Crusaders flew into combat in Southeast Asia
almost at the outset of the conflict in 1964. Functioning as day
fighters, attack aircraft, all-weather and photo reconnaissance
airplanes, F-8's and the Navy and Marine pilots who flew them
admirably made their presence known to the enemy.
During the early days of the action, when the enemy actively
challenged U.S. aerial fighter expertise, F-8 Crusaders
accounted for more than half of the MIG aircraft downed by Navy
and Marine pilots. A total of 19 MIGs fell to the deadly
Crusader. The enemy gave the F-8 a healthy respect, as evidenced
by the last MIG kill credited to the airplane, if not its
Near Haiphong, NVN, on May 23, 1972, two F-8 pilots off the USS
Hancock closed in on a MIG-17. Realizing the peril of his
situation, the MIG pilot elected to do the only sensible thing
under those conditions - he ejected and his aircraft crashed in
flames without a shot being fired by the Crusaders.
Unfortunately, since neither F-8 pilot had fired a shot neither
was credited with an official kill.