TSCHUDY, WILLIAM  MICHAEL

Name: WIlliam Micahel Tschudy
Rank/Branch: O2/United States Navy
Unit: VA 75
Date of Birth:
Home City of Record: Highland IL
Date of Loss: 18 July 1965
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 195000N 1054800E
Status (in 1973): Returnee
Category:
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A6A
Missions: 13

Other Personnel in Incident: Jeremiah Denton, returnee, pilot

Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK March 1997 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 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).

WILLIAM M. TSCHUDY
Lieutenant Commander- United States Navy
Shot Down: July 18, 1965
Released: February 12,1973
                     
I was shot down 18 July 1965 while flying with VA-75 as a
bombadier/navigator in an A6A off USS Independence. But I am now back with
my wife, Janie, and our son, Mike. I'm back in America - back home! The
dream and promise of seven and a half years. The day I knew would come!
Years of seemingly endless boredom and waiting, interspersed with terror,
horror and frustration, now have been transmuted into shimmering moments of
happiness. Our part in Vietnam has come to an end, but the struggle
continues in Southeast Asia and in other parts of the world .... and shall
continue as long as men have the strength to defend and seek freedom.

Participation in Vietnam, to say the least, has been controversial to some,
yet thousands of Americans did not find it controversial and devoted
themselves to a cause in which they believed. The long years of imprisonment
have only reenforced my conviction that it is our obligation, perhaps more
so-our privilege to give succour to those who strive for democracy.
Experience with those "push-button" individuals, their abuses, cruelties,
and their attempts to humiliate one - did not evoke a lasting bitterness or
hatred, but rather, a contempt for the demented ideology of which they are a
product. It is obvious enough, even from within prison walls, that the North
Vietnamese society is not and never will be, the utopia their propaganda
proclaims. Apparent freedoms are not enough. They must be real! They are not
real in the communist society. The rising feeling of patriotism I have found
here at home shows me that Americans have become acutely aware of what we
have. It shows Americans are willing to preserve and improve our freedoms
and blessings. Perhaps, for all the grief and turmoil, we have a clear
picture of our adversaries abroad as well as at home. Continued vigilance
and concern for our country can only increase our understanding of our
neighbors and make our home an even greater America.

What is America to me? Today it's a lot more than I could have ever imagined
seven and a half years ago. Yet it is the same big beautiful country, the
same wonderful people, the same dynamo of energy and ideas - and more
important, the same rights and freedoms. How much more I appreciate what I
had taken so much for granted. It isn't necessary to spend seven and a half
years in a communist prison to gain a full appreciation of what we have. One
has only to look around to see the millions of people who are denied what we
know they should have. One can see other millions struggling to hold what
they prize so highly. How can we stand back and watch without wanting to
help - without feeling obligated to help. There is a variety of ways this
can be done and not necessarily by combat. But sometimes the aggressiveness
of the adversary demands such action, and the cost is high. However, at the
expense of today, millions will live tomorrow.

We've watched the "crimson cancer" time and time again consume body and
mind. It is time to put democracy on the offensive, starting right here at
home. Those long, difficult years have taught us much. Seven and a half
years under communism only strengthened my convictions. I have dealt with
the product, communism, and I find this product pathetic and untenable.
Perhaps we, as a nation, are more aware of what we have, more conscious of
our adversaries from without, as well as from within. Perhaps we are more
determined to preserve our freedoms. I think we are.


William Tschudy retired from the United States Navy as a Commander. He and
his wife Janie reside in North Carolina.