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DeSoto Trace Hears from Navy "Ace"

U.S. Navy fighter pilot "Ace" of the Vietnam War, Randy "Duke" Cunningham spoke to members and guests in Hot Springs at their monthly meeting on Saturday, April 13th. "Duke" recalled a recent trip back to Vietnam where he met with a dozen former North Vietnamese pilots some of whom he had faced in combat on May 10, 1972. On that day Navy pilot Cunningham and his back seat radar intercept officer Willie Driscoll, shot down three MIG aircraft before they were shot down by a surface-to-air missile during the combat. An emotional Cunningham recounted his meeting with the family of a pilot that he had shot down and killed that day. The family had a small shrine set up in one of their rooms for their son and brother and Cunningham presented the family with a scarf. Two of the North Vietnamese pilot's surviving sisters approached him and in retelling the story an emotionally overcome Cunningham had to pause briefly and said the sisters told him that he was now their brother.

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