USA   F-111 Aardvark OZ
Taps -- Remembrances
Last Updated 31 March, 2004

It is with regret that announces the passing of one of the pioneers of F-111 operations,
Col Ike Dethman (Ret).
Col Dethman was the charismatic Commander of Det 1 428th TFS which, in 1968, deployed to RTAFB Tahkli (Thailand) for COMBAT LANCER, the first combat operations for the F-111 in the Viet Nam war.


Col Ike Dethman
(circa 1968)

Capt Rick Matteis and Col Ike Dethman
on completion of the first F-111 combat mission.

Dear Friends, Wednesday March 24, at 4:45 PM (PST) Col Ivan "Ike" H. Dethman USAF (Ret) drew his last breath and died peacefully. Ike had fought the complications of Parkinsonism for several years heroically as he also lived his life. His wonderful wife Marita and his sister Gloria were at his side when he took his final flight. WE will always remember this man for the service he gave to his country , for the commanding dedication he exhibited when he undertook the preparation and deployment of the first F-111A combat squadron and of his many military contributions both in WWII and after the Combat Lancer missions, also in Vietnam. He was one of 11 children and kept in touch with his large family throughout his life. We all knew Ike in many different situations and I believe he was one of the USAF's finest...
We will miss him and we have all lost another great human from this earth..
Sincerely Steve Bosang

Cards of sympathy can be sent to:
Marita Romson- Dethman
226 Tampico Glen
Escondido CA 92025

Emails may also be sent to
(sorry that you have manually write the email address, but this will prevent spam robots from flooding the address with unwanted mail)

Col. Ivan H. "Ike" Dethman USAF (Ret) was a class act, took 6 untested/low hour virgin F-111A's into the Vietnam Theatre, straight into Hostile North Vietnam Hanoi area route pac's.....the most heavily defended air defense zone man could would take another 23 years and another 2 million F-111 developement hours to deploy into such a hostile region tasking a commander of the F-111 force as they did to him, Ike lost three due to engineering design and pilot training defects, birthing a new technology and weapons platform into combat was to say the least a challenge.

He was a pioneer who stood very tall and straight as the Det. Commander, when the blame gamers and nay sayers wanted a scapegoat...he rose up and took all the hits as the man in charge......unfairly! The F-111 world owes this man a tip of the of my personal heroes....Ike, I know facts speak louder than nay-sayers words!..So....

Thank You Sir!, for your Pioneering efforts!, which made the next generation USAF
F-111 world safer and totally Combat Effective via your 1968 effort.

A page for passed away F-111 folk.
In addition, refer to the MEMORIAL page for lost aircrew.

Chronological Listing

Robert 'Lefty" Brett, Capt. USAF MIA 09/29/72
Cindy Gulledge writes: "My brother Lefty Brett was interred at Arlington cemetery in August of this year. Our family is having a ceremony in his home town of Corvallis, Oregon on October 12, 2002. Any information you would like to share, or if you would like to attend, please e-mail us. Our parents were not able to attend the Arlington ceremony and many of Lefty's friends had no idea his crash site had been found. Many of us just need to celebrate his life and say our good-byes."

Col William "Wild Bill" Coltman,  pilot of Ranger 23 reported MIA 29 Sept 72.  Col Coltman was laid to rest at Arlington, 3rd April 2002.Maj Kimberly Coltman, the daughter of Col William "Wild Bill" Coltman, has contacted to confirm that the remains of her father have been positively identified.  The crash site in northern Laos was excavated by the Hawaiian based JTF-FA in 1998. 
Ranger 23's mission was a night bombing run against a target near the North Vietnam/Laos boarder, and was the F-111A mission in SEA since 1968.
Maj Kimberly Coltman would like to contact anyone who would like to hear more details of the extensive recovery efforts/report by the JTF-FA, or who just wants to share any stories or events.
In Loving Memory of the "Best Fighter Pilot", my father "Wild Bill"  - Kim Coltman

Lt. Col. Terry A. Gettelmen, USAF (Ret.) passed away on Sunday, November 18th at the Portsmouth Regional Hospital.  Terry was a former Commander of the 715th Bombardment Squadron at Pease AFB.  He retired in 1986 and was employed for 14 years as a Senior Accountant by the City of Dover, NH. A memorial service will be held at 1100 Hours, Friday, 23 November at St. John's Episcopal Church, Portsmouth, NH.  The family has requested that in lieu of flowers a contribution be made to the St. John's Episcopal Church Organ Fund.   info from Ed MacNeil

Lt. Col. Bruce A Nelson  ex EF-111A 429th "Raven" sq/cc.... died June 10, 2001 at his home in Mesa, AZ.  A fine, honest, dedicated, very reasonable man sorely missed by his ex "World Famous Desert Ravens" compadres of the 429th ECS.  from the Doc

Info request of the late Lt. Col. Bruce C. Nelson. A relative is seeking any information, stories, thoughts, well-wishes, pictures (actual or color-copies), etc., to include in a scrapbook celebrating his life.
Please send any e-mail correspondence to:

Lt Col (USAF Ret) Clarence R. "Ray" Reed passed away in Clovis, NM 24 April 2001.  The Vark community may remember F-111D 68-095 and it's inflight fire, Ray was the WSO on that flight, that brought the aircraft from 150 miles out on fire, to a safe wheels-up landing at Cannon AFB in 1976.
Sadly missed, and never forgotton.....a sad and sudden loss of a great Vark Aviator!
Ray you were one fine gentleman! VR with love, respect and deep sadness -- from the Doc

Col Rob Balph (retired) passed away on on 21 January 2001. Col Rob Balph was the former Commander of the 55th Tactical Fighter Squadron from 1989 to 1990 at RAF Upper Heyford, England.
Col Balph flew the F-111 at Nellis AFB 1971-1973, Takhli AFB 1972-1973, Mountain Home 1973-1977, RAF Lakenheath 1977-1979, 1983 RAF Brackmell (RAF Staff College), McClellan AFB 1980-1983, Little Marlow England (Staff Officer to RAF) 1984-1986, Cannon AFB 1986-1988, RAF Upper Heyford 1989-1990 (55 TFS CC), then HQ ACC at Langley AFB until his retirement. 

Mac Macneil  Information has been supplied stating that Mac Macneil passed away on 20 January 2001 after a long fight with cancer.   Mac was a pilot in the FB at Plattsburgh from 1985-1990. 

John E. Hockenberger. FB-111A pilot. He flew tail number 68-280, the one that "gracefully" crashed on "Magic Mountain" in Vermont. Passed away on August 5th 2003. Information from his daughter.

Colonel Winston Eugene Moore. One of America's best pilot's to ever have lived had passed away this Tuesday (16 Mar 04), Colonel Winston Eugene Moore. He was in the BMW 509 (Commander in 1971) and had flown the switchblade for many years. He served our country long and hard for 33 years it doesn't take much looking to find all of the wonderful work he had done serving this county. He passed away at home in Shreveport, LA at the age of 80; cancer had gotten the best of him. I thought you may want to know since this website is dedicated to the aircraft he was so familiar with and he loved flying this aircraft.
Stephanie Jane Moore Martino LOGO
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