Korean War Legacy Project

Richald Alfred Lethe


Richard Alfred Lethe was born in San Francisco, CA. He was working as a writer for the Los Angeles Times covering football where he enlisted in 1951. He arrived in Tokyo and was stationed at Johnson AFB, Japan in the 339th Frontier Interceptor Squadron. He participated in various interceptor missions as a 2nd Lt. and Captain. He specialized as a USAF Fighter Pilot and received many honors for his commitments, including a UN medal and a Presidential Unit Citation. Among the friends he recalls are Gene Kerchner and many others from the 339th FIS. When he rotated home in July 1953, he entered the 58th FIS, Massachusetts, and worked as a salesman for a chemical company (NCH Corp).

Video Clips

Korean War in textbooks/Freedom of Information Act

This clip describes Richard Alfred Lethe's work in high schools. He discusses his work through the Dallas "Tell America" Program where he visits school and speaks to students about the Korean War. He states that American students are interested to learn about the Korean War even though most American textbooks essentially neglect the Korean War.

With the help of the Freedom of Information Act, teachers and students can explore correspondence between Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong; as well as a plethora of other primary source correspondence during this time period.

Tags: Letters

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This clip discusses the role of an all weather interceptor pilot, and the fact that along with the Soviet Union, China and North Korea were training pilots.

This clip also describes an encounter Richard Alfred Lethe had with a Soviet hostile as he was flying only ten miles from the Soviet Union. The Soviets shot down an American B-29.

Tags: Aprokgang (Yalu River),Communists

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