Bennie Lamar Fryer

First Lieutenant
United States Air Force
28 October 1945 - 28 December 1972
Stockton, California
Panel 01W Line 107

USAF Navigator/Bombardier

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Bennie Lamar Fryer

09 Sep 2002

1st Lt. Bennie Lamar Fryer was aboard a B-52 shot down by a Surface to Air (SAM) missile over the Hanoi area on Thursday December 28, 1972. His B-52 was one of many involved in the successful "Christmas Bombings" of the Hanoi and Haiphong areas that finally convinced the North Vietnamese to sit at the peace table and seriously consider the ending of the war.

Lt. Fryer's aircraft was one of a flight of three B-52's. Each B-52 crew was comprised of 6 men and he was one of the 2 men lost on his aircraft.

The B-52's that were shot down during the "Christmas Bombings" were in extremely hostile territory with little or no chance of rescue. However, downed B-52 crewmen had a high survival rate, with many more returned as POWs than was expected.

Lt. Fryer did not return when the POWs were freed, however, his remains were repatriated on September 30, 1977.

From a squadronmate,
Ken Beaton

08 Jun 2005

Bennie left this earth in 1972, but as long as I am here he will live in my heart and in my wonderful memories of our young marriage. He loved his father Lamar and mother Marguerite as much as any son ever loved his parents. Before he left with his crew members for the B52 Christmas bombings over Hanoi in Dec. '72, he asked me to stay in touch with his parents for him. He told me they loved me as much as they loved him. Although I have remarried, I continue to love his family and honor their great sacrifice of their beloved and only son.

His death changed my life entirely. Today it is almost 33 years later, and I have never forgotten (nor will I ever forget) the tall, young, handsome, courageous, kind, strong, intelligent, loving Bennie Lamar Fryer.

Bennie adored airplanes, and had constructed many models as a boy, which still hang from the ceiling of his bedroom at his parents' home in Stockton, California - just where he had placed them. He loved his work in the Air Force and excelled in navigation training more than he had excelled in any other academic endeavor. It suited him perfectly, and he was the best of the best. He went down with his plane... My heart after his death was in a tailspin for many, many years.

I want the world to know that our short life together is a beautiful, cherished treasure to me. Now I am comforted to feel his loving spirit always near, his strength in my heart as I grow older. Bennie lives on, life changes a lot, and love never ends.

From his wife,
Gayla Larsen Fryer Doucet
Scottsdale, Arizona 85258

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The night of 27/28 Dec 1972 left 16 American airmen missing in action in North Vietnam - two Marines and fourteen Air Force members, twelve B-52 crewmen and two F-4 crewmen. The POW release three months later left four men still missing: As noted above, 1stLt Fryer's remains were returned to US custody on 30 Sep 1977 with positive identification announced on 25 Oct 1977. LtCol Johnson's remains were repatriated eight years later, on 04 Dec 1985, and identified on 10 Jun 1986.

Captain Chipman and Captain Forrester have not been repatriated.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his wife,
Gayla Larsen Fryer Doucet
Scottsdale, Arizona 85258
09 Sep 2002

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 07/07/2005