Richard E. Bolstad
Dick Bolstad was born on July 7, 1929, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve on December 14, 1948, and went on active duty beginning August 19, 1950. Cpl Bolstad served in combat in Korea with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment of the 1st Marine Division from September 1950 until he returned to the United States in April 1951, and then served at MCS Quantico, Virginia, until leaving active duty on March 31, 1952.
He received an honorable discharge from the Marine Corps on April 1, 1953, and then enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on July 14, 1953. After serving in aircraft maintenance, A2C Bolstad entered the Aviation Cadet Program on June 20, 1955, and was commissioned a 2d Lt in the U.S. Air Force and awarded his pilot wings on September 28, 1956.
After completing F-86A Sabre training at Williams AFB, Arizona, and F-100A Super Sabre training at Nellis AFB, Nevada, Lt Bolstad served as an F-100C pilot with the 32nd Fighter-Day Squadron at Soesterberg AB in the Netherlands from June 1957 to June 1961, followed by service as an F-100 pilot with the 355th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Myrtle Beach AFB, South Carolina, from June 1961 to September 1964.
Capt Bolstad then completed A-1 Skyraider training, and then served as an A-1 pilot with the 602nd Fighter Squadron at Bien Hoa AB, South Vietnam, from March 1965 until he was forced to bail out over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on November 6, 1965. After spending 2,656 days in captivity, Maj Bolstad was released during Operation Homecoming on February 12, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries at Scott AFB, Illinois, and then attended Air War College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, from August 1973 to July 1974.
His final assignment was as a Weapons Officer, F-4 Phantom II Squadron Commander, and finally as Deputy Base Commander at Luke AFB, Arizona, from July 1974 until his retirement from the Air Force on April 1, 1979.
Dick Bolstad Headed West on February 21, 2014, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
(source Veteran Tributes: Https://www.veterantributes.org/TributeDetail.php?recordID=1295)
Lieutenant Colonel Richard Eugene Bolstad, a U.S. Air Force pilot, passed away on February 21, 2014 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Richard was born on July 7, 1929 and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Richard entered the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve in December 1948 and was called to active duty in August 1950 for the Korean War. He was assigned to the 1st Marine Division making the landing at Inchon, Korea. In Korea he fought all the way up to the border in China and was then pushed back by the entrance of half a million Chinese soldiers. The retreat south was bitter and savage. He received the Purple Heart.
After being released from active duty, he worked until he was accepted in the USAF Aviation Cadet Program in June 1955. He received his wings and commission in September 1956 after which he spent four years flying the F-4 Phantom Jet (F-100/C) at a base in Holland. There are two pilots in an F-4, seated front to back. During a practice flight, the aircraft malfunctioned, Dick’s ejection seat worked, sadly his partner’s did not. He was then transferred to Myrtle Beach AFB, South Carolina where he again flew the F-100.
In August 1964 he volunteered for duty in Vietnam. As the U.S. slipped deeper into the Vietnam crisis, he shifted to flying an A-l Sky Raider (A-1 E), which is a propeller driven late World War ll vintage Navy developed aircraft designed to fly low and fast, in addition to being very heavily armed. He arrived at BienHoa, South Vietnam on March 31, 1965. There he trained South Vietnamese pilots to fly the A-1 E aircraft. This was 40 percent of his mission. The rest of the time he flew close air support missions in support of ground forces, a job he loved.
October 1965 found him home on leave in Minneapolis where he became engaged to his wife, Helen “Sissy”— who he met and dated in Myrtle Beach for a year before leaving there.
Upon return from leave he was flying rescue support missions in North Vietnam when he was shot down on November 6, 1965 in an A-1E. He was captured, tortured and put in a prison, along with several others. The Vietnamese gave no acknowledgement as to whether he and the other captured pilots were dead or alive. They eventually were moved to what was called the “Hanoi Hilton.”
On February 12, 1973, seven years after their capture, all of them, including John McCain, were released and returned to Clark AB in the Philippines. The POWs then returned home to a grateful nation, still divided by Vietnam.
Dick was awarded the Silver Star by the President of the United States and Congress. Other honors include Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross and Prisoner of War.
Dick’s fiancé and sweetheart “Sissy” had waited those seven difficult years for him, not knowing anything. After returning to Myrtle Beach, SC they were married on March 17, 1973.
He is survived by his wife, daughter, two brothers, a sister and one very proud cousin, Edward C. Bolstad (US55411956).
Burial will be at Arlington National Cemetery with full honors.
- 12/ 1948 enlisted in Marine Corps
- 8/1950-4/1951 Fox Company/2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment/1st Marine Division,
- 4/1951-3/1953 MCS Quantico, VA
- 3/1952 Left Active Duty
- 4/1/1953 Honorable Discharge from Marie Corps
- 7/1953-6/1955 Enlisted in USAF (Aircraft Maintenance)
- 6/1955 Entered Aviation Cadet Program
- 9/1956 Received commission and pilot wings
- 9/1956 Pilot training, Williams AFB, AZ/Nellis AFB, NV (F-86A, F-100A)
- 6/1957-6/1961 32nd Fighter Day Squadron, Soesterberg AB, Netherlands (F-100C)
- 6/1961-9/1964 355th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Myrtle Beach AFB, SC (F-100)
- 3/1965-11/6/1965 602nd Fighter Squadron, Bien Hoa, Vietnam (A1-Skyraider)
- 11/6/1965 Shot Down spent 2,656 days in captivity
- 2/12/1973 Released during Operation Homecoming (recuperated at Scott AFB, IL)
- 8/1973-7/1974 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, AL
- 7/1974-4/1979 Weapons Officer, F-4 Phantom II Squadron Commander, Deputy Base Commander, Luke AFB, AZ (F-4)
- 4/1/1979 Retired USAF
Awards & Decorations
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross -2 with Valor Device and Oak Leaf Cluster)
Bronze Star with Valor device and Oak Leaf Cluster
Purple Heart with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
Air Medal with Silver and Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Navy Combat Action Ribbon
Presidential Unit Citation with Oak Leaf Cluster
Navy Presidential Unit Citation with Bronze Star
Outstanding Unit Award with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
Prisoner of War Medal
Combat Readiness Medal
Army Good Conduct Medal
Marine Reserve Good Conduct Medal
National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star
Korean Service Medal with 3 Bronze Stars
Armed Forces Expeditionary Service Award
Vietnam Service Medal with 3 Silver and 1 Bronze Star
Air Force Longevity Award with Silver and Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Small Arms Marksmanship Award with Bronze Star
Korean Presidential Unit Citation
Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
United Nations Korea Medal
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Korean War Service Medal
Military & Civilian Education
- 1973-1974 Air War College
RICHARD EUGENE BOLSTAD
Lieutenant Colonel -USAF, pilot
Shot Down: November 6, 1965
Released: February 12, 1973
I entered the military in the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve December 1948 and was called to active duty in August 1950 for the Korean War. I was assigned to the 1st Marine Division making the landing at Inchon, Korea. In Korea, I received the Purple Heart.
After being released from active duty, I worked until I was accepted in the USAF Aviation Cadet program in June 1955. I received my wings and commission in September 1956. I spent four years flying the F-100C at a base in Holland. Then I was transferred to Myrtle Beach AFB, South Carolina where I again flew the F-100.
In August 1964 I volunteered for duty in Vietnam flying an A-lE which is a propeller-driven late World War ll vintage Navy developed aircraft. I arrived at Bien Hoa, South Vietnam on 31 March 1965. There I trained South Vietnamese pilots to fly the A-1 E aircraft. This was 40% of my mission. The rest of the time I flew close air support missions in support of ground forces – a job which I loved.
October 1965 found me home on leave in Minneapolis where I became engaged to my wife, Helen — her nickname is “Sissy”–who I met and dated at Myrtle Beach for a year before I left there.
Upon return from leave, I flew rescue support missions in North Vietnam when I was shot down on 6 November 1965 in an A-1E. I was released on 12 February 1973 and returned to Clark AB in the Philippines.
I feel extremely fortunate that during these seven years, plus, that Sissy waited for me to return. She somehow had the faith and courage and a deeply rooted love that can never be explained in words. Her seven years were much more difficult than mine. We were married on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17, 1973) in a Catholic Church at Ocean Drive Beach, South Carolina. We spent a wonderful honeymoon at Maui, Hawaii and are now enjoying life to its fullest.
The doctors at Scott AFB, Illinois gave me a clean bill of health and I have been assigned to attend Air War College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, commencing this August. With twenty-four years of service, I intend to stay in the Air Force and while at AWC I will pursue a strong desire to complete my education and obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Business. I will remain in the service of my country as long as they feel I am of some use.
Richard Bolstad retired from the United States Air Force as a Colonel. He and Sissy resided in Virginia until his death in 2014.
(source: POWNetwork Https://www.pownetwork.org/bios/b/b091.htm)