Vermont Public is independent, community-supported media, serving Vermont with trusted, relevant and essential information. We share stories that bring people together, from every corner of our region. New to Vermont Public? Start here.

© 2024 Vermont Public | 365 Troy Ave. Colchester, VT 05446

Public Files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact or call 802-655-9451.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Middlesex Man Flew Dangerous 'Misty' Missions Over North Vietnam

Don Jones flew missions into North Vietnam in Misty F-100s during the Vietnam War.
Ric Cengeri
Don Jones flew missions into North Vietnam in Misty F-100s during the Vietnam War.

Don Jones is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who is 91 years old and lives in Middlesex. He was one of just 157 pilots who flew the Misty F-100 missions into North Vietnam between 1967 and 1970. These planes were low-flying aircraft crewed by two pilots charged with finding targets for other fighters to attack.

Jones grew up in Sturgis, Michigan with dreams of flying, inspired by the exploits of Charles Lindbergh. He went on to log over 16,000 flying hours for our country in a career than spanned a quarter of a century.

Jones said that the Misty pilots became very familiar with the North Vietnamese terrain, often not needing to consult a map while flying these dangerous missions.

Jones estimates the 25 percent of the pilots were lost during the two years of the operation in the late 1960s.

Credit Ric Cengeri / VPR
Don Jones at his home in Middlesex.

"Hardly anybody got away with not being hit," Jones said. "I was hit a couple of times. Once very bad. Took off part of the flap."

But he notes that the Misty pilots had a strategy to avoid being hit by groundfire by turning the plane. "We'd climb, turn and try to keep that movement up so that we never flew through the aiming point of a gun that was fired. And it usually worked. I don't recall anyone saying that they had  a quiet mission."

Broadcast live on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Over the last several months, we've been meeting some pretty fascinating Vermonters. If you know of a Vermonter who has an interesting life story, we'd love to hear about them. Send an email to

Ric was a producer for Vermont Edition and host of the VPR Cafe.
Jane Lindholm is the host, executive producer and creator of But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids. In addition to her work on our international kids show, she produces special projects for Vermont Public. Until March 2021, she was host and editor of the award-winning Vermont Public program Vermont Edition.
Latest Stories