Bobby Ray Bagley
Colonel, United States Air Force
When I was a teenager I wore a POW braclet of a United States Air Force Pilot Bobby Ray Bagley. He was in captivity from 1967 to 1973. He wrote me a beautiful letter when he returned home.
With the current war going on, I am reminded of this time in my life. I went on the Internet and found alot more information on him, part of which told me he passed away in 1997, and is buried at your cemetery. My 18 year old son and I want to take a road trip to the cemetery, and pay respect to Mr. Bagley. I tried to find him on your website, but wasn't able. Can you help?
Name: Bobby Ray Bagley
Other Personnel in Incident: none
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one
or more of the following: raw
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977
Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret),
Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor
BOBBY R. BAGLEY
I was born 10 February 1933. My place of birth was a small farm near Cumming, Georgia. I was the third of five boys. I grew up on the farm and graduated from Cumming High School in 1950. After graduating I joined the Naval Reserve. In the fall of 1950 I entered Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia. I attended Piedmont for two years. During the summer of 1952, while on active duty, I applied for and was accepted in the Air Force Aviation Cadet Program. I received my wings and commission in June 1954. In October 1954 I married my college sweetheart, Sandy West of Canton, North Carolina. We have one daughter, Vicki Ann, born March 24, 1956. I continued my formal education in the Air Force, graduating from Omaha University under "Bootstrap" in January 1966, with a major in Business Administration.
All but one year of my Air Force career has been spent in Tactical Reconnaissance: Shaw Air Froce Base, South Carolina; Phalsbourg, France; Laon, France; Southeast Asia, including South Vietnam, Thailand, and North Vietnam; and I am now back at Shaw Air Force Base for a 4th tour there. My immediate plans are to remain in the military and to continue to serve my country in whatever way I can.
I arrived in South Vietnam in May 1966 where I spent 13 months "flying" a desk. Then I voluntarily extended my tour so that I could fly missions over North Vietnam, not having flown any during the previous 13 months. I was shot down 16 September 1967 by a MIG-21 while piloting an unarmed RF-101, reconnaissance aircraft over North Vietnam. I landed approximately 5 to 7 miles north of Son La, North Vietnam (approximately 130 miles WNW of Hanoi) and was captured almost immediately by a group of "friendly" Vietnamese peasants. I was severely beaten and mistreated by these "lovely" and "gentle" people, receiving serious injuries and almost losing my life. Later, the North Vietnamese Armymen who interrogated me were to use these injuries as a bargaining factor to gain information, to inflict still more severe pain during their barbaric torture and to deny me any medical aid for the injuries for several weeks, and then administering aid only because they (the NVN) thought that I was going to die.
But regardless of the atrocities committed by the North Vietnamese; the torturing, the beatings; the inhumane treatment; the humiliation, the degradation that became such a part of our normal routine, life for us had to go on.
Immediately following my capture, and again after my introduction to the Communist methods of extracting information from an individual, I prayed for death! Death would have been the easy way out. But God would not let me die! And so during the 5 years of my imprisonment God and I became quite intimate, and, by His grace, I survived.
However, it was not only my faith in God that
brought me through the long ordeal, but also faith in my country and in
those responsible for conducting the affairs of my country. I believe in
freedom, and I certainly supported our
I am a very lucky man--I returned to the country
that I love so dearly! I am also a very proud man, proud of my God, my
country, my President, my family, and proud of all those who did not forget
me and my compatriots during those difficult and trying years. I am also
proud of having been afforded the opportunity to serve my country in this
small way. Many of our brave young Americans gave their lives in Vietnam
to preserve freedom-the freedom we here in America often take for granted.
Let us never forget those men. And let us also work very diligently for
a complete accounting of the unknowns--the MIAs--who also gave of themselves
that men might be free. America is a grand and glorious country. It is
a FREE country! So let us, all of us, strive to make it an even greater
country. We must unite for the cause of America, for the cause of freedom!
Let us demonstrate to those who have betrayed our country during
its hour of need, and who are still voicing support for the enemy, that
we here in America are united, and that America is truly a land of freedom.
God bless you and God bless America! TAP--TAP! !
Bobby Bagley retired from the United States
Air Force as a Colonel. He lived in South Carolina, until his death from
cancer 12/05/97. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.