Fred Cherry passes

| February 21, 2016

Fred Cherry

The Washington Post reports the sad news that Fred V. Cherry, an African-American combat pilot of the Korean War who was shot down during the Vietnam War and held as a prisoner for 2671 days has passed on to his reward.

“The plane exploded and I ejected at about 400 feet at over 600 miles an hour,” Col. Cherry wrote in a 1999 collection of war stories by POWs and Medal of Honor recipients. “In the process of ejection, I broke my left ankle, my left wrist, and crushed my left shoulder. I was captured immediately upon landing by Vietnamese militia and civilians.”

“I spent 702 days in solitary confinement,” he added, with the longest period lasting 53 weeks. “At one time I was either tortured or in punishment for 93 straight days.”

Cherry was released with the first group of POWs on February 12th, 1973. Fellow-POW Porter Halyburton says of Cherry;

“I was so inspired by Fred’s toughness,” Halyburton said. “He had grown up in the racial South [and] undergone a lot of discrimination and hardship. But he was such an ardent patriot. He loved this country. It inspired me, and it inspired a lot of others.”

Cherry was awarded two Bronze Star Medals, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Legion of Merits, a Silver Star and an Air Force Cross.

Category: Blue Skies

Comments (28)

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  1. Silentium Est Aureum says:

    RIP, Colonel. You definitely deserve it.

  2. OWB says:

    Rest now, finally, in peace, sir.

  3. Charles says:

    Two Souls Indivisible

    Just saying if you know how to read, and not the comic book style, this a good book about Col Cherry and his redneck roommate. They were out together by the NVA and became friends to the end even now.

    • OldSoldier54 says:

      Thanks for the tip. Added to my Amazon Wish List.

    • EMBurns says:

      Had the pleasure of knowing Cmdr. Haliburton.The book is an amazing read, being a Vietnam Veteran myself,the story of these two heroes is truly awe inspiring. RIP Mr.Cherry !

  4. MrFace says:

    Off you go, into the wild blue yonder… Sir. Rest Peacefully.

  5. IDC SARC says:

    RIP Colonel

  6. IDC SARC says:

    Think any kids in school will have this current event brought into their consciousness, any at all?

    • Climb to Glory says:

      No. It’s a damn shame. But they will learn about Huey Newton. RIP Colonel Cherry. One tough bastard.

  7. CC Senor says:

    Maj Cherry’s homecoming was probably the saddest one because of a faithless wife. The man has earned his peace. RIP.

  8. Skippy says:

    Rest Well Sir


  9. Sparks says:

    Rest in peace Colonel Cherry. You served more than well and gave far more than you owed. You will never be forgotten. God be with your family now Sir.

  10. Hondo says:

    Just in case anyone was wondering . . . yeah, for once the MSM got one right.

    Rest now in peace, Colonel. You’ve certainly earned that.

  11. AskaMarine says:

    From Suffolk, VA:

    Blue Skies. Rest in Peace, COL Cherry, Sir.

  12. HMCS(FMF) ret. says:

    RIP Col. Cherry… and thank you for your service

  13. Ex-PH2 says:

    That he survived intact what the VC did to him and to Halyburton is remarkable enough.

  14. Semper Idem says:

    Rest in peace, Sir.

  15. OldSoldier54 says:

    Dang, I love reading about men like this. Great post, Jonn!

    Rest, my Brother, rest. You overcame and loved to the end. May your Reward be AWESOME!!!

    And may the Prince of Life, Himself, bind up all the wounds of those left behind to make them whole again.

  16. B Woodman says:

    “For I have slipped the surly bonds of earth. .. . ”

    RIP, sir.

    • Hondo says:

      For those who didn’t recognize it, what B Woodman quoted is the opening line of a poem called “High Flight”, written by John Gillespie MacGee, Jr. It’s IMO uniquely apropos for this occasion.

      Full text of the poem, along with a bit of background about its author, can be found here.

  17. Jarhead says:

    None of us can grasp what all this man and others suffered. Then again, all of us can and do respect the man for living the life he did without being bitter. R I P Sir.

  18. Sponge says:

    God bless. Enjoy your eternity, sir. You’ve earned it.

  19. OC says:

    RIP good COL.
    And in case no one else ever said it, welcome home.
    And now you truly are home.