Former Vietnam POW shares story in LPD

| September 23, 2016 | 0 Comments
WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii Ñ Col. William Reeder Jr., U.S. Army Col. Ret. visits the  25th Combat Aviation Brigade Apache Simulator to see how the airframe has progressed since his retirement on Sept. 14. The visit was conducted in conjunction with a Leader Professional Development session at which W. Reeder was the guest speaker.

Retired Col. William Reeder Jr. visits the 25th CAB Apache simulator, Sept. 14,  to see how the airframe has progressed since his retirement. The visit was conducted in conjunction with a Leader Professional Development session at which Reeder was the guest speaker.

 

Sgt. Daniel K. Johnson
25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs
25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — “I lost the tail rotor, rounds went through the engine, the engine was knocked out, rounds to the fuel cell, the helicopter was on fire. … We were coming down spinning and burning out of the sky. … We hit nose low on the left side of the aircraft.”

This is how former prisoner of war, retired Col. William Reeder Jr., author of Through the Valley: My Captivity in Vietnam, described the crash that ultimately lead to his capture in South Vietnam.

Reeder joined leaders from across the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade for a Leader’s Professional Development session at the Nehelani Banquet and Conference Center, here, Sept. 14, to discuss some of the lessons he learned in Vietnam and throughout his career as a whole.

“This was something I’ve wanted to do ever since I got back, and it’s gone through several iterations,” said Reeder. “I was reluctant to write a book about what happened to me, but I felt there was an important story to be told about prisoners captured in the south.”

It was a story that really needed to be told, said Melanie Reeder, herself a retired colonel and the wife of William Reeder.

“He was shot down and captured in the south. And that is not the story of many of the POWs that were captured,” Melanie Reeder said. “He was a prisoner of war for just under a year.”

Retired  Col. Melanie Reeder speaks with young female leaders from the 25th CAB about her experiences as a leader and the difficulties presented in the past of being a female leader in the Army, Sept. 14. The visit was conducted in conjunction with a Leader Professional Development session at which Retired Col. William Reeder Jr., Uwas the guest speaker. (Photo by Sgt. Daniel K. Johnson, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs)

Retired Col. Melanie Reeder speaks with young female leaders from the 25th CAB about her experiences as a leader and the difficulties presented in the past of being a female leader in the Army, Sept. 14.

The book details his grueling year in captivity, including a forced march up the Ho Chi Minh Trail where he would remain in the Hanoi Hilton until his release.

“When you write a book, you have to relive it in your mind, so it was hard,” Melanie Reeder said. “He would, at times, have a couple sleepless nights because you have to put yourself back in those situations.”

“About five years ago, I set out to write this book. It took me about four years to write it,” said William Reeder. “I was lucky that the Naval Institute Press took an interest and published the book just this past April.”

His experiences have served as a learning tool for Soldiers across the Army and have made huge impacts in the procedures and policies of Army aviation that will last forever. His strength and resilience continue to help Soldiers prepare for the worst.

“There is a story of inspiration, of a commitment to survive, and what the human body and mind can endure,” Melanie Reeder said.

Cutline: WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii Ñ Col. William Reeder Jr., U.S. Army Col. Ret. And Col. Melanie Reeder, U.S. Army Col. Ret., speaks with 25th Combat Aviation pilots about the changes that have occurred in Army Aviation since their retirement on Sept. 14.

The Reeders speak with 25th CAB pilots about the changes that have occurred in Army Aviation since their retirement.

Tags: , , ,

Category: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *