DeBellevue Named ‘River Rat of the Year’

October 26, 2023

AFA Life member Col. Chuck DeBellevue, USAF (Ret.) received the “River Rat of the Year” and “Air Warrior Courage Foundation Humanitarian Award” at the Red River Fighter Pilots Association’s 50th annual reunion Oct. 12-14, 2023, in Bowling Green, Ky. The awards were presented for his dedicated and continuing outstanding volunteer work  over many years leading and mentoring young men and women in AFROTC and young officers in AF Pilot Training. They are the two highest awards bestowed by the River Rats.

DeBellevue served 30 years in the Air Force, most famously in Vietnam where he scored six air-to-air victories in 1972, making him the leading ACE and the last Active-duty American ACE. Since his retirement, DeBellevue has remained an active member of AFA’s Central Oklahoma Gerrity Chapter and has filled a variety of leadership roles. He was awarded the AFA Citation Award for his volunteer work with AFA at the 2023 AFA Warfare Symposium in Aurora, Colo.