The History Behind History and Heritage

U.S. Air Force Marathon
5030 Pearson Rd, Bldg 219, Room 106
WPAFB, Ohio 45433

July 4, 2020


I’ve run your race a number of times, once the full and I believe three times the half. At 71 I’ve decided to experience different venues, but I would love to return to Dayton.

If you would, please consider the F-111 as your medal choice for down the road. I worked on that aircraft at Nellis back in the ’60s and ’70s. I believe the swing wing medal would be attractive for those who are inclined to be swayed by hardware. Me, I’d come to get one, but more so to enjoy your race again.

As I do in every event where I compete, I run in my Fisher House shirt, and would sign on to run with them again. I got that shirt in your event years ago.

Be well, and good luck down the road.


Kenneth D. Frick

USAF 1968-1972

RVN 1971-1972

When the pandemic hit in March and there was a big switch to virtual, we realized that we also needed to adapt in order to continue growing through the year of unexpected change. We didn’t want to do something that was random and senseless. It needed to be something that was meaningful, not just to us, but to you all and to the U.S. Air Force.
And then Kenneth D. Frick wrote us the letter above in July asking if we could feature the F-111 at the Air Force Marathon in September. We couldn’t feature the F-111 because it was retired by the USAF in 1998, and the Air Force Marathon always features active aircraft. Instead, we started thinking about how we could feature this aircraft. We wanted to honor all of the aircraft that have flown and made the Air Force what it is today but are no longer with us. Then, it hit us…

The Air Force Marathon is proud to introduce our new History & Heritage Race Series, a virtual race series which allows participants from all over the world to participate right from their home. You will have the option to choose to participate in the marathon, half marathon, 10K, or 5K.

The History & Heritage Race Series will feature retired aircraft in order to begin to highlight all of the great aircraft that have shaped the U.S. Air Force’s air power throughout history! There will be six aircraft featured in 2021 with each aircraft revealed one at a time. We announced the F-111 Aardvark as the first aircraft in our new History & Heritage Race Series as a way to thank our friend, Ken, for the awesome idea!

History & Heritage of the F-111 Aardvark

The General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark was a jack of all trades during its career with the USAF and was known for its many first. The A/C was a supersonic, medium-range interdictor and tactical attack A/C that also could be used for strategic nuclear bombing, aerial reconnaissance, and electronic warfare depending on the model. The Aardvark was a true pioneer, it was the first A/C to feature variable-sweep wings, afterburning turbofan engines, and automated terrain-following radar for low-level high-speed flight. Many of its advancements have since become common place in modern A/C.

The F-111 would be heavily utilized in Vietnam in Operations Linebacker I and II and earned the nickname, “Whispering Death”. It’s ability to fly at high speed at just 200’ above ground level in most weather conditions made it extremely effective and as a bonus could carry the payload of 4 F-4 Phantoms. The Aardvark would see combat missions all the way through Desert Storm and was ultimately retired by the USAF in 1998 but would serve as late as 2009 with the Royal Australian Air Force!

The F-111A that lives at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force features 1-20mm M61A1 cannon and up to 24 conventional or nuclear bombs. It has two Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-3 engines with 18,500 lbs of thrust each. It could fly at 1,452 mph and cruise at 685 mph with a range of 3,632 miles and a ceiling of 57,000 feet. Thanks to its variable sweep wings, the wing span could be as narrow as 32’ swept or as wide as 63’ extended.

There will be 6 events in 2021 featuring different aircraft from pre-WWII, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, post-Vietnam, and an experimental aircraft. If you like virtual races and/or love the awesome aircraft from the proud history and heritage of the USAF, give this series a look! Register here – https://bit.ly/HHRS1

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