Lure of Military Life Led Flier to His Death (John Pitchford)

It was suppertime when they came to break the news.

There were seven in the delegation, including her husband’s commanding officer, a Catholic priest and a flight surgeon supplied with tranquilizers.

She met them at the door of the two-story house on the Wright Patterson Air Force base in Ohio, where she was living with her children. Mike was 7, Cathy was 5, Tim was 4, Beth was 2. She was 28. The date was Dec. 20, 1965.

One of the men said, “Are you Mrs. Trier?”

She said, “Yes.”

The man said, “You know why I’m here?”

“Yeah,” she replied.

Quickly they told her her husband, Robert Trier, then a 32-year-old captain in the U.S. Air Force, based in Korat, Thailand, with the 17th Bomb Wing, had been shot down over Quang Ninh Province in mountainous terrain 25 miles east of Hanoi. Alive or dead, they didn’t know. The best they could tell was he was missing in action in hostile territory.

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