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Biographical Information of
Col. Richard A. Dutton:
The Recounting of Being a P.O.W.

Dick as a POW
Photograph taken by a Japanese news photographer shortly after Richard's capture as a POW in November 1967.

Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.

Remarks: 730314 RELEASED BY DRV
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 spelling errors).  UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO

Colonel - United States Air Force
Shot Down: November 5, 1967
Released: March 14, 1973


Born in Chicago on April 24, 1930
Son of Colonel and Mrs. Ralph A. Dutton, USA, Retired
Graduated from Georgia Tech
Received direct commission as Second Lieutenant through Air Force ROTC
Ordered to Korea January 1953
Ordered to Southeast Asia October 1967
Family-Wife-Jean, Children-Diana 12, Son Russell 10


Colonel Dick Dutton trained in the super secret "Wild Weasel" program. The F-105 is a jet literally bulging with sensitive electronic gadgets. In November 1967, 90 miles north of Bangkok, Captain Glen Cabeil and Major Dick Dutton briefed for their mission. They were to be the spare aircraft in the event a plane would have to abort. There would be four aircraft that would precede the fighter-bombers. The Wild Weasel aircraft's job was to seek out the guided missile sites, knock them out before they could launch the "flying telephone poles" (name given to enemy missiles). The F-4 Phantoms provided MIG cover for the Weasels and the strike aircraft. Richard described his ordeal as follows:

"As I made a wide sweeping turn, after releasing one of my bombs, the missile radar started working on me. A 37mm hit my tail and I was on fire. I was seven minutes from the Red River. We tried to nurse the stricken plane, but the time came when we knew we had to eject. I figured if I could hide until dark perhaps I could get across the Red River-that being friendly territory.

However, I landed right in the middle of a populated area. Quickly the peasants disrobed me with no thought of unfastening buttons or zippers. They even cut my boots. With elbows tied behind my back, a loose blindfold over my eyes and a noose over my head, I was led barefooted down a rocky path.

The civilians hit me with bamboo poles, rocks, dirt clods and fists. I had a gaping wound and one peasant woman stuffed it with a piece of cotton that had a mercurochrome like antiseptic on it. Loaded into a small truck, we bounced along and finally arrived at an empty church.

Shortly thereafter Communist soldiers put unconscious Glen Cabeil in one truck and me in another. Then we were taken to a Russian built helicopter and placed in the cargo section. My ankles were tied to a floor hook. As we flew along my blindfold was pulled up around my forehead and I saw an Oriental sitting on a packing crate holding a raised jack handle. I thought he was going to smash my brains in. He shoved my head around to look at Glen. There was no wound on him.

We finally arrived at the Hanoi Hilton. Glen was alive. I never saw him again but I heard him. We were tortured continuously and on the fifth day I heard Glen scream my name and then I heard the sounds of them beating and clubbing him. He did not come home alive. [Ed. Capt. Cobeil died in captivity on 5 Nov 1970 and his remains were returned in April 1974.]

They beat, they shackled, they even played a game of forcing me to sit on a stool in the middle of a room and the guards would take turns knocking me off with blows to the head. The object was to see how far they could knock me. I think the record was ten feet! Today I have a loss of hearing in one ear due to those blows on the head.

I existed from second to second, minute to minute, hour to hour. I would detach my mind from my body. I could take it and suspend a set of eyes above me and watch the show. I convinced myself it wasn't me being tortured. In fact, I wondered what they were going to do next to the poor soul. The torture went on seven nights and seven days. It was too much, I had to give in.

However, we learned to bounce back and pass each hour in the hope it would soon be time to go home. Now I am home and my biggest job is to become a father instead of 'that man Mama's been telling us about.'"

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