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Bernard Francis Fisher
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Bernard Francis “Bernie” Fisher (pronounced Bernerd) (born January 11, 1927) is a retired United States Air Force officer and a recipient of the U.S. military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor. He was the first living Air Force recipient of the medal (all previous awards to USAF personnel had been posthumous), and the first USAF member to receive the medal in the Vietnam War.

Born in 1927 in San Bernardino, California, Fisher was raised and educated in Utah, calling Clearfield home. He served briefly in the Navy at the end of World War II, enrolled at Boise State Junior College in 1947, and transferred to the University of Utah inSalt Lake City in 1949. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[1]
From 1947 to 1950, Fisher was a member of the Air National Guard. Before he was able to complete his undergraduate degree at the University of Utah, he was commissioned into the Air Force in 1951. After pilot training, he served as a jet fighter pilot in theAir Defense Command until 1965, when he volunteered for duty in Vietnam. From July 1965 through June 1966, he flew 200 combat sorties in the A-1E/H “Spad” Skyraider as a member of the 1st Air Commando Squadron located at Pleiku Air Base, South Vietnam.

Medal of Honor

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The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor


On March 10, 1966, he led a two-ship element of Skyraiders to the A Shau Valley to support troops in contact with the enemy. Six “Spads” were striking numerous emplacements when the A-1 piloted by Major D. W. “Jump” Myers was hit and forced to crash-land on the airstrip of a CIDGSpecial Forces camp. Myers bellied in on the 2,500-foot runway and took cover behind an embankment on the edge of the strip while Fisher directed the rescue effort. Since the closest helicopter was 30 minutes away and the enemy was only 200 yards (180 m) from Myers, Fisher quickly decided to land his two-seat A-1E on the strip and pick up his friend. Under the cover provided by the other A-1s, he landed in the valley, taxied to Myer’s position, and loaded the downed airman into the empty seat. Dodging shell holes and debris on the steel-planked runway, Fisher took off safely despite many hits on his aircraft by small-arms fire.

The rescue at A Shau was similar to an event that occurred on August 4, 1944 during World War II.[2] On that date, Captain Richard “Dick” Willsie’s P-38 was damaged by flak near PloieştiRomania. After both engines failed, Willsie crash-landed but was rescued from capture when Flight Officer Dick Andrews landed his P-38 on the field, squeezed Willsie into the cockpit, and flew back to base. By remarkable coincidence, both Willsie and Andrews were also involved in the A Shau rescue.[2] Willsie was the commanding officer of the 602nd Air Commando Squadron to which Myers was assigned, and Andrews flew top cover during the entire rescue.[2]
Fisher had earned a Silver Star the day before while flying support for the same battle.[3]
Fisher returned to the United States, and, on January 19, 1967, was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Fisher returned to the Air Defense Command and jet interceptors until he retired to his hometown of Kuna, Idaho, where he lived with his wife Realla until her death on April 27, 2008.