Today is National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day on this, the 75th anniversary of the Fall of Bataan in the Philippines, 1942.  President Donald J. Trump issued a proclamation for this day, which is viewable at:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/04/07/president-donald-j-trump-proclaims-april-9-2017-national-former-prisoner

Although the 35th PRS did not have any assigned members knowingly captured, at least one former member was captured and died in captivity.  And there is yet the unresolved status of three Lockheed F-5E Photo Lightning pilots yet Missing in Action, though there is no indication this writer is aware of that they were ever a prisoner of the Empire of Japan.

But we should remember a postwar member of the ANG squadron in its 123rd Fighter Squadron designation, Orval H. Tandy, who went on active duty to fly combat in the F-51D Mustang in Korea with the 39th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron of the 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing.  On his 57th combat mission 1st Lt. Tandy was shot down over North Korea on 5 September 1951 and captured.  He was one of over 4,600 U.S. servicemen held captive and was detained in the Pyok-Dong prison camp with over 1,1100 other POW’s.  He was held until 10 September 1953 when he was released after the armistice was signed as part of Operation Big Switch.

Of note, a South African Air Force pilot of the Flying Cheetahs of No. 2 Squadron, 1st Lt. Willem van den Bos, nearly became a cellmate of Tandy’s when his Mustang was also shot down by anti-aircraft fire some 75 miles west of Wonsan, North Korea, while providing rescue combat air patrol (RESCAP) over Tandy in an effort to extract the downed American pilot.  Fortunately a Navy HO3S helicopter was able to reach the South African pilot and rescue him in a hair-raising mission which helped justify requirements for all-weather instrumentation on helicopters.  Unfortunately Tandy was captured, but not without some significant effort by friendly forces to get him out.

For more information on Lt. Tandy’s captivity and the experience of other Oregon ANG fighter pilots in the Korean War, see:  http://www.142fw.ang.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/438188/remembering-redhawk-fighter-pilots-who-sacrificed-during-the-forgotten-korean-w/

We should also remember at least one former 35th PRS pilot who was shot down and captured during the Vietnam War.  Known as “Shifty” in his 35tth PRS service, Edward E. Burdett completed his tour of duty in China by May of 1945 and returned home.  He made a career of the Air Force, and in 1968 he was a Colonel and became the Commander of the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Korat Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, on 1 August 1967.  On 18 November 1967 he was shot down in his Republic F-105 Thunderchief over North Vietnam in an attack against a target near Phuc Yen Airfield.  Captured immediately, he died of his injuries later the same day,  He was posthumously promoted to the rank of Brigadier General and awarded the Silver Star for his final combat mission, the citation of which reads:

“Colonel Edward B. Burdett distinguished himself by gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force over North Vietnam on 30 September 1967. On that date, Colonel Burdett led a twenty ship strike force to a successful attack against a high priority military target. The destruction of this bridge seriously restricts the flow of military supplies to the hostile forces in South Vietnam. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Colonel Burdett has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.”

Source:   http://www.veterantributes.org/TributeDetail.php?recordID=127

So on this National Former POW Recognition Day, 2017, let us render a hand salute to those who served and sacrificed as a POW for our country.  These former captives deserve our recognition and appreciation.

P.S.  Regrets to all readers for the absence of new material in recent months.  A sudden family health crisis required priority attention and still does, so updates will likely be slow for the foreseeable future.  But if you have found this web log, please do look through all the material posted already and you will surely find something else that is interesting.

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