Vietnam POW shares lessons he learned

Retired Air Force officer Barry Bridger, left, greets Marine veteran Bill Kuffner, of the Village of Collier, before the Vietnam Veterans of America meeting at Lake Miona Recreation Center on Tuesday.

Local veterans heard a firsthand account Tuesday about the harrowing experiences of a prisoner of war in Vietnam. As a young, ambitious U.S. Air Force pilot, Barry Bridger flew nighttime missions over North Vietnam interdicting the convoys of men and munitions moving south to attack American forces. After completing 75 successful missions, his greatest ambition was to be given a daylight mission, when he might have the opportunity to live every fighter pilot’s dream of shooting down a Russian MiG. Tuesday night, Bridger recalled his experiences in the cockpit of his F4 Phantom to a room full of members of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1036 who sat spellbound at Lake Miona Recreation Center. Chapter member Nathan Pratt, who also is commanding officer of the Col. Phillip C. DeLong Marine Corps League Detachment 1267, was on hand for the presentation and was very impressed.

“It was a tremendous story and so inspirational,” Pratt said. “I was very impressed with his attitude after suffering so badly for six years. I look forward to reading his book.”

Read this story and many others in Thursday’s edition of the Daily Sun.