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Bernie Fisher

Posted by Jolly on December 14, 2007

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Bernard Fisher. A common thread among fighter pilot heroes is usually daring deeds done in the air. Bernie Fisher’s courage and dedication was demonstrated when he was willing to leave the relative safety of the sky to rescue a shot down squadron mate.
 
Bernie had spent some time in the Navy and the Idaho Air National Guard before he was commissioned in the US Air Force. He became an interceptor pilot for the Air Defense Command until he volunteered for a Vietnam tour in 1965. As a member of the 1st Commando Squadron based at Pleiku Air Base, Bernie flew the rugged A-1E/H Skyraider.
 
On March 10, 1966 Bernie led his "Spad" two-ship to support friendly Special Forces who were being attacked by 2000 North Vietnamese Regular Army troops. The fighting was taking place in the A Shau Valley consisting of 1,500 hills and, on that day, an 800-foot cloud layer that meant the hilltops were obscured in the clouds. Enemy troops had surrounded the Special Forces camp and cutoff their access to the 2500 airstrip. To be of any help to friendly forces, Bernie was going to have to take his Skyraiders below the weather and into the valley, which meant hostile guns would be able to fire on them at close range and often from above.

Amazingly, Bernie Fisher had earned a Silver Star for his involvement with this same battle the day before. However, for his heroics on March 10, once he returned to the US in 1967, Major Fisher was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony.

A total of six Skyraiders were involved in the battle when Bernie saw a squadron mate, “Jump” Myers, hit by ground fire that caused him to crash-land on the airstrip. With enemy forces closing in on the downed airman and friendly rescue helicopters a half hour away, Fisher decided to land his two-seat Skyraider and pickup Myers. Directing his own air cover while under heavy enemy fire, Bernie landed on the airstrip, avoided battle debris and exploded aircraft parts and taxied back almost the full length of the airstrip to Myers location. Once Myers was onboard, still taking direct hits to his aircraft from intense enemy gunfire, Fisher added power was able to climb out of the valley.

Bernie Fisher went back to the Air Defense Command and jet interceptors until his retirement.  Fighter pilots live in the sky. They are most comfortable when they are strapped in and off the ground. Bernie Fisher’s willingness to leave that airborne environment and place his plane and himself back on the ground, under direct enemy fire, makes him a true FU Hero.

Comments:

Posted by BearPilot on
If you listen to a tape of that rescue, you'll hear the choppers holding because the ground fire in so intense. Then, after the rescue and the ground fire lessened, a chopper pilot says "we'll go in now." Then you here "we got him out."
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