LIGON, VERN P. Jr. Deceased
Name: Vern P. Ligon Jr. Rank/Branch: United States Air Force/O5 Unit: Date of Birth: 04 July 1921 Home City of Record: Frankfort KY Date of Loss: 19 Nov 1967 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 211000 North 1054000 East Status (in 1973): Returnee Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: RF4C Missions: Shot down in WWII in a P 47 on his 26th Mission 22 April 1944 - Held until April 1945 in Germany. Escaped once, recaptured.
Other Personnel in Incident:
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). UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO
VERN P. LIGON JR. Colonel - United States Air Force Shot Down: November 19, 1967 Released: March 14, 1973
On 4 July 1921 I was born in Frankfort Kentucky and attended elementary schools in Frankfort; Columbia, South Carolina; Southport, Indiana; Louisville, Kentucky; graduating from high school! in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1939 I also attended the University of Louisville, Kentucky and Evansville College, Evansville, Indiana on 20 October 1941, I married a very lovely girl by the name of Dorothy Tuttle. We have one son, William Alan Ligon, born in 1955, who is now attending college at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne.
My military career began in March 1942 when I joined the Army Air Corps and graduated from flying school in May 1943. I was then assigned as a fighter pilot in the 362nd Fighter Group, a P-47 organization. In November 1943, I went overseas to England and flew some 35 missions when I met my fate of being shot down over Brussels by ground fire. I was captured and interned as a prisoner of war and held in several German prison camps. During the latter stages of the war, I escaped for a short period of time and returned into captivity at Mosseburg in Southern Germany, near Munich. On the 8th of May 1945 I was released and returned to the States.
Then began a series of assignments as a fighter pilot at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base (AFB), Goldsboro, North Carolina. Later on I was assigned to the Army on detail and went to a Master and Mates Boat School in Fort Eustis, Virginia, after which I served as a skipper of an oceangoing tug and later as a mate on an oceangoing ROTC ship. I was then assigned to the University of Washington for a year and relieved of detail in 1947 when I returned to the Air Force. I was stationed at Watson Laboratory, Red Bank, New Jersey, for two years and then overseas to Clark AB in the Philippines, with my wife, for another two years. After leaving Clark AB in 1952, I was stationed at Patrick AFB, in the missile business, where I enjoyed four wonderful years. In 1956, I was assigned to the Strategic Air Command Dyess AFB, as an instructor pilot and later as Chief of Standardization Division for the Wing. From there, in 1961, I was assigned to Davis Monthan AFB where I continued my B47 job as Chief of Standardization Division and later as a Squadron Commander of the 390th Bomb Squadron. In 1963,1 was assigned to the Air War College at Maxwell AFB, graduating in 1964. Then, very fortunately, I was reassigned to Patrick AFB to the National Range Division where I had a division called "Range Control Operations" for three years.
Moving on, I was reassigned to Tactical Air Command (TAC), training RF-4C's at Shaw AFB, departing for overseas in August 1967 for Udorn, Thailand, where I was Commander of the 11 th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. After 26 missions I was shot down while flying over Hanoi on a reconnaissance mission. Again a prisoner of war I spent the next five and a half years in the Vietnamese prison system along with many other Americans. My experiences while interned are typical of those of my fellow Americans. Unfortunately, they did separate us by rank of Lieutenant Colonel and above and we were not as close to some of the group as those of lower rank. l was released in March 1973. On 17 March 1973, we returned to the United States to Maxwell AFB where I met my family for the first time in many years. After processing in Maxwell for about ten days, I went on convalescent leave to my home in Melbourne Beach, Florida.
There is one thing that will always stand out very vividly in my memory and that is the reception that approximately 3,000 wonderful, loyal friends and Americans gave us returnees at Hickam AFB. It's just one of those things that disturbs your emotions and you haven't any way of expressing them. It also reaffirmed the feelings of the returnees that the greater part of the American public is patriotic and do care about their families, country and servicemen.