DRISCOLL, JERRY DONALD
RIP 02/20/2016
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Name: Jerry Donald Driscoll
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit: 469th Tactical Fighter Squadron
Date of Birth: 21 February 1940
Home City of Record: Chicago IL
Date of Loss: 24 April 1966
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 212900N 1060700E (XJ156758)
Status (in 1973: Released POW
Category:
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F105D
Other Personnel In Incident: William E. Cooper (missing) in same flight
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 1990 from one or more
of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources,
correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated
loss coordinate typo - P.O.W. NETWORK 2002.
REMARKS: 730212 RELSD BY DRV
SYNOPSIS: On April 24, 1966, a multi-plane strike force departed Korat
Airbase, Thailand on a strike mission on a highway-railroad bridge north of
Hanoi. The target was a vital link, bearing traffic coming down from China.
The Squadron Commander (and commander of the mission), LtCol. William E.
Cooper was in one flight of four F105s. In another of the flights was 1Lt.
Jerry D. Driscoll.
As the first flight approached the target, Cooper's F105D was hit by a
surface-to-air missile (SAM). The plane subsequently broke in half, and the
front section, with canopy intact, was observed as it fell into a flat spin.
Witnessed did not see Cooper eject and and believed the he went down with
the aircraft, but there was doubt enough that the Air Force determined him
Missing in Action rather than killed.
Just afterwards, 1Lt. Jerry D. Driscoll (code-name Pecan 4) was inbound to
the target, about ten miles north, going approximately 550 knots (about 600
miles per hour) when his aircraft was struck in the tail by anti-aircraft
fire, causing it to catch fire. Flames were blowing out the back twice as
long as the aircraft. Others in the flight radioed to Driscoll that he was
on fire, and he immediately prepared to eject as the aircraft commenced a
roll. Driscoll punched out at about 1000 feet, with the aircraft nearly
inverted, and as a result, his parachute barely opened before he was on the
ground. He had removed his parachute and was starting to take off his heavy
flight suit when he was surrounded by about twenty North Vietnamese and
captured.
Driscoll was moved immediately to the "Heartbreak Hotel" in Hanoi where his
interrogation (and torture) began. Driscoll was a POW for the next seven
years, and was released in Operation Homecoming on February 12, 1973.
Just before his release, one returning POW was told by his interrogators
that LtCol. Cooper had died in the crash of the aircraft. At least one
intelligence report, however, indicates that Cooper was captured alive. The
U.S. believes the Vietnamese could account for Cooper and his name has been
included on lists brought before the Vietnamese in recent years as one of
scores of "discrepancy cases" it is felt can be resolved.
When the Peace Accords were signed ending American involvement in Vietnam,
591 American prisoners were released. Experts at the time expressed dismay
that "some hundreds" expected to be released were not, yet only perfunctory
efforts to secure the release of the others were made. In our haste to leave
Indochina, we abandoned some of our best men.
Shockingly, many authorities now believe, based on over 10,000 reports
relating to these missing Americans, that there are still hundreds alive in
captivity. Whether Cooper could be among them is unknown, but what seems
certain is that if even one is still alive, we have a moral obligation to
bring him home.
William E. Cooper was awarded the Air Force Cross, Distinguished Flying
Cross with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with 7 oak leaf clusters and the
Purple Heart. He was promoted to the rank of Colonel during the period he
was maintained Missing in Action. He is married and has five children.
Jerry D. Driscoll graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1963, and was
promoted to the rank of Captain during his captivity.

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).
JERRY D. DRISCOLL
Captain - United States Air Force
Shot Down: April 24, 1966
Released: February 12, 1973
                                        
My military service started when I entered the United States Air Force Academy
in June 1959, graduating on June 5, 1963. In October 1965 I volunteered to go
to Southeast Asia. On April 24, 1966, on my 11 2th combat mission, my F-105
jet fighter bomber was shot down. When I was on the ground my helmet was
ripped off and I had cuts all over. Twenty people surrounded me, some with
guns and some with bamboo sticks. You know, a sharpened bamboo stock will kill
you as fast as a gun. I had a sprained ankle and a twisted knee. I never once
saw a doctor, but the body has great recuperative powers when given a chance.
On July 6, 1966 I was the head of the second group of the infamous "street
march". It got out of hand. They were a raging mob, throwing sticks at us. I
was punched and kicked; it got so bad it was even a matter of survival for our
guards.
There are still circular scars on my wrists which will serve as a life-long
reminder of the torture endured in the ancient French walled prison in the
center of Hanoi. This was the one dubbed the Hanoi Hilton.
I had learned at the Air Force Academy never to make a harmful statement about
your country, but I was also told "Don't let them do any permanent damage to
you." When I kept telling my captors I would never sign their statements, they
forced me to sit on a pile of bricks for 24 and 48 hour periods, hands
handcuffed behind my back and then hoisted up to the shoulder blades. They
would then twist the handcuff chains as tight as they could. Then they would
make me lie on my stomach while they pounded the handcuffs tighter with their
feet. If you brought your hands down at all, the handcuffs would cut deep into
your wrists.
Once I sat like that for 90 hours, with no sleep. I passed out. I still would
not sign, so they used ropes to bring the elbows together behind my back and
cut off the circulation. I lasted six days like that, with the cuffs and
ropes. That's when I thought I would go crazy-I signed an apology for dropping
bombs over their land.
I kept in shape with push-ups and lifting weights made by rolling a bunch of
our bed mats (made of elephant grass) together. We were given three cigarets a
day, and later, six. That was the only warmth in the place. There was no heat
even in the winter. It got very cold.
When one is placed in the situation we experienced in North Vietnam, there
comes the great, painful realization that what we all take so much for granted
is no longer available. In such a situation you can't help but appreciate what
we have in this great country of ours. That appreciation became even greater
when, after seven years of living under Communism, I returned to find a very
grateful nation welcoming us as we stepped off the airplane.
There is but one word which best describes the United States of
America-FREEDOM!

Jerry Driscoll retired from the United States Air Force as a Colonel. He and
his wife Sharon reside in Minnesota.
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http://pownetwork.org/fonda/fonda_driscoll.htm
The Fonda chain letter from 2000.... and the reality.
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02/21/2016
I am so sorry to tell you my husband, buddy, and friend Jerry Driscoll died yesterday, 
day before his birthday. He had a form of ALS called PLS.  He is finally at peace...
love to all of you for your kindness towards Jerry....Sharon
 A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, March 1, at the Holy Name of Jesus, 155 
County Road 24, Wayzata, MN 55391 at 11AM.  Burial will be at the cemetery next to the church 
immediately following the Mass.  County Road 24 is the same as Rockford Road and the church is 
about 3.5 miles west of 494 on Rockford Road and about 3.5 of mile west of County Road 101.
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FINAL SWEEP
 
Jerry Driscoll, RIP
 

 
Driscoll, Colonel Jerry D. Colonel Jerry D. Driscoll (USAF, Retired), passed away at home 20 February 2016, at the age of 75, after a 6-year battle with Primary Lateral Sclerosis, a slower acting form of ALS. In the words of the late Adlai E. Stevenson, "Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime," words Jerry embodied as he dedicated much of his life to his country. Jerry was born in Chicago, Illinois, 21 February 1940. A 1958 graduate of De La Salle High School, he studied for 1 year at St. Mary's College in Winona, Minnesota, before receiving his appointment to the Air Force Academy, June 1959. He graduated in 1963 with a B.S. degree and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. Colonel Driscoll completed pilot training at Craig AFB, Alabama, receiving his pilot wings in October 1964, followed by an assignment to F-105 "Thunderchief" Combat Crew Training. After F-105 training, June 1965, he was assigned to the 560th Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS), McConnell AFB, Kansas, until November when reassigned to the 469th TFS, Korat AB, Thailand.

 
While on his 112th mission, he was shot down over North Vietnam 24 April 1966 and immediately captured. Many of his 2,487 days of captivity were spent at Hoa Lo prison, a.k.a. the Hanoi Hilton. Driscoll was held in captivity nearly 7 years before his release 12 February 1973, with the first group of U.S. POWs to come home. Colonel Driscoll received training in the F-4 "Phantom" at George AFB, California, and in 1974 was assigned as Instructor Pilot in the F-4 at Homestead AFB, Florida. From July 1977 to June 1978, he attended the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and earned a Master's degree in Business Management from Central Michigan University. From July 1978 to June 1981, Jerry was assigned to the Air Force Inspection and Safety Center at Norton AFB, California, as F-105/A-10 Project Officer, and then as Chief, Fighter/Trainer Branch, Flight Safety Division. Jerry also earned an MBA from the University of Utah in 1981. From July 1981 to October 1982, he was assigned to Columbus AFB, Mississippi, as Instructor Pilot in the T-38 aircraft, and Asst. Operations Officer of the 50th Flying Training Squadron (Survival), at Fairchild AFB, Washington, from November 1982 to May 1984. He was Commander, and Professor of Aerospace Studies, AFROTC Detachment 85, University of California-Berkeley, July 1987 to June 1987.

 
Colonel Driscoll retired from the Air Force on 1 July 1987, after 24 years of service. Jerry flew for American Airlines from August 1987 to February 2000, retiring as a 727 Captain. He went on to pilot the Citation X for NetJets Aviation until he retired his wings in 2009. Colonel Driscoll's decorations include: Silver Star, two Legions of Merit, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Bronze Stars with Valor, two Purple Hearts, two Meritorious Service Medals, ten Air Medals, and three Air Force Commendation Medals.

 
Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, Anne Shira and Jeremiah Driscoll. He is survived by his wife, Sharon of Wayzata, Minnesota; son, Donald of Stockton, California; stepchildren, Kim Gehrman White (Mike), of Portland, Oregon and Jason Gehrman (Megan) of Long Lake, Minnesota; granddaughters, Trisha Driscoll, Alexandra and Madeleine White, and Ava Gehrman; grandsons, Sean Driscoll and Justin Gehrman. He will be greatly missed by his furry companion George the Bassett.

 
Visitation will be Monday, February 29, 5-7 p.m., followed by the rosary at 7 p.m., at David Lee Funeral Home, 1220 East Wayzata Blvd. in Wayzata. Mass of Christian Burial Tuesday, March 1, 11 a.m. with visitation starting at 10 a.m. at The Church of the Holy Name of Jesus, 155 County Road 24, in Medina. Interment at Holy Name Cemetery. David Lee Funeral Home Wayzata 952-473-5577 (http://www.davidleefuneralhome.com).                                     RRVFPA
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http://www.startribune.com/retired-air-force-col-jerry-driscoll-was-not-bitter-about-time-as-vietnam-pow/370584971/

Driscoll, whose many commendations included a Silver Star, three Distinguished Flying Crosses and two Bronze Stars with Valor, returned home in ...

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Hi CC,

Jerry's send off ceremony was exceptionally great! A Catholic Mass of Christian Burial followed by Air Force personnel providing
military honors at the graveside. The fly over consisted of four T-6s (SNJs) followed by four F-16s performing the missing man maneuver.
It was cold and crispy but CAVU for the flyover. ...

Best to all, Arv

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