Aerial Victory Credits Foreword

USAF Wartime Aerial Victory Credits
edited by Daniel L. Haulman

Air Force Historical Research Agency
Maxwell AFB AL

Air Force flyers earn aerial victory credits for shooting down manned enemy aircraft during war. During the twentieth century, the United States has participated in five major wars, World War I (1917-1918), World War II (1941-1945), the Korean War (1950-1953), the Vietnam War (1958-1973), and the Southwest Asia War (1990-1995). The United States also participated in United Nations operations in the Balkans during the 1990s. In each of these wars, the Air Force and its predecessors defined the criteria for earning aerial victory credits. Because the criteria changed from war to war, one cannot readily compare the aerial victories of one war with another. In World War I, a flyer earned a whole aerial victory for each of the aircraft he helped to bring down. In World War II and the Korean War, the credit for bringing down a single enemy aircraft was divided into fractions for each of the flyers who contributed to the victory. In Vietnam, if an F-4 crew shot down one enemy airplane, both the pilot and the weapon systems officer each earned a whole aerial victory credit. During the Persian Gulf War, the fractional system of World War II and the Korean War was used again.

Air Force historians have kept official records of their service's aerial victory credits since 1957. These records have appeared in several previous publications, most of them specializing in one of four wars. In 1988, these records were updated, corrected, and collected into one book, with a separate section devoted to each of the wars. Each section contained alphabetical and chronological subsections.

For several reasons, a new edition has become necessary. The 1988 edition is out of print and out of date. Amendments to the official statistics need to be published. Moreover, the United States fought in additional conflicts with new sets of Air Force aerial victory credits.

This book is dedicated to all those Air Service, Army Air Forces, and United States Air Force members, living and dead, who risked their lives to shoot down enemy aircraft. They contributed to the attainment of air superiority, an essential element of victory in modern war.