REHMANN, DAVID GEORGE
|Name: David George Rehmann
Rank/Branch: O2/United States Navy
Unit: VF 154
Date of Birth: 27 April 1942
Home City of Record: Lancaster CA
Date of Loss: 02 December 1966
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 212100N 1062400
Status (in 1973): Returnee
Other Personnel in Incident: Dave McRae, pilot, missing
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK 06 September 1996 from one or more of the
following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with
POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. 2018
REMARKS: 021273 RELEASED
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
DAVID G. REHMANN
Lieutenant - United States Navy
Shot Down: December 2, 1966
Released: February 12, 1973
Lt. David Rehmann was reported Missing in Action, Presumed Dead, when his
plane was shot down December 2, 1966. He remained one of the unaccounted
Missing in Action for two weeks until the Communists used a propaganda film
showing David being marched through a war crimes tribunal following his
Despite the photo's low quality of Lt. Rehmann's burnt, dazed and swollen
face and his loosely wrapped broken arm, his mother recognized the photo.
Later, it was used by VIVA to depict the plight of POWs in advertisements
and on matchbooks and posters circulated internationally. As a result, tons
of letters poured into North Vietnam protesting their treatment, and causing
the enemy to alleviate some of the suffering POWs were forced to endure.
Lt. Rehmann described some of the early tests of survival. Milk given him
after a week in captivity was the first food to stay on his stomach. "Their
green weed soup and rice were awfully hard to hack," Lt. Rehmann said. So
weak he could hardly move, with fever and in shock from being shot down, he
ranged from lucid to delirious for days. However, as he recovered and
regained strength, guards demanded he be at the cell door to bow whenever
they appeared. "You learn quickly that you can't get used to taking
beatings, and although I was still weak, I would get there and bow rather
than take that."
Once identified in the U.S., the Communists told the world Lt. Rehmann and
other known POWs were receiving humane treatment. "They had to keep us
alive. Probably the reason I am alive today is because they publicized me,"
the Lieutenant said.
Held in nine different camps over his 75 months in Communist prison, Lt.
Rehmann was returned to the U.S. with the first released POWs, February 12,
Since then he has spoken to numerous national groups on his experiences and
in concern for the unaccounted Missing in Action. His candid and basically
optimistic viewpoint has attracted national attention.
"America's leadership role in the free world is no easy task. I am proud to
have served our country's armed forces. I was fairly young when I was shot
down. I feel my time spent in Hanoi was for all Americans, but especially
for the youth. War is a hardship on everyone, but especially the youth. I
hope today's generation will never have to experience combat and become
prisoners of war in the future."
Following retirement from the Navy in December, a citizens group organized
to elect David Rehmann to Congress from California's new 38th District which
includes Garden Grove, the city which adopted him while in prison in
demonstration of America's broad concern for POWs.
Born in Bay City, Michigan, April 27, 1942, David Rehmann moved with his
family to California in 1950 and settled in the Antelope Valley, north of
Los Angeles, in 1954. He attended Lancaster schools with his four brothers
and sister, became a water, tennis and outdoor enthusiast in the high desert
country. After earning an Associates degree in Business Administration at
Antelope Valley College, he worked for North American Aviation at Palmdale
and the UTC division of United Aircraft at Edwards Air Force Flight Test
Facility and Rocket Base. In 1964 he was accepted to the U.S. Navy School of
Preflight at Pensacola, Florida. Assigned to duty in Vietnam as a Radar
intercept officer, he recorded 45 combat missions before his aircraft was
David Rehmann retired from the United States Navy as a Lieutenant. He lives
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