RIP  08/05/2014

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Name: Clarence Ronald Polfer
Rank/Branch: O5/United States Navy, pilot
Date of Birth: 03 December 1933
Home City of Record: Independence MO
Date of Loss: 07 May 1972
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 195900 North  1055100 East
Status (in 1973): Returnee
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: FA5C
Missions: 200+
Note: Third Tour

Other Personnel in Incident: Joseph Kernan, returnee

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. 2020.


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 - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO

Commander- United States Navy
Shot Down: May 7, 1972
Released: March 28, 1973

Cdr. Polfer was raised in Independence, Missouri, and graduated from high
school there in 1952. He attended Illinois Institute of Technology on an
NROTC scholarship, graduating in 1956 with an engineering degree and a
commission as Ensign, USN. Several years later he completed a Master's
degree at San Diego State College.

Cdr. Polfer received his wings as a naval aviator in May 1958. He has
deployed to Southeast Asia four times since the beginning of hostilities in
1964. The first two such deployments were with Fighter Squadron 154
operating from the USS Coral Sea and the USS Ranger in 1966, '67, and '68.
He then served for a year on the staff of the Commander of the Seventh Fleet
in the Western Pacific. He was serving as executive officer of
Reconnaissance Attack Squadron Seven, operating from the USS Kitty Hawk,
when his RA-5C "Vigilante" was shot down over Than Hoa, North Vietnam on May
7, 1972.  He was captured and held in the Hoa Lo prison in Hanoi, NVN, and
was released to US military authorities on March 28,1973.

Speaking for myself, it seems the greatest of American tragedies that the
kind of national unity finally mobilized in support of the POW's could not
have been brought to bear eight years sooner to allow our country to deal
decisively with aggression against our allies and our own national interests
at the onset of hostilities. Rather, we allowed the sedition and treasonous
activities of a few in our midst to undermine our national pride and sense
of purpose, and encourage our enemies in their belief that America was no
longer willing to make the sacrifices necessary to defend her commitments
and her national honor. I was not yet a prisoner when the bombing was halted
in the face of dissension and public apathy prior to the 1968 elections, but
I felt then that we were letting down our comrades who remained behind in
the enemy prison camps. When we finally went back with our strike forces
more than three years later, it was an effort I was proud to be part of. Our
country finally seemed united behind a courageous president who was
providing the kind of leadership in wartime that we as Americans could be
proud to follow. it was apparent that we were going back to win an honorable
conclusion - one that would free our comrades and ensure that our more than
56,000 dead had not died in vain. When I was shot down and captured early in
that renewed effort, I at least had the satisfaction of hearing American
strike aircraft overhead regularly, and knowing that my country would be
behind me till we were all brought home in a manner befitting a great
country - a satisfaction my fellow POW's could not have known during those
long years when our country was split by dissension and the war was not
being carried home to our enemy. I hope we've finally learned, as a nation,
never again to tolerate in our midst those who would undermine our resolve
in wartime and publicly demean a cause for which Americans are dying

Clarence Polfer retired from the United States Navy as a Captain. He and his
wife Veda resided in Florida until his passing.

Captain Polfer passed away at 1500 August 5, 2014. He'd had cancer for years and
fought with enough courage for ten men.  He will have a very small funeral and
burial beside his parents in Rogers, Arkansas.

CAPT C. Ronald "Boom" Polfer, USN-Ret (RIP)
Clarence Ronald Polfer, age 80 of Punta Gorda, Florida, passed away August 5, 2014. Ron was born December 9, 1933 in Kansas City, Missouri to parents Clarence Polfer and Audrey Baldwin Polfer. He was united in marriage to Veda Shaw on June 16, 1956 in Albion, Illinois. Ron was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy through the Navy ROTC Program
at the Illinois Institute of Technology on June 8, 1956, and then completed flight training, earning his designation as a
Naval Aviator on May 2, 1958. He deployed many times in his career, including four deployments to Southeast Asia.
It was during his fourth deployment on May 7, 1972 that Ron was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken
as a prisoner, finally being released after 326 days in captivity. He continued to serve until retiring from the Navy on
November 1, 1979 at the rank of Captain. His awards included the Purple Heart, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze
Star and Air Medal among others. Ron was a member of the Vietnam POW Association, the American Legion, the
Red River Fighter Pilots Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, the Military Officers
Association of America and the Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity. In later years, Ron enjoyed traveling with Veda and
they traveled far and wide in their RV. He also enjoyed spending time with his family. Ron was preceded in death
by his parents. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Veda Polfer of Punta Gorda, Florida; two daughters, Sandra
Selling and husband Vern of Sunrise, Florida and Susan Grake and husband Sam of Springfield, Virginia; grandsons,
Sam Paul Grake and Jared Selling; granddaughter, Brandi Grake and sister, Judith Considine of Middletown, Maryland.
Funeral services are scheduled for 11:00 A.M. Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at the Benton County Memorial Park
Funeral Home Chapel, 3800 W.Walnut, Rogers, Arkansas. Interment will follow at Benton County Memorial Park,
with full military honors.


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