REHMANN, DAVID GEORGE Name: David George Rehmann Rank/Branch: O2/United States Navy Unit: VF 154 Date of Birth: 27 April 1942 Home City of Record: Lancaster CA Date of Loss: 02 December 1966 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 212100N 1062400 Status (in 1973): Returnee Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4B Missions: 45 Other Personnel in Incident: Dave McRae, pilot, missing Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK 06 September 1996 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. REMARKS: 021273 RELEASED
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 DAVID G. REHMANN Lieutenant - United States Navy Shot Down: December 2, 1966 Released: February 12, 1973 Lt. David Rehmann was reported Missing in Action, Presumed Dead, when his plane was shot down December 2, 1966. He remained one of the unaccounted Missing in Action for two weeks until the Communists used a propaganda film showing David being marched through a war crimes tribunal following his capture. Despite the photo's low quality of Lt. Rehmann's burnt, dazed and swollen face and his loosely wrapped broken arm, his mother recognized the photo. Later, it was used by VIVA to depict the plight of POWs in advertisements and on matchbooks and posters circulated internationally. As a result, tons of letters poured into North Vietnam protesting their treatment, and causing the enemy to alleviate some of the suffering POWs were forced to endure. Lt. Rehmann described some of the early tests of survival. Milk given him after a week in captivity was the first food to stay on his stomach. "Their green weed soup and rice were awfully hard to hack," Lt. Rehmann said. So weak he could hardly move, with fever and in shock from being shot down, he ranged from lucid to delirious for days. However, as he recovered and regained strength, guards demanded he be at the cell door to bow whenever they appeared. "You learn quickly that you can't get used to taking beatings, and although I was still weak, I would get there and bow rather than take that." Once identified in the U.S., the Communists told the world Lt. Rehmann and other known POWs were receiving humane treatment. "They had to keep us alive. Probably the reason I am alive today is because they publicized me," the Lieutenant said. Held in nine different camps over his 75 months in Communist prison, Lt. Rehmann was returned to the U.S. with the first released POWs, February 12, 1974. Since then he has spoken to numerous national groups on his experiences and in concern for the unaccounted Missing in Action. His candid and basically optimistic viewpoint has attracted national attention. "America's leadership role in the free world is no easy task. I am proud to have served our country's armed forces. I was fairly young when I was shot down. I feel my time spent in Hanoi was for all Americans, but especially for the youth. War is a hardship on everyone, but especially the youth. I hope today's generation will never have to experience combat and become prisoners of war in the future." Following retirement from the Navy in December, a citizens group organized to elect David Rehmann to Congress from California's new 38th District which includes Garden Grove, the city which adopted him while in prison in demonstration of America's broad concern for POWs. Born in Bay City, Michigan, April 27, 1942, David Rehmann moved with his family to California in 1950 and settled in the Antelope Valley, north of Los Angeles, in 1954. He attended Lancaster schools with his four brothers and sister, became a water, tennis and outdoor enthusiast in the high desert country. After earning an Associates degree in Business Administration at Antelope Valley College, he worked for North American Aviation at Palmdale and the UTC division of United Aircraft at Edwards Air Force Flight Test Facility and Rocket Base. In 1964 he was accepted to the U.S. Navy School of Preflight at Pensacola, Florida. Assigned to duty in Vietnam as a Radar intercept officer, he recorded 45 combat missions before his aircraft was shot down. David Rehmann retired from the United States Navy as a Lieutenant. He lives in California.