Dewey Wayne Waddell – 2016 Georgia Military Veterans’ Hall of Fame Inductee (Valor)
United States Air Force Colonel (Ret.) Dewey Wayne Waddell, from Bremen, Georgia was inducted into the 2016 Class of the Georgia Military Veterans’ Hall of Fame for his heroism and selfless acts of bravery.
On July 5, 1967, on his 47th combat mission in an F-105 Thunderchief jet over North Vietnam, then Major Waddell was on a bombing run of a key enemy railroad yard which was defended by one of the most accurate and heavy concentrations of anti-aircraft artillery in all of North Vietnam. During the attack, his aircraft received several hits from flak, causing it to become un-flyable. Regardless, he tenaciously continued his mission, accurately delivering his ordnance until he was forced to eject.
He was soon captured, and held as a Prisoner of War for five years, eight months, and ten days. While in captivity, he suffered greatly both physically and mentally at the hands of the enemy who disregarded all international agreements on the treatment of prisoners of war. By calling on his deepest inner strengths and unwavering resolve, he was able to endure those many cruel years.
For his exemplary leadership and example to his fellow POWs and his heroic service to our nation in time of war, Colonel Waddell was awarded the Prisoner of War Medal, six Air Medals, the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal for valor, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and our nation’s third highest award for valor, two Silver Stars. After the Vietnam War, Colonel Waddell continued his dedicated career in the Air Force, serving our nation for more than 30 years with honor, distinction, courage, and conviction