Air Force Veteran Bernard F. Fisher is today’s Veteran of the Day.
Bernard Francis Fisher was born in January 1927, in San Bernardino, California. He grew up in Clearfield, Utah, and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in February 1945. In 1947, Fisher transferred to the Idaho Air National Guard. He officially joined the U.S. Air Force on June 11, 1951, and finished his pilot training in April 1953. Fisher first deployed to Japan as part of the Pacific Air Forces. He was then stationed at Air Force bases in Montana and Florida. With the United States entering the Vietnam War in 1965, he requested to serve in Vietnam and was assigned to the 1st Air Commando Squadron stationed at Pleiku Air Base in South Vietnam.
In March 1966, while flying an A-1E Skyraider for a routine mission over South Vietnam, Fisher received word that a nearby American special forces encampment at A Shau was under attack by a large North Vietnamese force. Fisher immediately headed toward the encampment to assist. While he and other aircraft attacked the enemy from the air, one of the American aircraft was hit by enemy fire. The pilot of the downed aircraft was forced to crash land and it seemed inevitable that he would be captured by enemy forces. Fisher decided to help his fallen comrade and quickly landed his aircraft, even though the runway was damaged and surrounded by enemy troops. The fallen pilot was able to run to Fisher’s A-1E Skyraider and climb aboard, despite enemy fire peppering the aircraft.
For his actions that saved the downed pilot, Fisher received a Medal of Honor, which was presented to him by President Lyndon Johnson at the White House in January 1967. His other medals include an Air Medal with 3 bronze oak leaf clusters, a Distinguished Flying Cross and an Air Force Commendation Medal. Fisher retired from the military in 1974 with the rank of colonel.
In August 2014, Fisher died. He was 87. He is buried at Idaho State Veterans Cemetery in Boise.
We honor his service.
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Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Writer: Jack Patterson
Editors: Nicolas Nunnally, Nathaniel Scott
Researcher: Patrick E. Woods
Graphics: Kiki Kelley