Armand J. Myers
Col. Armand J. Myers, USAF (Retired) was born in Yakima, WA, April 30, 1929, died at his home on Wednesday, March 27, 2002. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 1954 with a BA in Philosophy and a Commission through the ROTC.
He flew fighters for 10 years and was on his 94th Combat Mission in an F-4C when he was shot down north of Hanoi on June 1, 1966. He was captured and spent six years, eight-and-half months as a POW. Following his release, he went to Air War College where he headed a 35-man group of returnees to document their period of captivity.
He was awarded “Distinguished Graduate” by the War College and stayed on for another year as faculty to do a study of the Code of Conduct. It was a key document used by the Presidential Blue Ribbon Committee, whose recommendations led to a change in the Code of Conduct.
Then came eight years in Italy assigned to NATO’s Southern Region. Col. Myers retired with 29 years of service on July 31, 1983. His decorations include the Silver Star, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star for Valor (4 OLC), Air Medal (5 OLC) and Purple Heart (1OLC).
He is survived by his wife, Patty; daughter, Nadine Morse of Niles, MI; grandson, David Henandez of Rockville, MD, and two great-grandsons.
Poor wretch in misery and pain,
Who shows improper attitude
When he dared to openly complain,
Was made to suffer even more
To teach him proper gratitude
For his pathetic plight before.
©Copyright circa 1969 by A.J. Myers
Information: This poem by AJ Myers was prompted by an often-used tactic of the North Vietnamese. He is not sure when he wrote it, but places it around the time of the death of Ho Chi Minh (Sept, 1969).
As an example, during a time all of the POWs were suffering from severe loss of weight, two POWs complained to the camp authorities of the need for better food. As a result, everyone’s already meager rations were cut in half for one week.
He composed this poem after more than a month in solitary confinement. He had been put there for going on a hunger strike to protest the lack of adequate dental care. Years earlier he had broken several fillings on bits of rock that were in his rice. The North Vietnamese refused to fix them. The teeth finally came to give him such constant pain that he wanted them pulled.
When he went on strike as a protest, they cut off his water, moved him into solitary, and would not pull his teeth nor move him until he agreed to do some painting (artwork which might be used in future propaganda) for them.