Medal of Honor recipient receives diploma |
by Senior Airman Brok McCarthy
75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
5/7/2008 - SALT LAKE CITY (AFPN) -- Don't let the education office fool you; there are some people out there who have become commissioned officers without having their bachelor's degrees.
Retired Col. Bernard Francis Fisher, a Medal of Honor recipient, received his diploma in fine arts from the University of Utah during a commissioning ceremony of nine second lieutenants from ROTC Det. 850 May 3, almost 57 years after he originally attended the university.
Colonel Fisher received the diploma for his remarkable career in the Air Force, bravery in combat, numerous awards including the Medal of Honor and faithful service to country, said J. Steven Ott, the dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Science and the diploma presenter. Mr. Ott presented the diploma on behalf of the university's president, Michael Young.
"The University of Utah is extremely proud to call and claim (Colonel Fisher) as one of its own," Mr. Ott said.
When asked how it felt to finally receive his degree after so many years, Colonel Fisher said, "It's simply amazing. I didn't think I was ever going to get my diploma. I'm very proud to have it."
Also during the commissioning ceremony, the ROTC detachment officials presented the first Col. Bernard F. Fisher Leadership Award to its top graduating cadet as well as the Detachment 850 Distinguished Alumnus Award to Colonel Fisher.
Colonel Fisher was awarded the Medal of Honor for personal action above and beyond the call of duty by risking his life to save a fellow pilot who was shot down during action in the A Shau Valley of Vietnam in 1966.
During the battle, then Major Fisher landed his Douglas A-1E Skyraider on an airfield controlled by the enemy under intense ground fire, pulled the downed pilot from the wreckage and took him aboard his aircraft, successfully escaping despite several bullets striking the plane. The aircraft Colonel Fisher was flying that day is displayed at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. He also had experience in such fighters as the F-80 Shooting Star, F-86 Sabre, and F-101 Voodoo, along with hundreds of close-air-support missions in the A-1E.
Born in San Bernardino, Calif., Colonel Fisher was raised and educated in Utah, calling Clearfield home, though he now lives in Kuna, Idaho. He was the first living Air Force recipient of the Medal of Honor and the first of 12 Air Force members to receive the medal from Vietnam.
He was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Lyndon B. Johnson Jan. 19, 1967.
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