Donald R. Spoon, M.D.

POW 1967 – 1973

Name: Donald R. Spoon
Rank/Branch: O2/United States Air Force
Unit: 480TFS
Date of Birth: 22 December 41
Home City of Record: Mound City MO
Date of Loss: 21 January 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam

Loss Coordinates: 213600N 1062800E
Status (in 1973): Returnee
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4C, #0810
Incident No: 0580
Missions: 38
Other Personnel in Incident: William J. Baugh, returnee

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

Captain – United States Air Force
Shot Down: January 21, 1967
Released: March 4, 1973


I was born in Mound City, Missouri on 22 December 1941. I lived there until 1952, then moved to Trenton, Missouri where I graduated from high school. While there I was active in the high school band (trombone 6 years), glee club, mixed chorus, and sports (football and track). I was also active in Boy Scouts and was a member of the Trenton Nazarene Church. I then attended one year of the Naval Academy Preparatory School in 1959 to March 1960. In June 1960 1 entered the Air Force Academy and graduated on June 3, 1964. While at the Academy I was active mainly in the Protestant Choir and the Chorale. I received a BS degree with a major in Engineering Science. From June 1964 to August 1965 I was in pilot training at Vance AFB, Enid, Oklahoma. September 1965 to February 1966 I attended F-4C training at Davis Monthan AFB, Arizona. After completing F4C training I reported to my first assignment-81st TAC Fighter Wing at RAF Bentwaters, England. I volunteered for Southeast Asia and was sent to Da Nang Air Base in the Republic of South Vietnam in late 1966. I flew about 40 missions and was shot down on a MIG Cap mission over Kep Air Field, North Vietnam on 21 January 1967. I was released 4 March 1973 and returned to the United States.


I debriefed at Scott AFB, Illinois. While there I met Captain Alice Braswell. Our relationship grew and resulted in our marriage on 25 August 1973. We honeymooned in the St. Thomas, Virgin Islands and Jamaica. I requested to go to graduate school and reported to Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado on 4 June 1973 to start on my Masters Degree in Biological Science. I have completed my first quarter and have really enjoyed it.


Alice and I are looking forward to a wonderful life together. Our main ambition is to raise as many children as we can afford and give them all the love we have in us. In support of this major goal I hope to be able to attend medical school and become a physician. Alice is a nurse and has been a great help to me already. We are looking forward to this opportunity together. If I am not accepted to medical school, I plan to teach in the Life Science Department at the USAF Academy.

My ambition to become a doctor has been heightened by the wonderful welcome home I received. I hope that in my capacity as a doctor I can continue to serve my country and the wonderful people therein. I plan to stay in the Air Force until I am kicked out.

Donald Spoon retired from the United States Air Force as a Colonel . He and
his wife Alice reside in Texas.

Don Spoon was born in 1941 in Mound City, Missouri. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force Reserve on June 9, 1959, and attended the U.S. Naval Academy Prep School for a year before entering the U.S. Air Force Academy in June 1960. Spoon graduated from the Air Force Academy and was commissioned a 2d Lt on June 3, 1964, and completed Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance AFB, Oklahoma, in August 1965. After completing F-4C Phantom II combat crew training, Lt Spoon was assigned to the 92nd Tactical Fighter Squadron of the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing at RAF Bentwaters, England, where he served from March to November 1966. He next began flying combat missions in Southeast Asia with the 480th Tactical Fighter Squadron at DaNang AB in the Republic of Vietnam in November 1966, and was forced to eject over North Vietnam and taken as a Prisoner of War on January 21, 1967. After spending 2,234 days in captivity, Capt Spoon was released during Operation Homecoming on March 4, 1973. He then attended graduate school at Colorado State University, but was accepted to medical school before completing his Masters Degree. After completing medical school at Washington University in 1977, he served as a Family Practice and then an Aerospace Medicine Physician at Eglin AFB, Florida, from November 1977 to January 1984. His next assignment was as Chief of Medical Operations and Deputy Commander for Research, Development, and Acquisition for Headquarters Aerospace Medical Division at Brooks AFB, Texas, from January 1984 to June 1989. Col Spoon then served as Vice Commander then as Deputy Director of Crew Systems for Armstrong Laboratory at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, from June 1989 to 1993, and then as Director of the Project Reliance Office of Armstrong Laboratory at Brooks AFB until his retirement from the Air Force on May 31, 1994. Don married Alice Braswell on August 25, 1973, and they have three children-Kelley, Donia, and Thomas.

His Silver Star Citation reads:

This officer distinguished himself by gallantry and intrepidity in action in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force while a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam. Ignoring international agreements on treatment of prisoners of war, the enemy resorted to mental and physical cruelties to obtain information, confessions and propaganda materials. This American resisted their demands by calling upon his deepest inner strengths in a manner which reflected his devotion to duty and great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.