DRISCOLL, JERRY DONALD
Name: Jerry Donald Driscoll
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit: 469th Tactical Fighter Squadron
Date of Birth: 21 February 1940
Home City of Record: Chicago IL
Date of Loss: 24 April 1966
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 212900N 1460700E (XJ156758)
Status (in 1973: Released POW
Other Personnel In Incident: William E. Cooper (missing) in same flight
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 1990 from one or more
of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources,
correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated
by the P.O.W. NETWORK 1998.
REMARKS: 730212 RELSD BY DRV
SYNOPSIS: On April 24, 1966, a multi-plane strike force departed Korat
Airbase, Thailand on a strike mission on a highway-railroad bridge north of
Hanoi. The target was a vital link, bearing traffic coming down from China.
The Squadron Commander (and commander of the mission), LtCol. William E.
Cooper was in one flight of four F105s. In another of the flights was 1Lt.
Jerry D. Driscoll.
As the first flight approached the target, Cooper's F105D was hit by a
surface-to-air missile (SAM). The plane subsequently broke in half, and the
front section, with canopy intact, was observed as it fell into a flat spin.
Witnessed did not see Cooper eject and and believed the he went down with
the aircraft, but there was doubt enough that the Air Force determined him
Missing in Action rather than killed.
Just afterwards, 1Lt. Jerry D. Driscoll (code-name Pecan 4) was inbound to
the target, about ten miles north, going approximately 550 knots (about 600
miles per hour) when his aircraft was struck in the tail by anti-aircraft
fire, causing it to catch fire. Flames were blowing out the back twice as
long as the aircraft. Others in the flight radioed to Driscoll that he was
on fire, and he immediately prepared to eject as the aircraft commenced a
roll. Driscoll punched out at about 1000 feet, with the aircraft nearly
inverted, and as a result, his parachute barely opened before he was on the
ground. He had removed his parachute and was starting to take off his heavy
flight suit when he was surrounded by about twenty North Vietnamese and
Driscoll was moved immediately to the "Heartbreak Hotel" in Hanoi where his
interrogation (and torture) began. Driscoll was a POW for the next seven
years, and was released in Operation Homecoming on February 12, 1973.
Just before his release, one returning POW was told by his interrogators
that LtCol. Cooper had died in the crash of the aircraft. At least one
intelligence report, however, indicates that Cooper was captured alive. The
U.S. believes the Vietnamese could account for Cooper and his name has been
included on lists brought before the Vietnamese in recent years as one of
scores of "discrepancy cases" it is felt can be resolved.
When the Peace Accords were signed ending American involvement in Vietnam,
591 American prisoners were released. Experts at the time expressed dismay
that "some hundreds" expected to be released were not, yet only perfunctory
efforts to secure the release of the others were made. In our haste to leave
Indochina, we abandoned some of our best men.
Shockingly, many authorities now believe, based on over 10,000 reports
relating to these missing Americans, that there are still hundreds alive in
captivity. Whether Cooper could be among them is unknown, but what seems
certain is that if even one is still alive, we have a moral obligation to
bring him home.
William E. Cooper was awarded the Air Force Cross, Distinguished Flying
Cross with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with 7 oak leaf clusters and the
Purple Heart. He was promoted to the rank of Colonel during the period he
was maintained Missing in Action. He is married and has five children.
Jerry D. Driscoll graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1963, and was
promoted to the rank of Captain during his captivity.
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
JERRY D. DRISCOLL
Captain - United States Air Force
Shot Down: April 24, 1966
Released: February 12, 1973
My military service started when I entered the United States Air Force Academy
in June 1959, graduating on June 5, 1963. In October 1965 I volunteered to go
to Southeast Asia. On April 24, 1966, on my 11 2th combat mission, my F-105
jet fighter bomber was shot down. When I was on the ground my helmet was
ripped off and I had cuts all over. Twenty people surrounded me, some with
guns and some with bamboo sticks. You know, a sharpened bamboo stock will kill
you as fast as a gun. I had a sprained ankle and a twisted knee. I never once
saw a doctor, but the body has great recuperative powers when given a chance.
On July 6, 1966 I was the head of the second group of the infamous "street
march". It got out of hand. They were a raging mob, throwing sticks at us. I
was punched and kicked; it got so bad it was even a matter of survival for our
There are still circular scars on my wrists which will serve as a life-long
reminder of the torture endured in the ancient French walled prison in the
center of Hanoi. This was the one dubbed the Hanoi Hilton.
I had learned at the Air Force Academy never to make a harmful statement about
your country, but I was also told "Don't let them do any permanent damage to
you." When I kept telling my captors I would never sign their statements, they
forced me to sit on a pile of bricks for 24 and 48 hour periods, hands
handcuffed behind my back and then hoisted up to the shoulder blades. They
would then twist the handcuff chains as tight as they could. Then they would
make me lie on my stomach while they pounded the handcuffs tighter with their
feet. If you brought your hands down at all, the handcuffs would cut deep into
Once I sat like that for 90 hours, with no sleep. I passed out. I still would
not sign, so they used ropes to bring the elbows together behind my back and
cut off the circulation. I lasted six days like that, with the cuffs and
ropes. That's when I thought I would go crazy-I signed an apology for dropping
bombs over their land.
I kept in shape with push-ups and lifting weights made by rolling a bunch of
our bed mats (made of elephant grass) together. We were given three cigarets a
day, and later, six. That was the only warmth in the place. There was no heat
even in the winter. It got very cold.
When one is placed in the situation we experienced in North Vietnam, there
comes the great, painful realization that what we all take so much for granted
is no longer available. In such a situation you can't help but appreciate what
we have in this great country of ours. That appreciation became even greater
when, after seven years of living under Communism, I returned to find a very
grateful nation welcoming us as we stepped off the airplane.
There is but one word which best describes the United States of
Jerry Driscoll retired from the United States Air Force as a Colonel. He and
his wife Sharon reside in Minnesota.
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