FLOM, FREDRICK R.
Name: Frefrick R. Flom Rank/Branch: O2/United States Air Force Unit: 354th TFS Date of Birth: 09 January 1941 Home City of Record: Menasha WI Date of Loss: 08 August 1966 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 214700 North 1050500 East Status (in 1973): Returnee Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F105D Missions: 82 Other Personnel in Incident: none
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: 730304 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). UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO
FREDERIC R. FLOM Captain - United States Air Force Shot Down: August 8, 1966 Released: March 4, 1973
Born January 9, 1941 in Menasha, Wisconsin. Attended Lawrence University, graduating in 1963. Married on June 29, 1963. Received a ROTC commission in the Air Force, and went to Williams Air Force Base in Chandler, Arizona to go through pilot training. Upon completing pilot training, went into the F-105 Combat Crew Training Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada, then to McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas, and was assigned to the 361st Tactical Fighter Squadron, flying the F-105D.
Received an assignment to Takhli, Thailand in March of 1966, and went there to begin flying combat missions. Flew approximately 70 combat missions over North Vietnam and 20 over Laos before being shot down on August 8, 1966. Held in captivity in North Vietnam from that time until March 4, 1973 - some six years and seven months later.
I have two children-one daughter, Julie (9 years old); and a son, Erik (7 years old), who was born six weeks after I was shot down.
I like to think that "SPIRIT" as well as "FAITH" had an indescribable influence on bringing us through this ordeal and will have a continuing effect on our future lives. Surely we did gain something very valuable.
"If you lose all your money, you lose nothing. If you lose your health, you lose a little bit. But if you lose your spirit, all is lost." Spirit, that intangible, indefinable, integral part of a human soul that enables man to achieve goals and accomplishments beyond the reaches of his capabilities. I have seen it and experienced it innumerable times under the stress of captivity. Motivated by faith in themselves and in our country, men have called upon their spirit to carry them beyond the realm of normal physical and mental endurance and capabilities. From the inhumanities of physical exposure to torture, to the mental deprivations of a complete intellectual void, men have endured much and risen above it.
Spirit must often have a catalyst-a driving force or motivation. Perhaps it will be an ultimate goal, pride in yourself, a cause, competition, belief in your country, and your way of life. Spirit is demonstrated in every-day life by men who attain greater heights than their contemporaries. Not because they are superior, but because they have a greater desire.
The men with whom I was associated when we were POW's demonstrated admirable degrees of spirit, both in quantity and in quality. Existence of adverse conditions, however, is conducive in bringing forth high degrees of spirit. When forced by circumstances, man finds he is able to summon spirits he was unaware even existed deep within his soul. "There are no extraordinary men, only ordinary men in extraordinary situations." We have all now returned to freedom and our way of life where it is reassuringly comfortable to rest under the warmth of complacency. Life in its most meaningful form, however, is competitive. Yet competition leaves one bare to the pains and anxieties of failure. Failure is difficult and uncomfortable, and must be re-attacked. The challenge to accomplish and achieve is always there, and the results rewarding and satisfying. The road, however, is often difficult and painful, and complacency is all too inviting.
The same spirit that drove men to greater endurance under captivity can now lead them beyond complacency to successful accomplishments. It doesn't matter much whether you succeed in attaining all aspects of your final goals or not, but rather that you do your best in trying. "Anything worth doing is worth doing well." The feeling of accomplishment is somewhat void when unaccompanied by the knowledge that you have done your best. Knowing you have done your best, however, is somewhat satisfying, even when unaccompanied by accomplishments. "If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew to serve your turn long after they are gone, and so hold on when there is nothing left within you except the will that says to them: Hold on."
Fredric Flom retired from the United States Air Force as a Colonel. He and his wife Kay reside in Texas.