VAUGHAN, SAMUEL R.
Name: Samuel R. Vaughan Rank/Branch: O2/United States Air Force Unit: 555TFS Date of Birth: 15 October 1945 Home City of Record: St George SC Date of Loss: 19 December 1971 (Returnee says 18 December 1971) Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 200900N 1042700E Status (in 1973): Returnee Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4d Missions: 48 1/2 Other Personnel in Incident: LTC Kenneth Johnson, returnee, pilot
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, personal interviews.
REMARKS: 730328 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 - 03/97 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO with material provided by Dick Vaughan.
SAMUEL RICHARD VAUGHAN First Lieutenant - United States Air Force Shot Down: December 18, 1971 Released: March 28, 1973
I was born in St. George, South Carolina on October 15, 1945, the second of five children, four boys and one girl. I lived in St. George until I finished St. George High School in 1963. Then I attended Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina and graduated with a B. S. degree preparatory to teaching science.
For two years I taught high school mathematics and then entered the Air Force in December 1969. In April 1970 I graduated from Officer Training School and was assigned to Undergraduate Navigational Training at Mather AFB in Sacramento, California. After navigation school I was assigned to George AFB, California for Weapon Systems Operator training in an F4 fighter-bomber, and was there from January 1971 to September 1971.
On October 10, 1971 I arrived at Udorn AB, Thailand and was assigned to the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron as WSO. On December 18, 1971, while flying my 48th escort mission near the Laotian-Vietnamese border, my aircraft was hit by an air-to-air missile. My aircraft commander, Major Ken Johnson, and I both ejected safely and were both captured. During ejection I had upper and lower back damage from compressed vertebrae. I was imprisoned in camps in Hanoi until my release on March 28, 1973. I wasn't tortured, but endured physical abuse during my first week during interrogation.
My plans for the future are to remain in the Air Force. I will attend Squadron Officer's School in the fall of 1973 and will then attend undergraduate pilot training. After pilot training I hope to be assigned to a fighter squadron. My long range plans include a master's degree in computer management and attendance at various service schools.
After his release, Samuel R. "Dick" Vaughan was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with 1 OLC, MSW with 1 OLC and the POW medal. Reflecting on his time away from home and his family, he says he took long hours re-evaluating his priorities in life. He states the, "worst day of freedom better than best day as POW." He also says, " take time to enjoy the little things in life."
Vaughan retired from the United States Air Force as a Major in 1990. Dick's marriage was one of the things he looked long and hard at while in captivty. He divorced after returning home, and eventually remarried. He and his wife Gale lives in South Carolina where they have 2 children and 3 grandchildren. He is a math teacher at the County School, and enjoys hunting, fishing, gardening and woodworking.