December 18, 1972

1972:   Operation LINEBACKER II: President Nixon orders this 11-day all-out bombing campaign against targets in Hanoi and Haiphong, one of the most heavily defended areas of the world. Altogether, the USAF completes 714 B-52 and 830 tactical fighter sorties, and KC-135s fly more than 1,300 sorties to refuel various aircraft. North Vietnam manages to shoot down 15 B-52s, 2 F-4s, and 2 F-111s in this operation. During his Linebacker II mission, SSgt Samuel O. Turner becomes the first B-52 tail gunner to shoot down an enemy airplane, a MiG-21. He is awarded the Silver Star.