I am a proud life member of the Red River Rats. This organization was formed by individuals who had actually flown over the Red River Valley in North Vietnam to bomb Hanoi during the Vietnam conflict to end the Communist aggression which was being orchestrated from the Communist leadership in Hanoi. I happened to fly the F4 Phantom jet in that conflict. Had the Johnson administration allowed us to use B-52 bombers in this operation, most of us who flew there are convinced the war would have been successfully concluded to our advantage years before.

We who flew in combat in Vietnam do not consider ourselves war heroes. The real heroes did not return, or at least, those who did were awarded a Silver Star, an Air Force Cross, or possibly, a Medal of Honor. We have an out-of-state politician by the name of Troy Downing who, according to his ads, considers himself a war hero who flew in combat. He has not disclosed any combat awards that he personally received for his military service. I believe he is just another one of those fraudulent "heroes" attempting to buy a seat in Congress.

Dr. W. David Herbert