BAGLEY, BOBBY RAY
Deceased

Name: Bobby Ray Bagley
Rank/Branch:O4/United States Air Force, pilot
Unit: 20th TRS
Date of Birth: 10 February 1933
Home City of Record: Cumming GA
Date of Loss: 16 September 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 212200 North 1035300 East
Status (in 1973): Returnee
Category:
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: RF 101

Other Personnel in Incident: none

Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw
data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA
families, published sources, interviews.

REMARKS: 730314 RELEASED BY DRV

SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977
Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor
P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602
Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and
spelling errors).
UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO

BOBBY R. BAGLEY
Colonel - United States Air Force
Shot Down: September 16, 1967
Released: March 14, 1973

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 AFB, South Carolina; Phalsbourg, France; Laon, France;
Southeast Asia, including South Vietnam, Thailand, and North Vietnam; and I
am now back at Shaw AFB 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
involvement in Vietnam, but I felt that it was going to be a long war. We had
a job to do in South Vietnam, a job that would take time, for the Communists
of North Vietnam were not to be easily dissuaded from their goal of complete
enslavement of the people of South Vietnam. I had pride, and the utmost
confidence, in my country. But I surmised that if I was to survive the long
ordeal that awaited me I must live only one day at a time, never looking back,
nor looking ahead for more than a few hours. By my acceptance of this attitude
early in my internment I found it possible to maintain faith in my God and in
my country, and to maintain my sanity. I never felt that I had been forsaken,
or forgotten. Someday I would once again be a free man!!!

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! !

December 1997
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.


Use your Browser's BACK function to return to the PREVIOUS page