BARNETT, ROBERT WARREN
Name: Robert Warren Barnett Rank/Branch: United States Air Force/O4 Unit: 44 TFS Korat Airbase Thailand Date of Birth: 12 October 1928 Home City of Record: Los Angeles CA Date of Loss: 03 October 1967 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 210300 North 1065000 East Status (in 1973): Returnee Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F105D Missions: Other Personnel in Incident: Refno: 0845
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.
REMARKS: 730314 RELEASED BY DRV
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977 Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602 Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and spelling errors).
ROBERT W. BARNETT Lieutenant Colonel - United States Air Force Shot Down: October 3 1967 Released: March 14 1973
As I write this on 3 April 1973, I'm at my parent's house in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. I was released from Hanoi 14 March and arrived at March AFB, California on the 17th where I met my wife, Anita; daughter, Lori; my sister Doreen; my brother Don; his family and many other friends. I was finally home.
I had kissed my wife and daughter, then age 7, goodbye at the Los Angeles International Airport on 3 July 1967 on my way to Korat AFB Thailand where I Was to be assigned as an F-105D pilot in the 44th Tactical Fighter Squadron. As I got aboard the PSA Electra for Oakland on my way to Travis AFB for my departure overseas I felt a great sorrow and my eyes began to moisten. Somehow I sensed that it would be a long time before I would see them again.
In 1967 I was a Major in the Unite State Air Force and have been flying since 1953 when I entered the Air Force after graduating from the University of Southern California. My wife and I were born and raised in Los Angeles and while in college we met and married. We celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary on 7 June 1972 while I was a prisoner.
My military career consists of three years in the United States Coast Guard and nearly twenty years in the Air Force. My overseas assignments have been in Iceland, Ecuador, and Thailand. In the States I've been stationed at Perrin AFB, Phoenix Air Defense Sector, and Hamilton AFB to name a few.
On 3 October 1967 on my 43rd combat mission over North Vietnam as I approached my target at Bac Ninh 18 miles northeast of Hanoi a surface to air missile exploded near my aircraft causing a fire in the engine and loss of flight controls. Eventually I ejected 15 miles from the coast northeast of Haiphong. A valiant effort was made to rescue me but I was captured on the morning of the 5th when the Communists tracked me down with a dog. My prison life began when I arrived at the "Hanoi Hilton" on 7 October l967 and lasted 1989 days. It is impossible to properly condense nearly five and a half years as a POW into such a short space.
The many stories that are coming out are true. My wife did not know my status until 27 March 1970. I did not receive any mail until 18 September 1970. I don't need to elaborate on the treatment as much has already been said. I feel certain the pressure from the good people in the United States led to our improved treatment in October 1969. I thank God for this as I feel certain that many of us would not have held up for another three years.
I had not been very religious and perhaps am still not in the classic sense but God came into my life and sustained me. The church services that we were allowed to have later (1971) and daily prayers gave me great comfort. I have always and will always believe in our country. We hold that what we were doing in Vietnam was right. We wanted to come home with honor. Had the United States just pulled out and had no bargaining position I believe without doubt that many of us would have been tried as war criminals and many would never have rejoined their families.
I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their prayers concern compassion and assistance they have given me and my family. In the midst of our happiness at being home again I cannot help but feel sorrow for the many dear friends who lost their lives in Vietnam and for the families whose loved ones will never return. I pray that they do not lose faith in their God and country for I'm sure their husbands or sons never did.
========================== Robert Barnett retired from the United States Air Force as a Colonel. He and his wife Anita live in Arizona.
========================= From - Sat May 13 18:03:29 2000 From: Bob Barnett Subject: Disclaimer
For anyone who might care.. Re: reprinting of an article in the Dallas Morning News by Mary Peachin..
There are some errors that cause me some embarassment. I know Mary was very touched by her visit to Ha Lo and upon her return she called me to show me photos and tell me about it. She obviously must have assumed that I had been locked up in Heartbreak for the whole time. and chained in irons.. It is a grim place that would shock anyone.
However, except for a good part of one day in Heartbreak, I was in the nobby green room for 5 or 6 days. Lost track. Got the usual initiation, but not as bad as some, I guess. Was moved to to Little Vegas (Rivera, Golden Nugget and then to Thunderbird. After just a month was moved to Annex in Zoo with Digger Odell, Wayne Waddle and Jim Clements. Lived in cell #10, Pool Hall with Dwight Sullivan for over a year.. Anyway, was at Zoo until we all moved to Unity. So I didn't live five years in "this" small cell. Lived in other small cells. No big deal. My airplane was hit 11 miles North of Hanoi, Bac Ninh, but ejected 17 mi NE of Haiphong.
I did spend part of 3 days and 2 nights running around. Was imprisoned 1989 days - left out 1000 days, probably a typo. Actually spent most of my time with a least 1 - 4 cellmates and later on with up to 27 at Unity.
True about my back injuries, but I think I was just numb. Didn't know it had been compressed until I came home and had X-Rays. True, was MIA for 2 1/2 years, etc. About stunk so bad.. I remember an "inspection" while in #10 Pool Hall, Zoo. They opened door and wouldn't come in. Sully and I wondered what their problem was. They had us go to well and throw some buckets of water in cell. We must have smelled better after that. Most of the rest of story fairly accurate, but can't remember me telling her all that stuff. Anyway, as I said, I am a little embarassed and try to remain invisible, as I did in jail.. Hard to do sometimes. About waning nightmares..I have been lucky, my wife has more nightmares than I do.
I felt I needed to at least try to get it straight. I know Mary wanted to make the article touching and I know the trip to Vietnam made a big impression on her. At least my trip to Vietnam left an impression on me.. GB Roberto