Richter, Karl W., 1st Lt

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Last Rank
First Lieutenant
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
Last AFSC Group
Primary Unit
1966-1967, 388th Tactical Fighter Wing
Service Years
1964 - 1967
First Lieutenant

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by MSgt Eric Baker to remember Richter, Karl W., 1st Lt.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Holly, MI
Last Address
Korat RTAFB, Thailand

Casualty Date
Jul 28, 1967
Hostile, Died of Wounds
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Vietnam, North
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
US Air Force Academy Cemetery - Colorado Springs, Colorado
Wall/Plot Coordinates
24E 013

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

F-105 100 Missions

 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  2012, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Aviator (Basic)

 Unit Assignments
3615th Pilot Training Squadron4526th Combat Crew Training Squadron421st Tactical Fighter Squadron388th Tactical Fighter Wing
  1964-1965, 0006, 3615th Pilot Training Squadron
  1965-1966, 1115E, 4526th Combat Crew Training Squadron
  1966-1967, 1115E, 421st Tactical Fighter Squadron
  1966-1967, 388th Tactical Fighter Wing
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1965-1973 Various Air Missions over North Vietnam
 Colleges Attended 
United States Air Force Academy
  1960-1964, United States Air Force Academy1
 My Aircraft/Missiles
F-105 Thunderchief (Thud)  
  1965-1967, F-105 Thunderchief (Thud)
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

On 28 July 1967, 1st Lt.  Richter was checking out a newly assigned pilot. He took his aircraft down on a bridge, instructing the new wingman to stay aloft and observe. His aircraft was disabled by flak and he had to punch out over very rough country studded with sharp pinnacles of karst (uneven limestone). The wingman saw a good chute, and an Air Rescue Service force heard Richter's beeper.  When they located him, he was near death from multiple injuries probably caused by striking a karst formation. He died aboard the rescue helicopter.

He was on his 198th mission and his second tour in Vietnam when he was killed.  He had been awarded the Vietnamese Distinguished Service Medal by Premier Nguyen Cao Ky.


Air Force Cross

Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pride in presenting the Air Force Cross (Posthumously) to First Lieutenant Karl Wendell Richter, United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force while serving with the 421st Tactical Fighter Squadron, 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, Korat Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, as the leader of a flight of F-105s on a mission over North Vietnam on 20 April 1967. The target, a very important railroad facility, was defended by several hundred anti-aircraft artillery emplacement and SA-2 missiles. Lieutenant Richter's mission was to destroy or limit fire from these defenses immediately before a strike on this facility by fighter bombers. Arriving over the approach to the target, he found clouds obscuring navigational references and increasing the danger from unobserved SAM launches.

Despite weather conditions, Lieutenant Richter, with great professional skill and undaunted determination, led his flight through a barrage of missiles to the target. Braving the heavy concentrated fire of the anti-aircraft artillery, he positioned his flight and attacked the defenses, causing heavy damage.

As a result of his efforts, the fighter bombers of the main strike force encountered only limited defensive fire and destroyed this vital railroad facility. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, First Lieutenant Richter reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: 20-Apr-67
Service: Air Force
Rank: First Lieutenant
Company: 421st Tactical Fighter Squadron
Regiment: 388th Tactical Fighter Wing
Division: Korat Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand

In 1969, Richter was posthumously awarded the Air Force Academy's Jabara Award for airmanship, and in 2005, he was named exemplar of the Academy's Class of 2008.

The public schools administration building in his hometown of Holly, Michigan was named in his honor.

The Holly High School Class of 1960 (Richter's class) annually bestows the Karl Richter Award to a Holly HS senior who excells in athletics.  The 2007 award winner was Thomas C. Baker, who is currenlly a cadet (class of 2011) at the USAF Academy.

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