Above & Beyond: My Enemy, My Friend

Dan Cherry and Hong My met in the skies over North Vietnam in 1972, then again 36 years later

Major Dan Cherry (right) and Lieutenant Hong My, in Vietnam last year. (John Fleck)
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Usually gregarious and outgoing, Hong My turned quiet and somber. As I studied photographs of American POWs, he whispered, "Did you have friends in here?" I pointed to a picture of Colonel John Flynn. "He is my friend." Hong My lowered his eyes and shook his head.

As we emerged, I was overwhelmed with sorrow. Hong My put his arm consolingly around my shoulder and patted me on the back. On the street in front of the infamous POW jail, my enemy had become a true friend.

Dan Cherry served with the U.S. Air Force for 29 years, during which he commanded the Eighth Tactical Fighter Wing and the Thunderbirds, and flew 295 combat missions during the Vietnam War. He retired with the rank of brigadier general. To purchase his just-published book, send a check for $25 to Aviation Heritage Park, My Enemy My Friend, P.O. Box 1526, Bowling Green, KY 42102-1526. Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center on April 27.

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