POLFER, CLARENCE RONALD RIP 08/05/2014 Name: Clarence Ronald Polfer Rank/Branch: O5/United States Navy, pilot Unit: RECONATKRON 7 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 Category: 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. 2014. REMARKS: 730328 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). UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO C. RONALD POLFER 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 anywhere.
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)