TSGT Raymond Francis Leftwich was killed in action on 9 March 1967, when the EC-47 aircraft, callsign TIDE 86, on which he was serving as an Airborne Morse Systems Operator, was downed by enemy fire over South Vietnam. Tide 86 was the first EC-47 lost to enemy fire.
TSGT Leftwich was born 20 September 1925, in Treece, Kansas. He enlisted in the United States Navy in 1942 and served in the Central Pacific Theater in World War II as a Navy radio operator. His tours included action in the Solomons, Leyte, Luzon, and Ryukyu Islands. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in December 1946 and served three years before going into the Air Force Reserve. After a short break in service, he enlisted in the active duty Air Force in 1954 and in 1963 was stationed at Goodfellow AFB, Texas, where he attended Morse Code training.
TSGT Leftwich’s Security Service assignments included the 6987th Radio Group Mobile Squadron, Shu Lin Kou Air Station, Taiwan and 6948th Security Squadron Mobile, Goodfellow AFB, Texas. In October 1966, he was reassigned to Det 1, 6994th Security Squadron, Nha Trang Air Base, Vietnam, as an Airborne Morse Intercept Supervisor.
TSGT Leftwich’s awards and decorations include the American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, Philippine Liberation Ribbon with two bronze service stars, World War II Victory Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and the Air Medal. TSGT Leftwich was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, Air Medal and Air Force Commendation Medal posthumously.
TSGT Leftwich is interred in section 51, site 2021, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia. His name is engraved on the Vietnam Veteran Memorial Wall on Panel 16E, line 46.
TSGT Leftwich has dormitories at Kelley AFB, TX and Goodfellow AFB, TX named in his honor, as well as a picnic area on Misawa AB