Fred Vann Cherry was born March 24, 1928, the childof poor Virginia dirt farmers. Cherry had all the disadvantages of a black child growing up in the Jim Crow-era, but he stuck to his studies. As a boy, Cherry attended racially segregated public schools in Suffolk Virginia, later attending the historically all-black Virginia Union University, and the United States Air Force Aviation Cadet Training Program.
An Air Force fighter pilot, Cherry flew 52 combat missions over North Korea, before going on to serve during the Cold War period, and the American war in Vietnam.
Fred Vann Cherry, Sr.
On October 22, 1965, then-Major Cherry’s F-105 Thunderchief fighter-bomber was hit by anti-aircraft fire, fifteen miles north of Hanoi. “The plane exploded and I ejected at about 400 feet at over 600 miles an hour.In the process of ejection, I broke my left ankle, my left wrist, and crushed…
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