FULLER, ROBERT BYRON
Name: Robert Byron Fuller
Rank/Branch: O5/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 76, USS BON HOMME RICHARD
Date of Birth: 23 November 1927
Home City of Record: Jacksonville FL
Date of Loss: 14 July 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 204000N 1060200E (XH076854)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
Other Personnel in Incident: none
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 June 1990 from one or more of the
following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with
POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews, and updated 09 March 1997
by the P.O.W. NETWORK with material provided by Ret. Admiral Robert Fuller,
REMARKS: 730304 RELSD BY DRV
SYNOPSIS: The USS BON HOMME RICHARD (CVA 31) saw early Vietnam war action. A
World War II Essex-class carrier, she was on station participating in combat
action against the Communists as early as August 1964. Her aircraft carried
the first Walleye missiles when they were introduced in 1967. In November
1970, the "Bonnie Dick" completed its sixth combat deployment and was
scheduled for decommissioning by mid-1971.
One of the aircraft that launched from the decks of the BON HOMME RICHARD
was the Douglas Aircraft A4 Skyhawk. The Skyhawk was intended to provide the
Navy and Marine Corps with an inexpensive, lightweight attack and ground
support aircraft. The design emphasized low-speed control and stability
during take-off and landing as well as strength enough for catapult launch
and carrier landings. The plane was so compact that it did not need folding
wings for aboardship storage and handling. In spite of its diminutive size,
the A4 packed a devastating punch and performed well where speed and
maneuverability were essential.
The Spirits of VA76, assigned to Air Wing 21, reached the coastal waters of
Vietnam in January 1967. As the monsoon season faded, the air war's
intensity rapidly ballooned and sites in North Vietnam that previously had
been off-limits were opened up for U.S. air strikes.
CDR Robert B. Fuller was a Skyhawk pilot and the commanding officer of
Attack Squadron 76 onboard the BON HOMME RICHARD. On July 14, 1967, he
launched in his A4C on a mission near the city of Hun Yen in Hai Hung
Province, North Vietnam. During the mission, as he was just northwest of the
city, Fuller's aircraft was shot down. He ejected from the aircraft and was
captured. During captivity he was subjected to torture by ropes, leg irons
and 25 months in solitary confinement. Fuller spent sixty-eight months in
captivity and was finally released on March 4, 1973 in Operation Homecoming.
Byron Fuller was one of the lucky ones. For hundreds of others, however,
simple answers are not possible. Adding to the torment of nearly 10,000
reports relating to Americans missing in Southeast Asia is the certain
knowledge that some Americans who were known to be prisoners of war were not
released at the end of the war. Others were suspected to be prisoners, and
still others were in radio contact with would-be rescuers when last seen
alive. Many were known to have survived their loss incidents, only to
disappear without a trace.
The problem of Americans still missing torments not only the families of
those who are missing, but the men who fought by their sides, and those in
the general public who realize the full implication of leaving men
unaccounted for at the end of a war.
Tragically, many authorities believe there are hundreds of Americans still
alive in captivity in Southeast Asia today. What must they be thinking of
us? What will our next generation say if called to fight if we are unable to
bring these men home from Southeast Asia?
During the period he was a prisoner of war Robert B. Fuller was promoted to
the rank of Captain.
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
ROBERT B. FULLER
Captain - United States Navy
Shot Down: July 14, 1967
Released: March 4, 1973
Born 23 November 1927 in Quitman, Mississippi. Attended first and second
grades in Atlanta, Georgia; third through tenth grades in Jacksonville,
Florida. Graduated from Emory at Oxford, Oxford, Georgia in 1945. Enlisted
in the U. S. Navy and served one year on active duty aboard USS Waldron
(DD-699). Upon discharge returned to Emory at Oxford for one year of
college. Entered the U. S. Naval Academy in 1947 and graduated in June 1951
and commissioned an Ensign, U. S. Navy. After graduation remained at the
Academy during the summer to indoctrinate the incoming plebes.
Ordered to flight training and received wings on 7 November 1952. First
squadron assignment was VF-192 Moffett Field, flying F9F-5 Panther Jets.
First shore assignment was CIC School at Glynco, Georgia. Second sea tour
was Aide and Flag Lieutenant to Commander Carrier Division Seven, then as
Operations Officer of VA-SS homeported at NAS Lemoore flying A4's. Second
shore assignment was to the Washington area assigned to the Bureau of Naval
Personnel as a detailer in the Aviation Officer assignment branch. This was
followed by attendance at the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Virginia,
then to VA-44 Cecil Field as Executive Officer.
Final tour of duty was to VA-76 at Lemoore as Executive Officer flying A-4's
Ordered as Commanding Of Officer VA-76 in December 1966. Deployed as part
of Air Wing Twenty One embarked in the USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31). Flew
first combat mission over North Vietnam on 26 February 1967 and was shot
down on one hundred tenth mission on 14 July 1967.
Married to the former Mary Anne McGinley from Jacksonville, Florida. Their
four children are Bob, Jr.18, Mary Jane 16, Susan 15, and Peggy 13.
Awarded: Silver Star Medal, 4 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 11 Air Medals, 2
Navy Commendation Medals with Combat V, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Unit
Commendation, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal,
Navy Occupation Medal (with Asian Area Clasp), National Defense Service
Medal (with Bronze Star), Korean Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary
Medal (with Bronze Star), Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Air
Gallantry Cross (with Silver Wings), Korean Presidential Unit Citation,
Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Meritorius Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross
Medal Color with Palm), United Nations Service Medal, and Republic of
Vietnam Campaign Medal.
My statement will be the speech I delivered upon arrival at Naval Air
Station, Jacksonville on the night of 8 March 1973. It is as follows:
"America! My America! How beautiful you are! I stand here tonight as a free
man thanks to the American people, the love and devotion of my darling wife
and mother, and to our great Commander-in-Chief."
Robert Fuller retired from the United States Navy as a Rear Admiral in 1982.
He and Mary Anne still reside in Florida. Robert still flys, and enjoys
RVing. He and Mary Ann have 4 children and 7 grandchildren.
Florida Times Union
Monday, August 9, 1999
Ex-POW missing no more
Bracelet wearer finds him just across town
By P. Douglas Filaroski
Times-Union staff writer
As a young woman, Barbara Fiebelkorn thought often about the man whose
name was engraved on a POW bracelet she wore. She imagined possible
horrors, but mostly held out hope.....
|November 14, 2013
The year was 1971 when 13-year-old Alise Gabriles of Houston sent off for her POW-MIA bracelet. For
those too young to remember those days, the bracelets ...
|October 17, 2019|
Heroic Navy fighter pilot who survived 6 years in Hanoi Hilton and rose to rear admiral dies at 91
He was awarded the Navy Cross, the military's second-highest decoration for valor, for his "extraordinary heroism" as a prisoner of war. He also ...
Naval Aviator Who Survived 6 Years in Hanoi Hilton Dies at 91
Navy pilot Byron Fuller spent almost six years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, where his battered body was tortured and starved, where he ...
The Memorial Service for Byron Fuller was held at the Protestant Chapel
on NAS Jacksonville, FL at 1300 on Friday, 11 Oct. 2019.
Mary Anne was there with her caregiver as were all the immediate plus extended family.
By's son Bob made general remarks on behalf of the family; daughter Peggy told how By used the 23rd Psalm to practice the tap code
and read it while Dick Stratton tapped the words. Son-in-law Matt Tuohy told how By supported him as skipper of carrier USS Kitty
Hawk and in his Navy career overall. Granddaughter Maryanne Jolly told of the grandchildren's relationship with her grandfather.
The Navy chaplain focused his remarks on the Freedom Tree planted between the two chapels when By came home in 1973. It has
now grown to some 40-50 feet tall and spreads nearly that. He noted that Vacation Bible School children play in the tree's shade
where a plaque tells By's story so his legacy lives on.
There was a large crowd in attendance to witness the service including NamPoWs Richard and Alice Stratton, Dale and Patty Raebel,
Pete and Jane Schoeffel, Charles and Marcia Zuhoski, Wayne and Barbara Waddell, Denver Key, Hal Kushner, and J.B. Souder
plus Jane Crumpler. [I apologize if I missed anyone.]
GB, Wayne Waddell
MORE INFO http://veterantributes.org/TributeDetail.php?recordID=1418