CHAMBERS, CARL DENNIS

Name: Carl Dennis Chambers
Rank/Branch: United States Air Force/O2
Unit: 559 TFS
Date of Birth: 07 March 1941
Home City of Record: Pacific Palisades CA
Date of Loss: 07 August 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 171900 North  1083800 East
Status (in 1973): Returnee
Category:
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4C
Missions:
Other Personnel in Incident: Capt. Glenn Wilson, returnee
Refno:

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).

CARL DENNIS CHAMBERS
Captain - United States Air Force
Shot Down: August 7, 1967
Released: March 14, 1973
                                        
I was born in Santa Monica, California on March 7, 1942. I attended the
local schools and finished my education at California State University at
San Jose with a BA in Business and Industrial Management and a Masters in
Business Administration. Pilot training at Williams AFB, Arizona was
followed by F-4C training at MacDill AFB, Florida. Then on to Cam Ranh Bay,
Republic of Vietnam, where I flew 100 missions over Southeast Asia. On
August 7, 1967, while on a road reconnaissance, mission number 101, I was
shot down.

My front seater, Captain Glen Wilson, and I were captured by the army, quite
quickly, close to the small town of Dong Hoi. We spent over a month being
transferred to the city of Hanoi. During that time we were paraded through
villages, stoned, and kicked by the local townspeople. For a brief twelve
hour period we did manage to escape only to be recaptured and continued on
our journey North. Once we reached our destination we began our internment
in one of the many camps that we were to live in during our five and a half
years of captivity. We could only guess as to why we were moved from camp to
camp - bombing, escape attempts, etc.-since they seemed to follow no logical
pattern.

The worst enemy I had during my imprisonment was my mind. The North
Vietnamese had committed intellectual murder on all of us and keeping our
spirits up was a daily ordeal. I owe my mental and physical well being to my
roommates and family. I had much doubt as to our cause and doubted some of
our leaders but I always had faith that my roommates would help me and my
family would be there. While I was away my family carried on much as it had
before. Both my mother and wife taught school and filled their free time
with POW/MIA activities. My father retired from McDonnell Douglas
Corporation and soon afterwards passed away. (I had guessed this but the
death was not confirmed until my return.)

There are no words, no facial expressions, no movement of the hands that can
adequately describe how it feels to be reborn into the world of the living.
My family has informed me of all the kindness and concern shown to all the
POWs and their families. My undying gratitude goes to all who wore the VIVA
bracelets, wrote letters in our behalf, participated in POW/MIA work, or
included us in their prayers. The warmth with which we have been received
has made our many years seem like a bad dream. THANK YOU.

January 1997  - Update provided by Dennis Chambers.

After life in the Air Force, in the summer of 1973, I joined Eastern
Airlines, and flew  the right seat of a Lockheed Electra on the shuttle run
out of New York. This experience proved to me that flying big airplanes
probably wasn't something I was going to enjoy for the long haul. After the
Arab oil embargo, and being laid off, we moved back to California.

There I took the advice of David Carey and some other roommates that a career
in  sales was my best area of focus. One of the things David suggested was to
call his future father-in-law and talk about commercial real estate. I also
talked to several college friends in commercial real estate, and found that
it seemed to be a good match.

After seven years at Coldwell Banker, a friend and I left to join a firm
called CPS (Commercial Property Services). We've been here since 1981, and
have had some good times and then some bad times, and now we're starting to
have some good times again.

On a personal note, my wife Heather and I bought one of those "fixer-uppers"
down on the Carmel coast, and spend our weekends down there. We have a small
condo with the business attire here in San Jose. We go down for long
weekends, and come up Monday morning. It's worked out very well, something
we should have done a long time ago.

May 1997

CC:   Here is another NVN attempted escape story to add to your
collection.  MM

MM, you've got a great memory. Yes, Glen Wilson and I were able to escape
from a bunker about 50 miles north of the DMZ approximately a week and a
half after we were shot down. We got out late one night when the guards were
goofing around, made our way to the beach, and keeping a long story short,
were able to steal a couple boats. They were both very small boats made of
carved out logs, and therefore were incredibly heavy. Both boats,
unfortunately for us, sunk the minute we got them into the water, which
indicates they were water-logged. There wasn't much we could do about it.

By that time it was late morning, we were exhausted and tried to find a
place to hide for the day. We thought we'd try again that next night. We
could see them looking for us. They missed us the first pass, and then
someone saw some footprints in the wet sand. As you know, sand does have a
tendency to show where you've been if it's rained. It had rained, and our
footprints were rather obvious. The sand was so wet we couldn't cover our
tracks. I don't need to go into description as to how mad they were when our
original guards showed up to take us back. The rest was standard operating
procedure as far as getting to Hanoi.

There's a lot more detail into how we escaped and how we found the boats,
but I don't think it's of much interest to anybody. Hope this helps you.

Sincerely,

Dennis Chambers