May 29, 1992: ACE Commander

  • Published
  • 6500th Support Wing

Col Charles B. DeBellevue assumed command of the 6500th Support Wing, succeeding Col John D. Rhodes. Colonel DeBellevue was the first non-pilot ace and the leading ace of the Vietnam war, having shared in 6 enemy aircraft kills.  Colonel DeBellevue became one of only five Americans to achieve flying ace status during the Vietnam War, and the first as an Air Force weapon systems officer, an integral part of two-man aircrews with the emergence of air-to-air missiles as the primary weapons during aerial combat. 

Some of Col Debellevue's awards and honors include the Air Force Cross, three Silver Stars, a Legion of Merit, six Distinguished Flying Crosses, three Meritorious Service Medals and 18 Air Medals.

On May 20, 2015, Colonel DeBellevue became one of 77 American flying Aces to receive the Congressional Gold Medal in a ceremony in Washington D.C. The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest honor Congress can bestow on behalf of the American people.

Colonel DeBelevue retired from the USAF in 1998 after nearly 30 years of service.

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