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.