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1st Lt. Karl W. Richter

First Lt. Karl W. Richter, U.S. Air Force Academy Class of 1964, was posthumously awarded the 1969 Jabara Award for his heroic actions in the air over Southeast Asia.

He was assigned to Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, in the spring of 1966; on Sept. 21, the 23 year-old became the youngest pilot ever to shoot down a MIG fighter aircraft.

After completing his first 100-mission tour, Richter volunteered for a second 100-mission tour. On July 28, 1967, on his 198th mission, his aircraft was hit by enemy ground fire. He ejected safely but was critically injured when he landed in mountainous terrain. Richter died in the rescue helicopter on the way to a hospital.

Richter’s decorations and service awards include the Air Force Cross, the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross with three oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal with 21 oak leaf clusters, and the Purple Heart. The cadet social center, a cafeteria in Arnold Hall, is named his honor.

(September 2018)