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“An Unlikely Reunion – Reconciliation in Vietnam”

Ngày đăng: 12/05/2009 | Lượt xem: 491

Brigadier General Dan Cherry, USAF (Ret.) and Vietnamese MiG-21 pilot, Nguyen Hong My, will reunite at Sun ’n Fun 2009 for the only the second time since Cherry’s F-4D Phantom shot down My over Hanoi in 1972. Cherry traveled to Vietnam in April 2008 to meet My on national Vietnamese television where their reunion was broadcast throughout Vietnam. Photographer John Fleck traveled with Cherry and chronicled this remarkable reunion in his book, “The Unlikely Reunion–Reconciliation in Vietnam”. My and Cherry will both travel to Sun ’n Fun for multiple presentations scheduled for Thursday, April 23 through Saturday, April 25.  The 2009 Sun ’n Fun Fly-In will be held April 21-26 at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland, Fla.

Cherry was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force in July of 1960 and went through pilot training in 1964, receiving an F-105 assignment with the 49th Tactical Fighter Wing at Spangdalem, Germany. In December of 1966 he volunteered for his first tour of duty in Southeast Asia and flew 100 missions over North Vietnam during his first eight months of duty. After returning to the United States as an instructor pilot in the F-105, he volunteered for his 2nd tour of duty in Southeast Asia in 1972, this time assigned to fly the F-4D Phantom II. In April 1972, Cherry, flying in a flight of four Phantoms shot down the MiG-21 piloted by Vietnamese fighter pilot, Hong My. Following his second tour of duty and only MiG “kill.”

Cherry went on to a successful career in the U.S. Air Force, reaching the rank of Brigadier General, and leading the USAF Thunderbirds Jet Demonstration Team before retiring in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Throughout the years, however, he wondered what had happened to the MIG pilot.

Friends of Dan Cherry’s contacted a Vietnamese reality television program, "Seem As Never Have Been Seaparated," which specializes in reuniting people. The show was able to track dow the MIG pilot, and the two met on television show last April. A friendship was instantly formed.

“It is my hope that our remarkable meeting and reconciliation can somehow help the many Vietnam Veterans who have had great difficulty in bringing closure to their war experiences.  Mr. Hong My and I both share the mutual hope that our unusual friendship can also be an inspiration to our two countries to work toward better and friendlier relations through enhanced educational, cultural and business exchanges”, said Cherry of the upcoming reunion with Nguyen Hong My at Sun ’n Fun.

Cherry, now the President of Aviation Heritage Park in Bowling Green, whose first exhibit was the F-4D Phantom #66-7550, the very airplane Cherry was flying during the dogfight with Hong My, will officially open the park on April 16, 2009 with a ceremony that will include My. Cherry and My will then travel to Sun ’n Fun where several presentations are scheduled throughout the week, including a book signing with Cherry’s recently released book, “My Enemy, My Friend” that details his experiences during the dogfight and subsequent reunion with My on national Vietnamese television in April 2008. Cherry and My will also present a joint lecture in the Florida Air Museum. More information about their scheduled activities during Sun ’n Fun will be posted as available to the Sun ’n Fun website at www.sun-n-fun.org.

A friendship was instantly formed

The following is an excerpt from Cherry’s book:

“United Air Lines from Nashville, TN to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and on April 5, 2008, for the first time, Mr. Hong My and I met each other on live national television. My heart was pounding as he walked on the set. We immediately locked eyes as he approached me with a very pleasant look on his face. He greeted me with a firm handshake, words of welcome and expressed his pleasure that I was in good health and his desire for us to become friends. I responded with similar comments and we both sat down around a table with the anchor and producer, Thu Uyen. The interview began with prerecorded information about our respective families. Very emotional now, with tears coming to my eyes when I saw pictures of my children and grandchildren on the monitor. And the same thing happened to Hong My. There we were, two tough old fighter pilots crying our eyes out on national television. Go figure. Our chemistry was good right from the start”.

Theo SUN ’N FUN

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