RIP - John "Flew West" 2:00AM 12/2/2009
Name: John Joseph Pitchford Jr.
Rank/Branch: United States Air Force/O3
Date of Birth: May 29, 1927
Home City of Record: Natchez MS
Date of Loss: 20 December 1965
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 212500 North 1070500 East
Status (in 1973): Returnee
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F100F #1231
Missions: 3
Other Personnel in Incident: Robert Trier, remains returned 1982
Refno: 0216
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. Update 2010.
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).
Lieutenant Colonel - United States Air
Force Shot Down: December 20, 1965
Released: February 12, 1973
I enlisted in the Army Air Corps 23 August 1944 and served as an airplane
and engine mechanic until discharged in December 1946. I attended Louisiana
State University from 1949 to 1952. I graduated with a BS degree in Forestry
and received an ROTC commission. I entered Pilot training at Bartow AFB,
Florida in August 1952 and received my wings in September 1953 at James
Connally AFB, Waco, Texas. I attended the Air Force Gunnery School at
Williams AFB and Luke AFB, Arizona from September 1953 to January 1954. The
next two years were spent in Japan as a member of the 8th Fighter Bomber
Squadron, Misawa, Japan. I returned to Luke AFB in March 1956 and while
there I instructed a course in Instruments and Gunnery until November 1962.
I was assigned to Osan, Korea from January 1963 to February 1964.1 then
returned to Cannon AFB, New Mexico and was assigned to the 27th Tactical
Fighter Wing. I attended the Fighter Weapons School from June to September
1965. Upon returning to Cannon, I volunteered for the Wild Weasel program
and proceeded to Eglin AFB for a three week training program before going to
Korat AB, Thailand.
I was shot down on 20 December 1965 while on my third mission. I suffered a
dislocated right shoulder on ejection as well as gunshot wounds in my upper
right arm during capture.
My future plans depend on what corrective surgery can do for me. I am
married and have four children. My wife, who has been a source of strength
for me, and I, with the two youngest children live in Laguna Niguel,
California. My native home is Natchez, Mississippi where my mother still
The one thing I would like to convey to the American people is that no
matter what happens in one's lifetime, one must never lose faith in the
United States of America. Ours is a great country indeed. We must continue
to rededicate ourselves to the principles that have made it great. I, as a
POW, was sustained by my faith in God, country and by the hardships (much
worse than my own) that were endured by many of my fellow POWs.
The Honorable John Pitchford retired from the United States Air Force as a
Colonel. He passed away 12/02/2009.


John "Jack" Pitchford, Natchez

1927 - 2009

Jack Pitchford; was POW at 'Hanoi Hilton'   December 4, 2009
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Retired Air Force Col. Jack Pitchford, a fighter pilot from Mississippi who survived seven years in the notorious Vietnamese prison camp known as the "Hanoi Hilton," has died. He was 82.

The Natchez, Miss., native died Wednesday after battling a brain tumor, said his brother, 64-year-old Jim Pitchford of Baton Rouge, La......


Community gathers to remember war hero

Published Tuesday, December 8, 2009

NATCHEZ — No one came to St. Mary Basilica to say goodbye to local war hero Col. John Joseph “Jack” Pitchford Monday.

They came to say “Godspeed Jack.” .....

Natchez knew a great hero

Published Friday, December 4, 2009

Every community has its heroes, but not every hero is the same. Natchez just lost one of its heroes and one of America’s heroes, too.

The seven years Col. Jack Pitchford spent in a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp were years none of us can even imagine. .....