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Wall of Honor Level: Air and Space Friend
Dave Waldrop grew up in Nashville, TN and graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1964 with a BS degree. From there he attended Air Force flight training at Laughlin AFB, TX. Upon graduation from flight training, Dave went to Nellis AFB Las Vegas Nevada where he checked out in the F-105 Thunderchief. On completion of his training, he was assigned to Yokota AFB, Japan. In May 1967 Dave volunteered for temporary duty in SE Asia and was sent to Takhli Air Base, Thailand. After flying 45 missions, Dave was released and was to return to Yokota, but instead, requested to be reassigned to Korat AFB, Thailand which needed experienced F-105 drivers due to having experienced some heavy losses. In December 1967, Dave completed his combat tour and returned to Yokota AFB, Japan with 105 combat missions in the F-105 including 49 over Hanoi.
Daves achievements while flying combat include:
3 Silver Stars
3 Distinguished Flying Crosses
12 Air Medals
1 Well Done for saving a sick F-105
1 Ejection in Southeast Asia from a F-105
1 Confirmed Mig-17 Gun Kill
1 Probable Mig-17 Gun Kill
One of these Silver Stars was for One Confirmed Mig-17 Gun Kill and another probable Mig-17 Gun Kill on August 23, 1967. Both Migs were on the tail of another F-105 with the lead Mig firing at the F-105. Dave was able to close on the Migs at a speed of over Mach 1.2 and prevented the other F-105 from being shot down.
On returning to Yokota AFB, Japan Dave checked out in the F-4 Phantom. He was reassigned to the states in September 1968 and was assigned to Kirtland AFB, NM as a Weapons Research and Development Test Pilot. While there Dave flew both the F-104 Starfighter and the F-4 Phantom. Dave also flew as a Maintenance Test Pilot in both the F-105 and F-4 during his service in the USAF.
Dave separated from the USAF in February 1970 and joined Delta Airlines. He flew with them for thirty-two years. During that time, he instructed on the Boeing 737 for six years. After joining Delta, Dave transferred to the Marine Corps Reserves at Dobbins AFB, GA and flew the F-8 Crusader for 4 years until they were retired from service. After leaving the reserve program, Dave built and flew a Pitts Special biplane. He then joined two other Pitts drivers and performed as a formation air show team.
Wall of Honor profiles are provided by the honoree or the donor who added their name to the Wall of Honor. The Museum cannot validate all facts contained in the profiles.