BERGER, JAMES ROBERT
RIP - Oct 9, 2015

Name: James Robert Berger
Rank/Branch: O3/United States Air Force
Unit: 480th TFS
Date of Birth: 06 November 1938
Home City of Record: Mansfield OH
Date of Loss: 02 December 1966
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 212000N 1055400E
Status (in 1973): Returnee
Category:
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4C #0753
Incident No: 0534
Missions: 30

Other Personnel in Incident: Hubert Flesher, returnee

Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK March 1997 from one or more of the
following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with
POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.

REMARKS: 730218 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).

JAMES R. BERGER
Major - United States Air Force
Shot Down: December 2, 1966
Released: February 18, l973
                 
I arrived in Da Nang 22 October 1966 from Clark AFB school in the
Philippines. My first mission was 24 October 1966, 36 Wing, 480 Squadron. I
was Senior Guy in Backseat (GIB) and I crewed with Bud Flesher (Captain) in
a F-4 C. I had one C-123 and two O-1E missions, twelve in South Vietnam and
fourteen in North Vietnam.

On 2 December 1966, we were number three in a flight of four F4C's on Mig
Caps just north of  Thudridge. We swung wide to the right of the rest of the
flight with Mig 21 's on our right and a SAM (surface to air missile) on the
left. We were at 14,000 feet, 913 MACH air speed, 100 left bank at SAM
impact.  We immediately gained 500 feet in altitude. We were hit at the
aircraft's center of gravity. We both ejected and were captured. l suffered
a spinal compression upon ejection, a broken arm and a concussion from an
old peasant who beat me over the head. I arrived at "Heartbreak" late the
same night. I endured rope sessions twice daily for a total of seven days
before I broke.
         
I stayed at the following prison camps:
         
Heartbreak 2 December 1966 - 19 December 1966
Zoo Barn 19 December 1966 - 15 May 1967
Zoo Office 15 May 1967 - 8 June 1967
Zoo Pig Sty 8 June 1967 - 11 August 1967
Plantation 11 August 1967 - 29 August 1970
Faith 29 August 1970 - 24 November 1970
Hanoi Hilton   24 November 1970 - 11 October 1971
Zoo Of fice    11 October 1970 - 29 April 1972
Hanoi Hilton   29 April 1972 - 13 May 1972
Dog Patch      13 May 1972 - 18 January 1973
Hanoi Hilton   18 January 1973 - 18 February 1973
Home!   18 February 1973

I was in solitary from 2 December 1966 to 19 January 1967. This was not long
but I had a broken arm. I lived with Ben Ringsdorf from 19 January 1967 to
10 December 1969 in a two man room except for two weeks in early 1967 when
Mike Kerr came in with us. Ben and I learned code through the wall from
Lilly (Major Warren R.) and Hivner (Lt. Col. James O.) in April 1967. Ben
and I were scribes for SRO (senior ranking officer) Rich Stratton (Cmdr.
Richard A.) in Plantation and delivered his notes as dictated. I originated
note drops in wash rack drains with a wire brace. I dug up a 20' piece of
barbed wire, dismantled it and used it to drill holes in the brick walls for
communication. In the communication purge I was defiant and was struck in
the left eye with a fist. This resulted in a closed eye for ten days and
subsequent weakening of the eye muscles and astigmatism.
         
My basic job was scrounging. If anyone needed something I'd get it or a
substitute. Ask those I lived with for examples. I guess I was also rather
stubborn. But I maintained faith and did not talk anti-U.S. affairs as some
did. I felt I did my job and will do it again if necessary. I made my own
flag from a red American polo shirt, white handkerchief and blue cloth from
a piece of gook sweater. I was a constant dishwasher and anti-GOOK!
         
My wife's name is Carole and we have two sons, Bill, born 25 November 1963
and Scott, born 1 May 1965.

----------------------------
James Berger retired from the United States Air Force as a Lt. Colonel. He
and Carole reside in Virginia.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Oct 12, 2015

Lt. Col. James Robert Berger USAF Ret, 76, of Lexington, died Friday, October 9, 2015. Born in Charleston, W.Va., he was a son of the late, Jesse Green Berger and Georgie Pritt Berger. He was the owner of Lexington Building Supply and other businesses for many years. Lt. Col. Berger was a former Vietnam P.O.W. from 1966 to 1972.

Surviving are his wife, Carole Wright Berger; sons, William H. Berger and his two children, Elaina Carole and Jesse Theodosis Berger, and Scott D. Berger and wife, Nora.

A funeral service will be conducted at 11 a.m., Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at Manly Memorial Baptist Church with Dr. J. Michael Wilkins officiating. Burial will follow at Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Manly Memorial Baptist Church Mission Fund. There will be no visitation at the funeral home.

Arrangements by Harrison Funeral Home & Crematory, Lexington.

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