April 27, 2009
Might Dan Cherry have a third career as an ambassador to Vietnam? The retired Air Force Brigadier General met the Vietnamese pilot he shot down in 1972 about a year ago. When Cherry returned home, he set about arranging for Hong My to visit the U.S. The two made presentations at the Sun & Fun fly-in in Florida last week, and will speak to a full house at the General Electric General Aviation Lecture at the National Air and Space Museum tomorrow night.
Hong My had asked Cherry if he could find out the fate of the crew of the RF-4 that My had downed in January 1972, and Cherry learned that Major Bob Mock, pilot, and John Stiles, navigator, both of whom Cherry knew, had survived. The story lacks a fairy-tale ending: Mock was killed in a car crash just two months before Cherry started putting the puzzle pieces together.
Last night, Dan Cherry, Hong My, and John Stiles met in a Vietnamese restaurant in Washington, D.C. for dinner and yet another reconciliation. For Stiles, it was a cathartic event: he is making plans to visit Vietnam.