b. 29/06/1934 Greenville, Iowa. d. 14/12/1987 ?
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 10/03/1967 Vietnam.
Dethlefsen was born June 1934 in Greenville, Iowa. After attending Iowa State University for two years, he joined the Air Force from Royal, Iowa in 1953, and was commissioned through the aviation cadet program in 1955. After his commissioning as an Air Force officer, he attended undergraduate pilot training and was eventually assigned to fighter assignments. In 1965, he earned his college degree from University of Nebraska at Omaha, with a major in business.
By March 10, 1967 had risen to the rank of Captain.
Maj. Dethlefsen was 1 of a flight of F-105 aircraft engaged in a fire suppression mission designed to destroy a key antiaircraft defensive complex containing surface-to-air missiles (SAM), an exceptionally heavy concentration of antiaircraft artillery, and other automatic weapons. The defensive network was situated to dominate the approach and provide protection to an important North Vietnamese industrial center that was scheduled to be attacked by fighter bombers immediately after the strike by Maj. Dethlefsen's flight. In the initial attack on the defensive complex the lead aircraft was crippled, and Maj. Dethlefsen's aircraft was extensively damaged by the intense enemy fire. Realizing that the success of the impending fighter bomber attack on the center now depended on his ability to effectively suppress the defensive fire, Maj. Dethlefsen ignored the enemy's overwhelming firepower and the damage to his aircraft and pressed his attack. Despite a continuing hail of antiaircraft fire, deadly surface-to-air missiles, and counterattacks by MIG interceptors, Maj. Dethlefsen flew repeated close range strikes to silence the enemy defensive positions with bombs and cannon fire. His action in rendering ineffective the defensive SAM and antiaircraft artillery sites enabled the ensuing fighter bombers to strike successfully the important industrial target without loss or damage to their aircraft, thereby appreciably reducing the enemy's ability to provide essential war material.
BURIAL LOCATION: ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA.
Section 65 Lot 1626