after it was decommissioned in 1983. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Don Branum)

The crew of the "Diamond Lil," a B-52D, tail number 55-083, took off from Utapao Royal Thai Naval Airfield on Christmas Eve in 1972. The crew's mission was to bomb the North Vietnamese railroad yards at Thai Nguyen as part of Operation Linebacker II, which took place Dec. 18 to 29, 1972.

However, the Diamond Lil's crew faced enemy air power. A North Vietnamese MiG-21 raced to intercept the B-52. The bomber's tail gunner, Airman 1st Class Albert Moore, noticed the MiG's approach.

"I observed a target in my radar scope 8:30 o'clock, low at eight miles," Moore wrote six days later in his statement of claim for enemy aircraft destroyed. "I immediately notified the crew, and the 'bogie' started closing rapidly. It stabilized at 4,000 yards, 6:30 o'clock. I called the pilot for evasive action and the [electronic warfare officer] for chaff and flares.

"When the target got to 2,000 yards, I notified the crew that I was firing. I fired at the bandit until it ballooned to three times in intensity then suddenly disappeared from my radar scope at approximately 1,200 yards, 6:30 low. I expended 800 rounds in three bursts."

Another gunner aboard the B-52, Tech. Sgt. Clarence Chute, verified Moore's kill in his report.

"I went visual and saw the 'bandit' on fire and falling away," Chute wrote. "Several pieces of the aircraft exploded, and the fireball disappeared in the under-cast at my 6:30 position."

Moore's kill is one of only two confirmed kills by a B-52D in the Vietnam War and the last confirmed kill by a tail gunner in wartime using machine guns.

Following the MiG kill, Moore wrote, "On the way home I wasn't sure whether I should be happy or sad. You know, there was a guy in that MiG. I'm sure he would have wanted to fly home, too. But it was a case of him or my crew. I'm glad it turned out the way it did. Yes, I'd go again. Do I want another MiG? No, but given the same set of circumstances, yes, I'd go for another one." Moore died in 2009 at age 55.

Linebacker II brought the North Vietnamese government back to the negotiating table after earlier talks had broken down. A month after the campaign, North Vietnam and the United States signed a ceasefire agreement.

Diamond Lil continued serving long after the end of the Vietnam War. In all, the aircraft flew more than 15,000 hours and more than 200 combat missions between its commissioning in 1957 and its decommissioning in 1983. It came to the Air Force academy shortly after it was decommissioned.
 
   
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 Unit Assignments
Strategic Air Command (SAC)
  1972-1972, Strategic Air Command (SAC)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1965-1973 Various Air Missions over North Vietnam
  1972-1972 Vietnam Cease-fire Campaign (1972-73)/Operation Linebacker II
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-52 Stratofortress (Buff)  
  1972-1972, B-52 Stratofortress (Buff)
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