FORBY, WILLIS ELLIS Name: Willis Ellis Forby Rank/Branch: O3/United States Air Force Unit: 334th TFS Date of Birth:15 June 1933 Home City of Record: Onaka SD Date of Loss: 20 September 1965 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 180600N 1054200E Status (in 1973): Returnee Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F105 Other Personnel in Incident: none 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. SYNOPSIS QUOTED from page 28 of Ben Schemmer's "THE RAID." REMARKS: 021273 RELEASED BY DRV SYNOPSIS: "There were, of course, many sources of intelligence besides reconnaissance photographs: enemy propaganda films, news releases and broadcasts; and the interrogation of defectors and enemy prisoners of war, which had proved especially valuable when a captured North Vietnamese turned out to have a brother or cousin or brother-in-law who was a guard in one of the POW camps. In one case, a previously unknown prisoner, Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Willis E. Forby, had been positively identified when a North Vietnamese soldier taken captive in the south revealed that he had captured Forby when he was shot down early in the war, September 20,1965. Sometimes information came from foreign visitors to North Vietnam or members of American protest movements allowed to visit there. Other tidbits were passed along, often purposefully gathered for the United States, by military attaches and diplomats stationed in Hanoi from friendly and neutral nations-and occasionally, even from an unfriendly one. Another source was mail from the POWs themselves, when they were allowed to write those cruelly short and uninformative letters home. Only about half the prisoners were being given that privilege, however." 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). WILLIS E. FORBY Lieutenant Colonel - United States Air Force Shot Down: September 20, 1965 Released: February 12, 1973 I was born 15 June 1933 and raised in Onaka a small town in South Dakota. After completing high school attended South Dakota State College for 2 years before joining the Air Force in February 1954. I was married in August 1958 and have two daughters Michele and Kerry ages 13 and 8. Seymour Johnson AFB North Carolina and RAF Wethersfield England were the locations where I enjoyed flying the F-86H F-100C and D and the F-105B and D fighter aircraft. After obtaining a Bachelor of General Education degree at the University of Omaha in 1965 I was reassigned to Seymour Johnson AFB and in August of 1965 I was assigned to Southeast Asia in the F-105D fighter bomber. I was shot down 90 September 1965 near Vinh North Vietnam by anti-aircraft artillery and captured by the Vietnamese militia. Seven years and 5 months later I was released in the first group of POWs. I intend to remain in the Air Force for several years. I feel that the greatest things that sustained me during my years of imprisonment was the faith and knowledge that my country would succeed in its mission after which I would be permitted to return. Another important strength was derived from my faith in God. This Strength contributed greatly in helping me survive during the more difficult periods of confinement. These two faiths coupled with good training prior to capture enabled me to keep mentally and physically healthy during my confinement. -----------------------
Willis Forby retired from the United States Air Force as a Colonel. He resides in Illinois.