FREDERICK, JOHN WILLIAM JR Remains returned 03/13/74
Name: John William Frederick Jr Rank/Branch: W4/United States Marine Corps Unit: VMFA 323 Date of Birth: 13 December 23 Home City of Record: Manito, IL Date of Loss: 07 December 1965 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 194000N 1080229E Status (in 1973): KR Category:1 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4B NOTE: Served in WWII, AF9J as a radio/radar/tail gunner in TBM torpedo bomber.
Other Personnel in Incident: John Dunn, returnee
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK 23 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. Updated in '98 with information from grandson, John Frederick Wertz and in '99 with information from his friend, LtCol. Orson Swindle. Updated 09/2005 with information from grandson, John Frederick Wertz.
REMARKS: 03/13/74 Remains returned
John Frederick flew in one of the very early radar-equipped fighters for the Marine Corps during the Korean War. He flew in the rear "cockpit" of the Grumman F7F (two seat version) Tiger Cat.
He was an enlisted man operating a very small and limited capability air intercept radar system. His squadron flew night intercept and interdiction missions. The aircraft apparently had no, or almost no, air conditioning system. John essentially sat on a box with this gadget before him on missions over North Korea in the dead of winter. Warmth came from an electric flight suit that was plugged into the aircraft's electrical system which did not work very well.
Private John Frederick fought in WWII in the Pacific then stayed in Asia as a China Marine, flying as crew in a TBF or TBM. He would tell of the immense frustration in post WWII of flying overhead the Mao Communist troops and being unable to fire on them "unless fired at". He said they would fly armed recce missions, find Mao's troops and could actually observed them stowing their weapons (knowing the "ground rules") and then as soon as the recce would leave the scene, the war was on again.
John's experience in those early (USMC) days of radar intercept would later take him to Pax River where, as Gunnery Sgt and Master Sgt (E-7 & E-8) he would be significantly involved in the development of the F-4 radar intercept systems.
Col. Dunn had been the pilot of the F4B with the VMFA-323 when he was shot down over North Vietnam. John Frederick was the "GIB" or guy in back on the high-altitude classified fighter escort mission.
When Dunn was captured 13 December 1965, he lived in seven different POW camps (prisons and jails); and spent 34 months in solitary confinement.
Dunn said detention could be characterized as "months of nothingness, punctuated by moments of stark terror." Treatment prior to November 1969 was bad. Food was insufficient in quantity. Many men were in solitary; no time outside of cells and frequent torture and harsh punishment.
Prisoners were tortured primarily to force participation in propaganda efforts that would benefit the North Vietnamese government and to attempt to break up our prisoner of war organization, which is provided for under International Law, Dunn says.
After Sontay Raid by a combined ARForce/Army Elite Force, December 1970 no mass torture purges; food was adequate but quality remained poor, Dunn remembers. Prisoners were allowed to live 20 to 40 men to a room and two to four hours daily of outdoor time. No textbooks, pens, paper or outdoor athletic games were allowed until August-September 1972 except for selected groups for very brief periods. These actions were designed to garner favorable publicity for North Vietnamese government.
Frederick was selected for the Warrant Officer program and appointed WO1 in July 1961 while stationed at Patuxent River Naval Air Station. In July of 1964 he was promoted to WO2. He was a WO2 when he was shot down and taken prisoner in 1965. He was promoted posthumously to CWO4.
A fellow P.O.W. stated "....I had the privilege and honor of getting to know this incredibly tough, kind and gentle man."
John William Frederick Jr. severely burned his hands upon ejection. Years later, the EGRESS reports stated returning POWs told debriefers that while in captivity, Frederick contracted typhoid fever and slipped into a coma. Camps guards decided to move him to Hanoi in 1972 when he had a prolonged 104 degree fever. It is believed he died en route to Hanoi. His remains were returned March 13, 1974.
Lt. Col. Orson Swindle recalls, "I had the privilege of meeting his beautiful wife, Lorraine, and his kids as I delivered his decorations to them in the mid-to-late 70s. They and we lost a good one when we lost John Frederick."