Hubert K. Flesher
POW 1966 – 1973
Name: Hubert Kelly Flesher
Rank/Branch: O4/United States Air Force, pilot
Unit: 480th TFS
Home City of Record: Clarksburg WV
Date of Loss: 02 December 1966
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 212000N 1055400E
Status (in 1973): Returnee
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4C #0753
Incident No: 0534
Other Personnel in Incident: James Berger, Returnee
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK March 1997 from one or more of the
following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with
POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.
On 2 December 1966, Flesher and Berger were number three in a flight of
four F4C’s on Mig Caps just north of Thudridge. They swung wide to the right
of the rest of the flight with Mig 21 ‘s on the right and a SAM (surface to
air missile) on the left. The aircraft was at 14,000 feet, 913 MACH air
speed, 100 left bank at SAM impact. They immediately gained 500 feet in
altitude. They were hit at the aircraft’s center of gravity. Both ejected
and were captured.
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
Shot Down: December 2, 1966
Released: February 18, 1973
Lieutenant Colonel Flesher was the first POW to accomplish flying
re-qualification at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas (“Freedom 01”). At this
writing he is completing the F-106 Transition Course at Tyndall Air Force
Base, Panama City, Florida, with an end assignment to the 84th FIS at Castle
Air Force Base, Merced, California.
Since his retirement, Lt. Col “Buddy” Flesher manages a consulting firm on
the West coast. He and his wife travel extensively overseas.
Bud Flesher was born in 1932 in Weston, West Virginia. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on April 10, 1951, and after completing basic training at Sheppard AFB, Texas, he completed Radar Mechanic training at Keesler AFB, Mississippi, in April 1952. His first assignment was as a radar mechanic with the 4113th and then the 43rd Armament and Electronic Maintenance Squadrons at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, from April 1952 to April 1953, followed by acceptance into the Aviation Cadet Program, where he earned his commission as a 2d Lt and his pilot wings at Bryan AFB, Texas, on July 22, 1954. Lt Flesher next completed F-86 Sabre Combat Crew Training, and then served as an instructor pilot with the 3626th Combat Crew Training Group at Tyndall AFB, Florida, from March 1955 to February 1957. His next assignment was as a Flight Test Maintenance Officer at Tyndall AFB and then at Moody AFB, Georgia, from February 1957 to September 1960, followed by an Air Force Institute of Technology assignment to Oklahoma State University to complete his bachelor’s degree from September 1960 to April 1962. Maj Flesher then served as a Flight Test Maintenance Officer with the 4603rd Air Base Group at Stewart AFB, New York, from April 1962 to January 1965, and then as a Jet Aircraft Scheduling Officer with the 1st Fighter Wing at Selfridge AFB, Michigan, from January 1965 to March 1966. His next assignment was as an F-4 Phantom II pilot with the 78th Tactical Fighter Squadron at RAF Woodbridge, England, from March to October 1966, when he deployed to Southeast Asia. Maj Flesher served as an F-4 pilot with the 480th Tactical Fighter Squdron at DaNang AB, South Vietnam, from October 1966 until he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on December 2, 1966. After spending 2,271 days in captivity, he was released during Operation Homecoming on February 18, 1973. LtCol Flesher was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries at Travis AFB, California, and then completed pilot re-qualification training at Randolph AFB, Texas. His final assignment was as an F-106 Delta Dart pilot with the 84th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Castle AFB, California, from March 1974 until his retirement from the Air Force on September 1, 1976.
His 1st (of 2) Silver Star Citation reads:
Captain Hubert K. Flesher distinguished himself by gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force over North Vietnam on 25 November 1966. On that date, on two separate missions, he conducted air to ground operations against a heavily defended surface to air missile convoy that had been discovered moving South toward the Demilitarized Zone. On the second mission of that day, Captain Flesher’s aircraft was hit by hostile ground fire, but he continued to press multiple attacks until his ordnance was expended, then with complete disregard for his own safety and completely defenseless, Captain Flesher continued to make multiple dry passes against the defenses drawing enemy ground fire away from the other aircraft in his flight. This courageous and aggressive act against overwhelming odds resulted in the destruction of an important target. By his gallantry and devotion to duty Captain Flesher has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.