Theodore Wilson Guy
Colonel, United States Air Force
Ted was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery
on Friday, 18 June 1999 at 1100 hours.
Theodore Wilson Guy, 70, of Sunrise Beach, Missouri, died April 23, 1999, at St. Marys Health Center. He was born April 18, 1929, in Chicago, a son of Theopholus W. and Edwina LaMonte Guy. He was married October 18, 1973, to Linda Bergquist, who survives at the home.
There are many who have worked diligently and with all their hearts and souls to try to bring our POW/MIAs home. But not so many with the inner knowledge and the passion held by Colonel Ted Guy.
You see, he was a POW. In his own words:
"Until 1990, I believed that all the POWs were released during Operation Homecoming in 1973. I maintained this belief until 1990. In fact, I gave many, many talks around the country about the POW issue. My closing remarks were always the same: 'All the POWs are home that are coming home and the rest (MIAs) are dead'.
You see, I firmly believed that my government would
not lie to me. In early 1990, after talking to many family members of POWs
and MIAs, I began having doubts. What followed was a thorough re-examination
of the whole issue. The more I listened instead of talking, the more I read,
then the more the odds swung towards the fact that YES, there were POWs left
behind (abandoned) and YES, there was evidence that some might still be alive.
Since that time I have spoken
In these words, written by Colonel Guy, I found a man of courage, integrity, and spirit, and one I could respect without reservation. One of the things I most admired about him was the fact that he could say that he had been fooled by his own government, and rather than feel bitter about it he turned his revelation into a tool by which he could work to do something about it. And work he did!
Please read these words, written of him by his dear friend, Colonel "Swede" Larson:
"It is with deep regret, that I inform you of the death of Col. Ted Guy. He passed away today, 23 April 1999, from complications associated with Leukemia. He only lived 6 months from the time of his first symptoms. He is survived by his wife Linda, two step daughters, four son's, and a brother.
Since most of you did not know Ted, and a few misunderstood him, I am going to ask your indulgence, and tell you a little about him, since I was his very close friend for 44 years.
We first met at Luke Air Force base in 1955 as young
Captains instructing fighter gunnery. He had previously completed a combat
tour in Korea, flying F-84's. He and I had three things in common. We both
loved to fly, party, and fish. Over the years we stayed in close touch, and
He was assigned to South Vietnam in F-4's while I was in Thailand flying out-country missions, in F-105's. When he showed up in Hanoi, I couldn't fathom how he had gotten there. After we were released, I learned that he was shot down during the battle at Khe Sanh, bailed out and captured in Laos by the North Vietnamese (they were never in Laos! -yah, right!). On the second day of his capture while he was starting his walk to Hanoi, he was heavily sprayed with Agent Orange. In the ensuing days, he walked through many areas that had been previously defoliated.
As he was captured in Laos, he was kept away from the rest of us and spent his first 3 years in solitary confinement. He was then put in with the 100 plus, Army and civilian prisoners and was the Senior Officer. He had his hands full with a group of very young, non-motivated and rebellious enlisted men. Unlike our group, (after the death of HO), he was badly treated by his captors, almost up to our release. He was badly beaten during this time for acting as SRO and on one occasion, suffered severe head injuries, which several years later resulted in his being medically discharged from the service. He had been on the "fast track" prior to shoot down, and had been promoted to Lt. Col. below the zone. To my knowledge, he was the only POW promoted (to 06) below the zone while a POW. Those concussions he suffered forced his early retirement.
He was not an active member of our group, primarily because he did not know or serve with any of us in Hanoi. He also felt that even though our group elected to be non-political, we should have made an exception and taken a prominent stand as a potential powerful lobby group, to demand a full accounting of the MIA's. He was an individual of deep loyalties, and a boundless love of his country and flag. He stood up tall against those he felt were in the wrong.
His medical specialists felt that his Leukemia was a direct result of his repeated heavy exposures to Agent Orange. The Veterans Administration however, in their infinite wisdom felt otherwise, and denied his emergency claim for Agent Orange disabilities. (Hence no DIC for his wife).
He ended up losing a promising military career and suffered an early end to his life, in his service to his country. I shall truly miss him. Thanks for your indulgence."
A Tribute to Former Vietnam War POW Ted Guy
by U.S. Senator Bob Smith
April 29, 1999
In the Senate of the United States
TED GUY, AN AMERICAN HERO
(MR. SMITH of New Hampshire) " Mr. President, I rise today to pay tribute to Retired Colonel Theodore Wilson Guy, United States Air Force, from Missouri. Ted Guy, nicknamed "The Hawk" by those who knew him best, was a genuine American hero. He was best known for having sacrificed his freedom for his country as a U.S. POW during the Vietnam War, but aside from being a hero, he was also a husband, father, brother, and a friend to many, including myself.
Last Friday, April 23, 1999, he passed away only six-months after discovering symptoms associated with Leukemia.
I will always remember Ted Guy for the encouraging faxes and e-mails he used to send to my office, especially during the investigation conducted by the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs which I co-chaired in the early 1990s. I gained strength from the inspiring messages of this true American hero.
Ted felt very strongly that our Government needed to do more to account for his missing comrades from the Vietnam War, and he traveled at his own expense to Washington D.C. to the halls of Congress to make his point.
Ted was right to be concerned about our Government's handling of the POW/MIA issue. And with his support, and the support of his fellow veterans and family members of POWs and MIAs, we've made significant progress in opening the books, declassifying records, and pressing foreign governments for answers over the last decade. However, as Ted continued to maintain up until his last days with us, there is still much work to do with our accounting effort, and I, for one, am committed to seeing this issue through, in part, because of people like Ted.
Let me say to the youth of America, if you want role models to aspire to,they just don't come any better than men like Ted Guy.
Ted joined the Air Force in 1947 and served his country as an Air Force fighter jock for the next 26 years. He served in both the Korean and Vietnam wars, flying the F-84 in the Korean theater of operations, and the F-4 in the Vietnam theater.
On March 22, 1968, while attacking an automatic weapons position near the Vietnamese/Laotian border during the battle of Khe Sanh, Ted's plane was shot down, and he was captured by communist forces.
Ted was subsequently marched up the Ho Chi Minh trail, and then held in several POW camps in the Hanoi area, to include the infamous Hanoi Hilton. He was brutally tortured by the North Vietnamese, to the point where he would pass out from severe beatings. He was also forced to spend nearly four years in solitary confinement.
When he was finally removed from solitary confinement, he was put in a prison with more than a hundred other U.S. military and civilian prisoners. He became the senior officer mong them and was responsible for maintaining order, chain of command, and the code of conduct among his fellow POWs. His leadership and guidance helped his fellow POWs survive their ordeal. Many of them referred to themselves as "Hawk's Heroes" in honor of Ted Guy.
To the code of conduct, Ted added his own personal code that consisted of two points. The first point was to resist until unable to resist any longer before doing anything to embarrass his family or country. The second point was to accept death before losing his honor.
Ted once said "honor is something that once you lose it you become like an insect in the jungle. You prey upon others and others prey upon you until there is nothing left. Once you lose your honor, all the gold in the world is useless in your attempt to regain it."
Mr. President, Ted never, never lost his honor. What an inspiration he was to all Americans.
He leaves behind his wife Linda of 26 years, his four sons and two step daughters. He has touched so many more people, however, with his unselfish and patriotic sacrifices for America and his heartfelt concerns about efforts to account for his missing comrades from the Vietnam War who never made it home. I was proud to call him a friend, and I will miss him.
As with other POWs, Ted used a tap code in Hanoi to communicate through the walls with other POWs. It was an alphabet matrix, five lines across, five lines down. Ted used to end his messages by tapping the code GBU for "God bless you," and CUL for "see you later." Today, I'd like to end my tribute with the same message to Ted, "GBU, CUL."
Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that tributes to Ted Guy from his son, his POW/MIA supporters, and his dear friend and fellow POW, Swede Larson, be entered in the record immediately following my remarks, along with the obituary carried in his local paper.
Thank you, Mr. President".
"Come To Me"
by Joe Casal, (VET66A@aol.com)
Ted Guy was an inspiration to all of us who work to do whatever small things we can, to force our Government to bring our abandoned soldiers home. It was something that he had...something in his soul, that helped us to stay on track. All we needed to do was think of him.
I guess I believed he would always be there. When he died, something larger and more than just a man died with him. Or perhaps, if we continue to look to him for strength, we will find that it is still there. Still well within our reach. That strength of character that he shared so willingly with whoever wished it, is still here...ours for the taking. We need only believe as strongly as he did.
I rather doubt that Col. Guy knew just how many people he really touched, or how much he truly did inspire others. I hope that we can all continue our work. I hope that one day we can make him as proud of us as so many of us are of him!
In November, 1991, in an interview with a Texas Journalist, Colonel Guy said these words:
" The Vietnamese are not stupid. I can attest to that, and they will milk us for everything they can in an effort to placate our curiosity. Bones and information will suddenly appear and will be traded for commerce and recognition.
In my judgment, and I am certain it is shared by many, we must squeeze the Vietnamese into a corner until the living POWs in Laos and elsewhere are freed. There can be no lifting of trade embargoes, no international loans and no normalization until the living POW issue is solved to the satisfaction of the POW/MIA families and the American people ".
To anyone who now, 8 years later, can't see that what Ted said would happen DID happen, there is a problem! These things have been happening regularly for years now. Somehow suddenly remains are found and returned every so often, miraculously! He was right! And he was right about the rest too!
We WILL bring you home!
This Candle will burn on this page, in honor of Colonel Guy and the tireless work that he did, until the day our last POW is brought home and our last MIA is accounted for, or until the day that I die. There WILL come a day when we find a way to accomplish this goal...and when we do, he will smile again!
In honor of an American Hero
Colonel Ted Guy, USAF
1929 - 1999
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