Fred Vann Cherry was born on March 24, 1928, and died on February 16, 2016.
He was a Colonel and Command Pilot in the U.S. Air Force.
He was a Korean fighter pilot, he served in the Korean War, the Cold War and the Vietnam War.
During a combat mission on October 22, 1965, Cherry’s F-105 Thunderchief fighter-bomber was shot down over North Vietnam.
Fred ran away and was subsequently captured, the first and was the highest ranking black officer among U.S. Prisoners of War during the Vietnam War.
Enslave to harsh interrogation and repeated torture, he spent over 7yrs as a prisoner of war in Hanoi until his release on February 12, 1973.
Following his return to home, Fred then attended the National War College, and was assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency, retiring from the Air Force with over 30 years of service on 1 September 1981.
Following his end from active duty, President Ronald Reagan later commissioned Colonel Fred Cherry to serve on the Korean War Veterans Memorial Advisory Board.
Fred V. Cherry received awards and decorations, that include the Air Force Cross, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Bronze Stars with Combat V, two Purple Hearts, the Meritorious Service Medal, three Air Medals, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Prisoner of War Medal, and two Presidential Unit Citations.
Cherry also received the Award for Outstanding Service to the Military Community from the Tuskegee Airmen.
His life was the subject of the book, Two Souls Indivisible: The Friendship That Saved Two POWs in Vietnam, by James S. Hirsch, author of Hurricane.
Fred V. Cherry was also featured in the documentary, Tom Hanks Presents: Return With Honor, the story of Vietnam fighter pilots held as prisoners of war.
After retirement from the Air Force, Fred served as the Director of Technical Support Services for E.H. White & Co., and as Marketing Manager for Data Transformation Corp.
His last job was as a Chief Executive Officer for Cherry Engineering and Support Services and Director of SilverStar Consulting.
Fred V. Cherry passed away at 87 yrs old.