USAF F-100 Pilot Maj. Robert F Ronca 613th TFS, 401st TFW out of England AFB, 1964

16 responses

  1. Joe Myers

    This appears to be a picture from 1964 but not of the 77th TFS but of the 613th TFS, 401st TFW out of England AFB, LA. The pilots are wearing “Squid” patches from the 613th TFS. Major Ronca, Commander of the 613th was KIA on February 19, 1965 on a mission flown from Danang AB, South Vietnam.

    Joe Myers

    February 24, 2011 at 5:06 am

  2. Clark E. 'Jake' Koller

    I first met Maj. Ronca at Eglin AFB in 1959. he was an F100 Test pilot and I was a A/2C with the weather detachment. He use to call me’Range Rider’. We bowled in a base league on Wednesday nights. He use to ask me ‘where you going tomorrow morning’.. I’d tell him what range I had to be on for some test etc… One morning as I was headed out to the range, he buzzed me with his F100 about 75 feet over my truck…I later met his son when I was with Control Data Institute in Atlanta. His son was 5 years old when his Dad was KIA. I told his son stories of his Dad and is was a very memorible occasion for me.

    May 1, 2011 at 3:59 pm

  3. David Ronca

    This is a picture form the Feb. 1965 Life magazine. The magazine came out just after he died. They did the shoot in January. I am David, his son who was almost 5-years old when he was killed.

    March 17, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    • Robert R Ronca

      Hello David. I am you fathers ‘second cousin. I often post what little I have of him on FB from time to time. I was eleven in 65. I don’t know anyone from your side but I remember meeting your mother at one of the reunions. I would love to get to know you and more about Uncle Bob. That is what we called him. We were all very proud. I do hope you see this.

      September 20, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    • Greg Freuler

      Hi David,

      I was in a Goodwill store in Portland, Oregon, where I live, and I was looking for some unique items. I found a coffee mug that blew me away. It had a fighter squadron logo with an octopus holding a missile and the name on the mug was Maj. Bob Ronca. I knew I had to do some research to find out who this was and it lead me to this page.

      Your father was a true hero and I have no doubt you are very proud of him. I know I would be.

      The mug is in perfect condition and as much as I love it, I know it needs to be with your family. I’d like to send it to you. I couldn’t attach a picture, or I would have done so.

      Please let me know where I can send it and I’ll get it out to you.

      Kindest regards,

      Greg Freuler

      July 14, 2016 at 5:52 pm

      • David Ronca

        I just saw this message. Would love to have the mug. Lost both parents before I was an adult, and much of my dad’s USAF stuff got lost. Recently, I have been building a collection of the same artifacts from eBay and other sellers. You can email me at david (at) beloved5 (dot) com. Thanks.

        November 5, 2017 at 2:59 am

      • Joe Kremers

        Hey Greg Freuler: My name is Joe Kremers. I live in Wilsonville. I served with Major Ronda in VN and I have some “new-old” 613th TFS stuff ( including a coffee mug with the 613th emblem. I was interested in your story, finding Major Ronca’s mug. Give me a call sometime at (503)318-4076

        November 5, 2017 at 4:38 am

  4. David Ronca

    And yes, this is the 613th out of England Airforce Base, Alexandria, LA.

    March 17, 2013 at 11:41 pm

  5. Jack Dragone

    I remember reading the tribute to Major Ronca in the Norristown Times Herald. I believe it was in some major newspapers too. The tribute came before he died and we were shocked when we heard he had been killed. I didn’t know him personally but I know many of his relatives. David and all in his family can be immensely proud of this courageous man.

    September 20, 2013 at 9:03 pm

  6. Joe Kremers

    Hi David. My name is Joe Kremers. I was a weapons officer with your Dad’s F-100 squadron (613th) at Da Nang 1964-5. I saw him every day, shared some martinis and steaks with him, and was on the flight line 24/7 from November ’64 until we rotated back home in March ’65. I’m sure that you know that, besides your Dad, we also lost Captain Martin (KIA) and Lt. Lockhart, Jr., who was a POW for many years in North VN. Contact me if you have any questions.

    February 18, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    • David Ronca

      Hey Joe. Interested in anything I can learn about my dad. I was quite young when he was KIA. Also, there was a lot of politics at the time. He was shot down over Laos, but we “weren’t in Laos”, and so there were many denials at high level. His possibly MOH heroics were not considered as such because of the politics. The NV claimed they had his body, but we said we did. We had a funeral, and then a mysterious second grave side service. My mom also died while I was young, and by the time I was old enough to care about these questions, there was no one to ask.

      (four oh eight) 515-4844.

      August 30, 2018 at 11:33 pm

  7. John Wertz

    Hello David. My name is John Wertz. I’m originally from Alex., La. {home of Alexandria Air Field, prior to England AFB, when my father was a B-17 flight instructor there before deploying to East Anglia (Molesworth, England), shot down and became POW on 2/16/45}. Your sister Linda and I were in the same 4th grade classroom at Prompt Succor, when that fateful day of your dad’s KIA notice arrived. Someone came for Linda that morning and we never saw her again. And then the news came out that evening. All the kids in class were devastated and never forgot what he did for our country but we always wondered what happened to ya’ll. You can be proud of your hero father. I always look for him when I see the Vietnam moving memorial or I’m in D.C.

    June 15, 2014 at 8:54 am

  8. Joe Kremers

    This is a message for anyone from the Ronca family. As stated above, I was the weapons officer with Major Ronca’s squadron in RVN when he was killed. If you would like to ask me any questions about that time, I would be happy to respond.

    February 25, 2017 at 5:33 am

  9. Pingback: F-100 Pilot Hayden Lockhart - The First USAF Vietnam POW - Super Sabre Society

  10. Greg Freuler

    To both David Ronca and Joe Kremers: After I left my original message here about the finding Major Ronca’s mug, I closed the page and realized that I found this site randomly. Later, I tried to check back for any response, but couldn’t find the site. Today, I randomly stumbled upon it again.

    I’m glad to hear all of these stories about Major Ronca and it has made the find of the mug even more special and knowing that you will have this mug will warm my heart, as I can only imagine how devastated it must be to have lost both your parents at a young age; having both mine alive now in their mid-80’s.

    David, I will send you an email per your request to get your address to send you the mug.

    Joe, I am now living in Wilsonville and will give you a call.

    Kindest regards,


    August 30, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    • Joe Kremers

      David: yes, please do give me a call. (503)318-4076. I live in Charbonneau

      September 1, 2018 at 6:10 am

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