Name: James Burton Souder
Rank/Branch: United States Navy/O4
Unit: VF-51
Date of Birth: 10 September 1940 Elizabethton TN
Home City of Record: Ft Lauderdale FL
Date of Loss: 27 April 1972
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 195700 North  1052500 East
Status (in 1973): Returnee
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4B #153025
Missions: 335 - spening 335 days "in jail"
Other Personnel in Incident: Lt. Al Molinare returnee
Refno: 1838
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. Updated 2002.
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).
Lieutenant Commander - United States Navy
Shot Down: April 27, 1972
Released: March 28, 1973
Born in Elizabethton, Tennessee on 10 September 1940. Moved to Florida in
1953. Present home is Ft. Lauderdale. Graduated from Ft. Lauderdale High
School in 1958. Was member of the 1958 AllAmerican High School Swimming
Team. Attended the University of Florida and graduated from Florida State
University, Class of 1962. Entered the US Navy in January 1963 and commenced
flight training after commissioning in May 1963. Received Naval Flight
Officer wings in July 1965. Commenced training in the F-4 in September 1965
and was assigned to VF-143 in March 1966. Completed two cruises with VF-143
and went to Naval Air Training Command as an Instructor in the Radar
Intercept Officer Course. After one year as an Instructor I went to inactive
duty for a period of one and a half years and flew as a civilian pilot.
Returned to active duty in July 1970. After refresher training in the F-4,
assigned to VF-51. Deployed aboard Coral Sea in November 1971 and shot down
on 27 April 1972 on 325th mission - Jim served one day in prison for every
mission he flew -- 325 days.
Message:   The happiest day of my life-was when we got on that big beautiful
Air Force C-141 Medevac and took off from Hanoi. Although the forty of us
released that day were all "new guys" to the Hanoi Hilton, we were still
almost overcome with having attained our freedom. I think we all had one
particular feeling and I think for the first time, experiencing the emotions
which we felt that day, we could finally realize that the "old guys" were
free. The "old guys" - those are the gallant men who have served their country
as none other before them have served.
The greatest inspiration I experienced in Hanoi came to me my first day there.
I was extremely tired, hungry, thirsty and aching all over from that long
truck trip north. The interrogators had begun their work. I looked to myself
for strength but found I had little to offer. I wondered how I would sustain
myself during the long months and possibly years ahead. Then the thought came
to me, "You are in the presence of the greatest men in the world." I thought
of Captain Bill Lawrence, under whom I'd served in 1967, and Captain Jim
Stockdale and Jerry Denton and Colonel Robbie Reisner and the many others who
had endured the pain and hardships of POW life for so long. Then my job became
a very easy one compared to theirs. I never lost sight of that fact and it
sustained me throughout.
James Souder retired from the United States Navy as a Commander. He lives in
Florida is enjoying retirement.


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