Roll Call’s March Monthly Veterans Appreciation Luncheon was humbled and honored to have Ret. Col. Thomas “Jerry” Curtis drive up from Temple, TX with his wife and friends to speak to our group of veterans. “On September 20, 1965, 1Lt. Duane W. Martin, co-pilot; then-Capt.Thomas J. Curtis, pilot; SSgt. William A. Robinson, flight engineer; and Airman Arthur N. Black, pararescue; comprised the crew and passengers of an HH43B "Huskie" helicopter operating about 10 miles from the border of Laos in Ha Tinh Province, North Vietnam.”
Curtis recounted this riveting and heartbreaking story of being held captive for nearly eight years in the “Hanoi Hilton” as prisoner of war. In a hall holding hundreds of veterans, family members, and volunteers, one could hear a pin drop while Curtis was recounting his years of captivity, as he described succinctly as “months of boredom, interrupted by moments of sheer terror.”
At the end of program, Col. Curtis agreed to “pin” the Vietnam veterans that were unable to attend our January Luncheon where the Board pinned Vietnam veterans with the DoD official 50th Anniversary Commemorative Lapel pin. USAF Command Chief Rob Safley from 301st Fighter Wing Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base “welcomed home” these veterans and gave them a copy of the Presidential Proclamation to accompany the official lapel pin.
Curtis also graciously stuck around to sign copies of his book “Under the Cover of Light: The Extraordinary Story of USAF Col Thomas "Jerry" Curtis's 71/2 -Year Captivity in North Vietnam.”