MYERS, ARMAND J.
A.J. passed away March 27, 2002.
Name: Armand J. Myers Rank/Branch: O3/United States Air Force, pilot Unit: 433rd TFS Date of Birth: 30 April 1929 Home City of Record: Medford OR Date of Loss: 01 June 1966 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 213500 North 1063400 East Status (in 1973): Returnee Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4C Missions: 94 Other Personnel in Incident: John Borling. returnee
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: 730212 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 - 03/97 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO with material provided by A.J. Myers.
ARMAND J. MYERS Colonel - United States Air Force Shot Down: June 1, 1966 Released: February 12, 1973 Others in Incident: Borling, John (Returnee)
I was born in Yakima, WA on 30 April 1929.
Though I left my home in Medford at the age of 14 and skipped high school, I did manage to work my way through the University of Oregon and graduated in 1954 with a BA in Philosophy.
I entered the Air Force at Kelly AFB in San Antonio, TX. After flight training at Hondo, Laredo and Perrin Air Force Bases, class 56L, we spent 3 years at McGuire AFB in ADC. Randy was born 21 February 1959, prior to our move to England AFB in Louisana where we stayed one year and then moved to Clark AB, Philippine Islands for four years.
After a year and a half at George AFB, California getting combat ready in the F4C, I kissed my family goodbye on 8 November 1965 and flew 94 combat missions in Laos and North Vietnam out of Ubon, Thailand before I was shot down northeast of Hanoi on 1 June 1966. At the time I was with the 433 Tactical Fighter Squadron. I had a broken leg and ankle. I was the GIF or guy in front, with John L. Borling GIB (guy in back).
Four years and two months after capture a great weight was lifted from my mind when they gave me the first of the many letters that my 1st wife had written me. I had been sick with worry that she would think that I was dead since the Communists had not released my name. By that time also, most of us had cellmates and the friendships that developed I shall treasure as long as I live.
The long years of captivity, the indignities, the torture, and the prolonged periods of solitary confinement inflicted by the communists made most of us think we were in hell. But for me, and perhaps many others, it might more accurately be called purgatory because it has strengthened my character and given me time to fully realize that the really important things in life are love of family, country and fellow man. I have forcibly learned that cynics inspire no one. Men are inspired to elevate themselves and their society by those who have faith in a worthy cause and in their fellow man. The preservation of our American free elective process is one such worthy cause. We must not let ourselves become disillusioned because the limitations of human judgment have failed to yield the quick and happy solutions we hoped for. We need now, more than ever, a greater dedication to strengthen and unify our country and the strengthening of the family unit is the most fundamental step in that direction.
This lesson I learned in purgatory. How fortunate it was that I still had a loyal and beautiful family waiting for me. And how reassuring it was as our fellow Americans gave us such a warm welcome home to learn that the vast majority shared with us our firm faith in our country and our cause.
I don't think I needed that long a time in purgatory to get the message but it certainly made me better appreciate my present paradise.
March 1997 I was shot down in June 1966, while flying an F-4C north of Hanoi. My left leg and ankle were broken in several places. The Vietnamese made no effort to set it. To the contrary, they used it as part of the torture. My foot eventually set, but it was canted outward, several degrees off-center. I was on crutches for about a year, but afterward was able to walk on the side of my foot.
Seven years later, back in the USA at Wilford Hall Medical Center, the orthopedic surgeon took a wedge out of the inside of the ankle, put the foot on straight and fused the ankle. He said that there was much damage in the heel joint, but he couldn't fuse both at the same time. "If you can't live with the pain, come back and we'll fuse the heel," he said. After months of misery in a cast I wanted no more operations. The Air Force made a special mold to immobilize the heel. It helped a little. We tried steroid injections. They didn't work at all.
As I got older, I became more incapacitated. To mow the lawn, about an hour's job, I'd load up on aspirin to control inflammation and TUMS to keep the aspirin from eating a hole in my stomach. Afterwards I'd elevate my feet for about an hour. The swelling would go down and the discomfort would ease, but I had to limit walking for the rest of the day.
Upon his return, A. J. Myers was awarded the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, his fifth Air Medal, the Bronze Star (4 OLCs), the Purple Heart (1 OLC), and the POW Medal. Years later he was awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal for his service as DCS, Plans & Ops, Fifth ATAF. After Air War College Myers was promoted from "Light" Colonel to "Full Bull"- - some, he is sure, muttered "full of bull." Col. Myers retired from the Air Force in 1983.
Reflecting on his captivity. he says, "NEVER VOLUNTEER. " Asked if he was tortured and to describe it he responded, "Many times and it hurt like Hell." He says the dumbest thing he did during captivity was to bet Jack Van Loan a bottle of Chivas Regal on each Homecoming Game between Oregon State (Jack's Alma Mater) and U. of Oregon (A. J.'s Alma Mater). It cost A. J. five bottles.
He lives in Texas with his wife Patty. His son was killed, his daughter lives in Michigan and her son, a USAF Academy graduate, is an attorney working for DOT, in Wash. DC.
AJ's newest love is geneology. In between year around yard work with his wife, he finds time to trace his family history and ponder the little acorns that grow!
=============== 03/29/2002 San Antonio News
Col. Armand J. Myers, USAF (Retired) was born in Yakima, WA, April 30, 1929, died at his home on Wednesday, March 27, 2002. .....