BERGER, JAMES ROBERT RIP - Oct 9, 2015
Name: James Robert Berger Rank/Branch: O3/United States Air Force Unit: 480th TFS Date of Birth: 06 November 1938 Home City of Record: Mansfield OH Date of Loss: 02 December 1966 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 212000N 1055400E Status (in 1973): Returnee Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4C #0753 Incident No: 0534 Missions: 30 Other Personnel in Incident: Hubert Flesher, returnee 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: 730218 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). JAMES R. BERGER Major - United States Air Force Shot Down: December 2, 1966 Released: February 18, l973 I arrived in Da Nang 22 October 1966 from Clark AFB school in the Philippines. My first mission was 24 October 1966, 36 Wing, 480 Squadron. I was Senior Guy in Backseat (GIB) and I crewed with Bud Flesher (Captain) in a F-4 C. I had one C-123 and two O-1E missions, twelve in South Vietnam and fourteen in North Vietnam. On 2 December 1966, we were number three in a flight of four F4C's on Mig Caps just north of Thudridge. We swung wide to the right of the rest of the flight with Mig 21 's on our right and a SAM (surface to air missile) on the left. We were at 14,000 feet, 913 MACH air speed, 100 left bank at SAM impact. We immediately gained 500 feet in altitude. We were hit at the aircraft's center of gravity. We both ejected and were captured. l suffered a spinal compression upon ejection, a broken arm and a concussion from an old peasant who beat me over the head. I arrived at "Heartbreak" late the same night. I endured rope sessions twice daily for a total of seven days before I broke. I stayed at the following prison camps: Heartbreak 2 December 1966 - 19 December 1966 Zoo Barn 19 December 1966 - 15 May 1967 Zoo Office 15 May 1967 - 8 June 1967 Zoo Pig Sty 8 June 1967 - 11 August 1967 Plantation 11 August 1967 - 29 August 1970 Faith 29 August 1970 - 24 November 1970 Hanoi Hilton 24 November 1970 - 11 October 1971 Zoo Of fice 11 October 1970 - 29 April 1972 Hanoi Hilton 29 April 1972 - 13 May 1972 Dog Patch 13 May 1972 - 18 January 1973 Hanoi Hilton 18 January 1973 - 18 February 1973 Home! 18 February 1973 I was in solitary from 2 December 1966 to 19 January 1967. This was not long but I had a broken arm. I lived with Ben Ringsdorf from 19 January 1967 to 10 December 1969 in a two man room except for two weeks in early 1967 when Mike Kerr came in with us. Ben and I learned code through the wall from Lilly (Major Warren R.) and Hivner (Lt. Col. James O.) in April 1967. Ben and I were scribes for SRO (senior ranking officer) Rich Stratton (Cmdr. Richard A.) in Plantation and delivered his notes as dictated. I originated note drops in wash rack drains with a wire brace. I dug up a 20' piece of barbed wire, dismantled it and used it to drill holes in the brick walls for communication. In the communication purge I was defiant and was struck in the left eye with a fist. This resulted in a closed eye for ten days and subsequent weakening of the eye muscles and astigmatism. My basic job was scrounging. If anyone needed something I'd get it or a substitute. Ask those I lived with for examples. I guess I was also rather stubborn. But I maintained faith and did not talk anti-U.S. affairs as some did. I felt I did my job and will do it again if necessary. I made my own flag from a red American polo shirt, white handkerchief and blue cloth from a piece of gook sweater. I was a constant dishwasher and anti-GOOK! My wife's name is Carole and we have two sons, Bill, born 25 November 1963 and Scott, born 1 May 1965. ---------------------------- James Berger retired from the United States Air Force as a Lt. Colonel. He and Carole reside in Virginia.
Oct 12, 2015
Lt. Col. James Robert Berger USAF Ret, 76, of Lexington, died Friday, October 9, 2015. Born in Charleston, W.Va., he was a son of the late, Jesse Green Berger and Georgie Pritt Berger. He was the owner of Lexington Building Supply and other businesses for many years. Lt. Col. Berger was a former Vietnam P.O.W. from 1966 to 1972.
Surviving are his wife, Carole Wright Berger; sons, William H. Berger and his two children, Elaina Carole and Jesse Theodosis Berger, and Scott D. Berger and wife, Nora.
A funeral service will be conducted at 11 a.m., Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at Manly Memorial Baptist Church with Dr. J. Michael Wilkins officiating. Burial will follow at Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Manly Memorial Baptist Church Mission Fund. There will be no visitation at the funeral home.
Arrangements by Harrison Funeral Home & Crematory, Lexington.