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Colonel Bernard L. Talley, Jr.

Former Mount Graduate and POW

Bernard L. Talley Jr. was born on February 23, 1939, in Baltimore to parents Emma Louise Sheely and Bernard Leo Talley, Sr., and was the youngest of his parents’ three children.

Talley was a graduate of Loyola High School, Towson, and was graduated in the Mount Saint Mary’s University Class of 1962 with a bachelor’s degree in economics before entering U.S. Air Force Officer Training School on June 27, 1962.

Talley was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, according to, on September 25, 1962, and served as a supply officer at McCoy Air Force Base, Florida, until entering Undergraduate Pilot Training in April 1964. also reported that he was awarded his pilot wings at Laredo Air Force Base, Texas, in May 1965, and then flew F-4 Phantom II fighters with the 25th Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS) at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. In April 1966, at the age of 26, Talley volunteered to serve in Vietnam as an F-4C Phantom II pilot.

Talley flew 76 combat missions with the 433rd Tactical Fighter Squadron out of the Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand, before being forced to eject over North Vietnam on September 10, 1966, according to The Dallas Morning News reported, in his 2022 obituary, that his plane was struck by a missile, and further noted that Talley’s Flight Commander, Douglas “Pete” Peterson, who was also in the plane, was also forced to eject. reported that Tally’s target for the mission in which his plane was shot down was a bridge and ferry complex near Hanoi, and, as they were departing the strike zone, the Phantom was hit by a surface-to-air missile (SAM). “Fortunately,” according to, “It was not a direct hit, thus neither the pilot nor Talley were injured by the missile’s blast. The aircraft, however, was severely damaged. Both engines were rendered inoperative, and the entire aft portion of the aircraft was on fire.”

Apparently, Talley and Peterson knew they could not make it to a safe area where they stood a chance of being rescued and decided to eject.

The Dallas Morning News reported that Talley had managed to evade capture for one day before being taken prisoner on September 11, further noting that he was the 125th American airman captured.

Talley subsequently spent the next six-and-a-half years in captivity. The Dallas Morning News stated, “Talley’s parents would not know he was KIA (Killed Action)/MIA (Missing in Action) or a Prisoner of War for three years and one day.” He was released along with Douglas “Pete” Peterson during Operation Homecoming on March 4, 1973. Talley subsequently retired from the Air Force as a Colonel.

For bravery demonstrated in Vietnam during a bombing raid in Vietnam on September 3, 1966, seven days before his plane was shot down, Talley was awarded the Silver Star. The citation is quoted here in full (

The President of the United States of America… takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to First Lieutenant Bernard Leo Talley, Jr., United States Air Force, for gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force while serving as a Pilot of the 433d Tactical Fighter Squadron, Ubon Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, in action over North Vietnam on 3 September 1966. On that date, Lieutenant Talley conducted a night strike on a vital supply and storage area of the hostile force in a highly defended area. With complete disregard for his own safety, Lieutenant Talley continued the attack in the face of intense defenses to deliver ordnance on the target, completely destroying it. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Lieutenant Talley has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.


A Son Becomes a Veteran


A Father Becomes A Son

by Jim Houck, Jr.

Richard Lee Fleagle (Rick) was born to Dick and Joyce Fleagle on March 3, 1960. Rick graduated from Catoctin High School in 1978. He liked to have fun and was considered a little on the wild side, while in school and out. In 1980, he enlisted in the U.S. military.

Rick went to Lackland Air Force Base for training. He had to sign up for at least 6 years in order to be trained in E.O.D. (explosive ordinance disposal) and that was what he did. Rick was sent to Charleston, South Carolina for six years and then to England for four years. He was almost assigned to “Desert Storm” but he had signed up to be an instructor and once he had done that, they didn’t want to reassign him to a hot zone because instructors are hard to get, a lot is invested in them.

Rick had aced every test that was given him. One day his C.O. told him to get his gear together because he was going to be shipped out to Operation Desert Storm. So, he went home and prepared to leave. In the meantime, a man that was on vacation who was originally supposed to go to Desert Storm returned and was sent instead of Rick. Rick got to stay put when he returned from home. When his tour in England ended, Rick was sent back to the U.S. to Indian Head, Maryland. There he stayed for nine years. He instructed E.O.D. and he loved it. Rick was sent to Kendall Air Force Base in Panama, Florida for his last two years of service because the Indian Head Base was closed down. He really liked it at Kendall when he got there. Rick did have to go to Granada when they went in to rescue the kids there. He said it was the first time and, he hoped, the last time that he was being shot at. It was the only time in his entire military career he was ever shot at.

Rick retired after twenty two years in the Air Force and went to work at a car dealership making brake shoes. It was a job he didn’t like because of working in asbestos. He was happy when he got a call from Huntsville, Alabama asking him if he would be interested in a job as instructor in E.O.D. He said he would, but wondered if they wanted to interview him. They said that normally they would, but they talked with his formal superiors who held him in very high regards. If he would like the job, he was to just show up.

Rick showed up and they put him on the books. He bought a 16 acre piece of land up there and moved his family to Alabama. Rick just loved the job and the area, but the military soon closed that base down also. He had a choice of getting out the contract or taking a job in Florida, so he moved back to Florida. Rick didn’t sell his home in Alabama when he went to the job in Florida. He bought a three bedroom trailer down there and hoped he would eventually get another job and move back to to his home in Alabama. He was working at Eglin Air Force Base in the panhandle of Florida close to Pensacola. Rick stayed at that location for three or four years and when the job ended he went back to Huntsville. His wife told him she thought he had served enough time with the military and suggested he stay at home while she worked because she had a good job. She had just gone full time, so with the salary she made and his pension, they could live comfortably. She suggested he take a break and he did. He has been ever since. Rick does take on some odd jobs now and then just for something to do.

I would now like to tell you a little bit about Rick’s father, a man that is very proud of his son.

VETERANS-column---Dick-FleaRichard W. Fleagle (Dick) was five days old when Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese, and Dick jokingly says he saw the planes go over but he couldn’t talk yet to warn anyone. On December 2, 1941 George Albert and Amelia Fleagle had a bouncing baby boy at their home and they named him Richard Warren. Dick’s parents raised him in Thurmont and sent him and his two sisters, Shirley and Georgette, to the Thurmont school system where he played sports, participated in a lot of school plays, and sang in the school glee club. He remembers one play when he played a monkey and dressed in a monkey suit. He would sit on people’s laps and jump around and he could be silly because no one knew who he was. Dick said he started getting interested in girls when he was a junior in high school and chased a variety of them. He took one of them to the prom and stayed out all night with her. He said he won a door prize at the prom and when he opened the  package it was a large bottle of hair tonic. Dick thought it was to slick his hair down, but when he used it, his hair fell out and he was bald by age twenty-two. So, now we know the rest of that story.

Dick graduated from Thurmont High School in 1959 and he also got married in 1959 to Miss Joyce Humerick. They just celebrated being married for fifty-five years. Dick was working for Biser’s Painting at the time and Joyce was pregnant. When she told Dick it was time to go to hospital, he called his boss and told him he might not be to work in the morning. His boss said they were calling for snow that night and to be careful. They got to the hospital and around ten o’clock, looked out the window around eleven o’clock and there were about four inches of snow on the ground, and it was still coming down. The nurses told Dick they couldn’t believe he was so calm because Joyce was in there getting ready to have a baby. He told them he knew that and he was just tickled to death. The nurse asked if he was nervous or anything, and Dick asked her if he needed to be nervous. When  she said no, not really, Dick said well then leave me alone then.

Finally, at two twenty two in the morning, baby Richard L. arrived. The nurse said Joyce would be out of it for the rest of the night and the baby was fine and everything was fine so he had better try to make it home. Dick made it home and the next morning he went to work in about eight inches of snow. Back then, if you could make it to work, you went to work. When Dick got to the paint shop, his boss asked him how everything went and he told his boss it went well and he explained everything to him. His boss said they needed to go to Frederick to make sure the paint crew got home before the blizzard became any worse.

They had problems going to Frederick because the main road was closed, so they tried to take the back road and had to be towed out of a ditch by a farmer. When they got to Frederick, they had to spend the night at his boss’s Aunt’s house. Dick ended up being stranded in Frederick while Joyce was at the Gettysburg Hospital with Rick.

Dick called Joyce and explained to her what happened and she was understanding. Dick was able to get to Gettysburg the next day.

Their daughter Susie came along in January 1962 with less excitement. Dick and Joyce have six grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren, and they just love them to pieces. Dick was with Bisers Painting full-time for three years and then went to work at Thurmont Shoe Factory full-time and Bisers part-time for three years. Dick went to work for Lehiegh Corp. in Woodsboro when he left Thurmont Shoe Co. and stayed for forty-three years until he retired.

Dick spent a lot of time traveling  to visit with his son. He and Joyce went to visit him while he was in England and numerous times while he was stationed at various bases, especially while he was in Alabama and Florida. Dick is just bursting with pride for his son, Rick, and because of Rick, he is able to be a member at various veteran organizations. Dick loves belonging to, and helping in all aspects of the Sons of AMVETS. He is especially proud that he was asked to belong to AMVETS Post 7 Honor Guard. Dick is Chaplain for the Department of Maryland Sons of AMVETS, 1st Vice Commander of Sons of AMVETS Squadron 7 Thurmont, Chaplain for Sons of the American Legion Squadron 121 Emmitsburg, and Men’s Auxiliary VFW Post 6658 Emmitsburg.

God Bless the United States of America, God Bless Our Veterans, and God Bless You.