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"You miss your family, but you're with another kind of family, the squadron that you're part of…takes on a family atmosphere of its own." (Video interview, 23:09)

   William Francis Andrews
Collection image
William Andrews [detail from video]
War: Persian Gulf War, 1991; Afghan War, 2001-
Branch: Air Force; Air Force
Unit: 10th Fighter Squadron
Service Location: Germany; Idaho; Virginia; Persian Gulf; Iraq
Rank: Captain; Colonel
POW: Yes
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Bitten by the flying bug when he was sixteen years old, Colonel William Francis Andrews set his sights on the Air Force, and it did not disappoint: he got goosebumps the first time he sat down in an F-16 fighter jet. Despite a grueling schedule and constant fatigue, he found flying combat missions during the Persian Gulf War extremely satisfying, and enjoyed working as part of a team to protect the troops on the ground. On February 27th, 1991--just one day before the ceasefire that would end hostilities--he was shot down by Iraqi forces, and endured a week of beatings and interrogations before being turned over to the Red Cross. The "inspired leadership" of his commanders during his time in the Gulf propelled him to continue his military career after the war, in the hopes of providing that same sort of leadership to pilots serving under him.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (7 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: video (40 min.)
More like this
»Persian Gulf War: 25 Years Later
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (7 items)
Taking flying lessons; deciding to attend the Air Force academy; life at the academy; becoming an F-16 pilot. (03:26) Morale of the troops in the Gulf; support from the States. (02:44) Types of missions he flew during the war. (01:09)
Pace of missions; intensity of schedule; trying to get enough sleep; most difficult aspects of being at war. (04:28) Source of greatest satisfaction; memorable mission on February 24, 1991. (01:40) Mission on February 27, 1991; being hit by a surface to air missile; bailing out; hitting the ground and breaking his leg; captured. (02:35)
Quality of leadership; wanting to provide that to pilots serving under him. (01:29)  

Home » William Francis Andrews
  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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