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The North American F-100F was the designated ride for Misty pilots. (David Tipps / DavidTipps.com)

The Misty Mystique

Over Vietnam, F-100 pilots flew fast and low. Later, they hit the heights.

There was never any solid measure of how much southward-bound North Vietnamese armament Mistys helped demolish. On one successful mission during the 1968 Tet Offensive, 79 trucks were destroyed, and the pilots believed that such successes would have been more frequent had there not been technical shortcomings involving bombing accuracy and the lack of a capability to operate at night. Whatever the number of trucks or arms destroyed on a mission, the pilots knew that for at least the next day of the war, life for U.S. troops on the ground was safer.

Mark Bernstein writes on American history. His next book, John Joyce Gilligan: The Politics of Principle, a biography of Ohio’s leading postwar Democrat, will be published this fall by Kent State University Press. He wrote about the restoration of the Memphis Belle B-17 (Oct./Nov. 2008).

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