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Once Enemies of War, Now Friends

By: Tamara Evans Email
By: Tamara Evans Email

A Brigadier General in the Air Force and the Vietnamese pilot he shot down three decades ago now have a friendship. They're touring the country, letting people know about it.

It's a day retired Brigadier General Dan Cherry of Bowling Green, Kentucky has been hoping would happen.

Friday in Frankfort he had the opportunity to show the Vietnam War memorial to the man who was once his enemy, former lieutenant Nguyen Hong My.

"When I see all these names on these stones, my first impression is making me remember about the war," says Hong My.

On April 16, 1972 during a life or death fight in the air, General Cherry shot down the plane Hong My was flying over North Vietnam.

"My missile impacted his airplane and blew the wing off of it and there was a lot of fire and smoke and piece flew off and everything," says General Dan Cherry.

"I had to jump from the plane by parachute," says Hong My.

For years General Cherry wondered what happened to Hong My. They were finally reunited on a Vietnamese television show last year and became friends.

"Fortunately was able to track him down and now we're friends," says General Cherry.

General Cherry visited Hong My where he was given a glimpse of their Vietnam War memorial.

"He said to me, 'do you have a friend in here' and I said yes I do. I have friends in here," says General Cherry about the memorial in Vietnam.

Friday in Frankfort, Hong My saw the other side. He was able to see the memorial in Frankfort and the names of the people he fought against in the Vietnam War that lost their lives.

"It makes me hurt. It's very painful," says Hong My.

It's a memory these two men will never forget as they are now flying together for the first time.

"He's a darn good pilot," says General Cherry.

They are once enemies of war who are now friends. They're now passing on the names and history of this memorial to Hong My and his son that they will now take home.

"I hope that our friendship will last forever and I will have more new American friends here," says Hong My.

The two men will continue to tour the U.S. during the next few weeks before Hong My returns home. One of the trips they will make will be to Washington D.C. where they will speak at the Smithsonian about Dan Cherry's book My Enemy...My Friend, which tells their story.


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