Edwin Lee AtterberryLieutenant Colonel
11TH TAC RECON SQDN, 432ND TRW, 7TH AF
United States Air Force
03 March 1934 - 18 May 1969
Panel 24E Line 102
The database page for Edwin Lee Atterberry
Thirty years ago I started tracing my family tree. One name I ran across was Edwin Lee Atterberry, who was listed as a POW in Viet Nam. I always wondered what happened to him. Today I decided to try the computer and found his name. Then I found your site.
Although I never could discover where he fit in the family, I always remembered him and his family in my prayers.
I just wanted to let him know that I will always think of him with pride and that his name and his bravery will never be forgotten.
I was stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, with the 10th TRS when then-Captain Atterberry was one of our pilots. I knew him as a fine officer to a brand new A1C ... he always waited for us to process his film and thanked us for a job well done. I looked for him in Vietnam but never made contact before he was shot down. I have however had a lengthy conversation with a fellow P.O.W. who provided me with much insight into the last days of Lt Col Atterberry.
Fly High, Colonel.
From a former squadron member,
God bless, may you soar with the angels.
From a distant friend.
Notes from The Virtual WallThe Paul Doumer Bridge on the northeast outskirts of Hanoi was of prime military significance - it provided the only south-bound river crossing for the railroads coming west from Haiphong port and south from China (2 rail lines). Although it was on the original JCS target list put forward in April 1964, it was not struck until 11 August 1967 for political reasons. By that time, the air defenses in the Hanoi region had been very well developed indeed.
On 11 August 1967, the Air Force conducted a raid on the previously sacrosanct bridge and managed to drop one span of the rail bridge and two spans of the road bridge into the river ... and did so without losing any aircraft. On 12 August a follow-up strike was conducted, causing further damage to the bridge - but two aircraft were lost, one F-105D flak suppressor and an RF-4C photo recon aircraft. Three airmen were on the ground and rapidly became prisoners of war:
Atterberry and Dramesi ended up sharing a cell in the Hanoi prison called the Zoo. On 10 May 1969, after several months' careful planning, they broke through the roof of the prison and escaped - but were recaptured the next day. Both men were returned to the Zoo, where they were severely and systematically beaten over a period of weeks. Dramesi survived this treatment; Atterberry did not. In November 1969 the North Vietnamese advised the US that Captain Atterberry had died on 05/18/1969.
The cause of Atterberry's death was not known until the POWs were released in early 1973 (Dramesi on 14 March, Norris and Parrott on 14 March). One returning POW, Colonel Richard Dutton, USAF, reported that Atterberry was seen by other POWs as he was removed from his cell "in a bloody mess". That was the last anyone saw of Atterberry.
Edwin Atterberry came home a year later, on Wednesday, 13 March 1974. His remains were positively identified on 22 April 1974.
Both Edwin Atterberry and John Dramesi were awarded the Air Force Cross for their actions while captured.
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 12 Feb 2000
Last updated 11/18/2006