Flags Of Our Fathers

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate September 2001

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Bouncing Back is the story of how a brave and heroic group of POW's survived Vietnam. It allows you to take a good look at what these men had to go through day after day for years, never knowing if they were still married, or even if they would live to make it back home.

One morning in the summer of 1967, Al Stafford a navy pilot awoke and went about doing things just like any other day. On this day he was assigned to the Replacement Air Group (RAG) at Lemorre, flying A-4's and the target of this day's alpha strike was a bridge a few miles south of Haiphong. Stafford was not assigned to any of the planes flying this strike, instead he was on stand-by. While Stafford watched the strike, one of the A-4's in front of him moved tentatively toward the catapults and then stopped. The canopy of the ship came back and Stafford saw the pilot was John Roosen.

They were friends, and had flown together in another squadron a few years earlier. Whatever the A-4's problem was, Stafford knew it was genuine. Roosen wouldn't fake it to get out of a mission. Roosen looked at Stafford, shook his head, and gave him the gesture to go ahead. Stafford nodded to show he understood. It would be twenty years before they would see each other again. It was a good launch, and the little A-4 struggled a bit from it's heavy load. Everything seemed to be going smoothly , but suddenly his SAM warning device began to beep. This meant a missile had been launched, the cockpit was full of radio transmittance and in the midst of all this, Stafford made his decision to stay with the attack.

There were two missiles launched at Stafford,