RATZLAFF, BRIAN M.

Name: Brian M. Ratzlaff
Rank/Branch: O3/United States Air Force, pilot
Unit: 335th TFS
Date of Birth: 24 September 1942
Home City of Record: Long Beaach CA
Date of Loss: 11 September 1972
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 213300 North  1063000 East
Status (in 1973): Returnee
Category:
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4E
Missions: 400
Other Personnel in Incident: Jerome Heeren

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: 730329 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

BRIAN M. RATZLAFF
Captain - United States Air Force
Shot Down: September 11, 1972
Released: March 29, 1973

I was born 24 September 1942 in Long Beach, California. I graduated from
L.B. Wilson High School in 1961. I obtained an AA from Long Beach City
College in 1963 and a BS in Industrial Technology from Long Beach State
College in 1966. I then worked for Philco/Ford as an Industrial Engineer for
two years. In 1968 I entered the USAF and went to OTS for my commission. I
went to Reese AFB, Texas for pilot training. I went through F-4 RTU at
George AFB, California in 1969. I spent one year at Phu Cat, South Vietnam
and finished my tour in April 1971 with 225 missions. I was assigned to
Seymour Johnson AFB. I deployed with the 335th TFS to Ubon, Thailand in July
of 1972. I was shot down north of Hanoi near Kep on 11 September 1972 and
was carried as MIA until my name was released on 27 January 1973. After
being shot down I evaded capture for three days. I was captured at night by
North Vietnamese Army personnel and taken to Lang Son for one day, then on
to Hanoi. I was kept in isolation for 17 days. I was then moved to another
part of the Hanoi Hilton and in with the old POWs where I spent most of my
imprisonment. I was released on 29 March 1973.

My future plans are still undecided. Whatever they turn out to be they will
include my wife, Diana, and my two daughters, Sharon 3, and Christina, three
months. Christina was born while I was a POW.

Two things will always stand out in my memories of this experience. The
first is religion, and the role faith in God has played. I found strength,
courage and peace through prayer. When I was put in with other prisoners, I
found that my dependence on God was by no means unique. The second was the
support of the President, which was shown dramatically to us in Hanoi in
December 1972, and the most unbelievable support of the American people.
Both the crowds of people at all the airports where I landed, no matter what
the time or the weather, and the hundreds of letters my family and I have
received, have expressed their prayers and support. This has been a very
moving experience for me. I believe in America and what it stands for and it
is good to see so many Americans express the same feelings.

My family has been very patient and brave throughout this whole ordeal. They
are my dearest possessions. The feelings and prayers expressed by my fellow
Americans have been my greatest reward. For these and many other reasons I
can truly say it has been an honor for me to serve this nation.

===================
Brian Ratzlaff retired from the United States Air Force as a Captain. He and
his wife Dina reside in Michigan.