FLOM, FREDRICK R.
Name: Fredrick R. Flom
Rank/Branch: O2/United States Air Force
Unit: 354th TFS
Date of Birth: 09 January 1941
Home City of Record: Menasha WI
Date of Loss: 08 August 1966
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 214700 North 1050500 East
Status (in 1973): Returnee
Other Personnel in Incident: none
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. 2021
REMARKS: 730304 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
UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO
FREDERIC R. FLOM
Captain - United States Air Force
Shot Down: August 8, 1966
Released: March 4, 1973
Born January 9, 1941 in Menasha, Wisconsin. Attended Lawrence University,
graduating in 1963. Married on June 29, 1963. Received a ROTC commission in
the Air Force, and went to Williams Air Force Base in Chandler, Arizona to go
through pilot training. Upon completing pilot training, went into the F-105
Combat Crew Training Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada,
then to McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas, and was assigned to the
361st Tactical Fighter Squadron, flying the F-105D.
Received an assignment to Takhli, Thailand in March of 1966, and went there to
begin flying combat missions. Flew approximately 70 combat missions over North
Vietnam and 20 over Laos before being shot down on August 8, 1966. Held in
captivity in North Vietnam from that time until March 4, 1973 - some six years
and seven months later.
I have two children-one daughter, Julie (9 years old); and a son, Erik (7
years old), who was born six weeks after I was shot down.
I like to think that "SPIRIT" as well as "FAITH" had an indescribable
influence on bringing us through this ordeal and will have a continuing effect
on our future lives. Surely we did gain something very valuable.
"If you lose all your money, you lose nothing. If you lose your health, you
lose a little bit. But if you lose your spirit, all is lost." Spirit, that
intangible, indefinable, integral part of a human soul that enables man to
achieve goals and accomplishments beyond the reaches of his capabilities. I
have seen it and experienced it innumerable times under the stress of
captivity. Motivated by faith in themselves and in our country, men have
called upon their spirit to carry them beyond the realm of normal physical and
mental endurance and capabilities. From the inhumanities of physical exposure
to torture, to the mental deprivations of a complete intellectual void, men
have endured much and risen above it.
Spirit must often have a catalyst-a driving force or motivation. Perhaps it
will be an ultimate goal, pride in yourself, a cause, competition, belief in
your country, and your way of life. Spirit is demonstrated in every-day life
by men who attain greater heights than their contemporaries. Not because they
are superior, but because they have a greater desire.
The men with whom I was associated when we were POW's demonstrated admirable
degrees of spirit, both in quantity and in quality. Existence of adverse
conditions, however, is conducive in bringing forth high degrees of spirit.
When forced by circumstances, man finds he is able to summon spirits he was
unaware even existed deep within his soul. "There are no extraordinary men,
only ordinary men in extraordinary situations." We have all now returned to
freedom and our way of life where it is reassuringly comfortable to rest under
the warmth of complacency. Life in its most meaningful form, however, is
competitive. Yet competition leaves one bare to the pains and anxieties of
failure. Failure is difficult and uncomfortable, and must be re-attacked. The
challenge to accomplish and achieve is always there, and the results rewarding
and satisfying. The road, however, is often difficult and painful, and
complacency is all too inviting.
The same spirit that drove men to greater endurance under captivity can now
lead them beyond complacency to successful accomplishments. It doesn't matter
much whether you succeed in attaining all aspects of your final goals or not,
but rather that you do your best in trying. "Anything worth doing is worth
doing well." The feeling of accomplishment is somewhat void when unaccompanied
by the knowledge that you have done your best. Knowing you have done your
best, however, is somewhat satisfying, even when unaccompanied by
accomplishments. "If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew to serve
your turn long after they are gone, and so hold on when there is nothing left
within you except the will that says to them: Hold on."
Fredric Flom retired from the United States Air Force as a Colonel. He and
his wife Kay resided in Texas until his death.
More regarding Fred Flom. This was posted on the F-105 Facebook Page (sent by River Rat Executive Director - Greg Lewis) - "One of the most difficult posts I will make. Col. Fred Flom passed away this morning at his summer lake cabin in Menasha, Wisconsin. Fred told us in January he was taking treatment for lung cancer. A few days later we learned it had spread to his lymphatics. A brief recap of his career, he was shot down in 62-4327 on August 6, 1966 and was taken POW for six and a half years. He was flying on the wing of Jim Kasler who was shot down while capping Flom and taken POW. Fred was with the 354th Takhli and flying his sixtieth or so mission. Upon release in '73, he went through requal in the T-38 at Randolph, then flew F-102's with the Wisconsin Guard for one year. He joined the 301st Carswell and was the only POW shot down in an F-105 to checkout in the airplane after the War. I flew his wing as a Lieutenant. I vividly recall my first flight with him. This flyby may have been our last together. He was a Major and a flight commander in '80, when the picture below was made. He was the 457th Carswell Squadron Commander during more difficult times that lay ahead for all of us. Twenty nine years of service. He flew for American Airlines from about '76 to 2000, retiring as a 767 Captain. He was 81. His wife Kay was at his side as was his daughter Julie, who blessed him with three grandsons, Dakota, Quinn, and Maxwell. One of them is a midshipman at the Naval Academy. I'm sure there will be a family service in Wisconsin. I would like to do something in Dallas or Ft. Worth when Kay returns. Don't know when that will be. What a difference that guy made in my life. I will be posting pictures of Fred and Kay to this post. Some I have yet scanned. Fred's name will remain on the canopy of 62-4346 at Frontiers of Flight Museum, Dallas Love Field as long as I am alive."
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