A story of survival: U.S. Naval Aviators reunited after wingman is shot down during the Vietnam War

Local News

LEMOORE, California (KSEE) – A story of captivity told by U.S. Navy Cmdr. Everett Alvarez, after his aircraft was shot, August 4, 1964.

“When I came around, there was a lot more anti-aircraft than we knew existed and the whole sky opened up,” Alvarez said. “Traces coming at me.”

Reuniting Tuesday, with Capt. John Nicholson and Cmdr. Ron Boch.

55 years ago, the trio were stationed together at NAS Lemoore. On deployment, before a flight over the Gulf of Tonkin, the captain and his wingmen snapped a photo. The next day, Alvarez was shot down over the Gulf. He was forced to eject – sideways.

Nicholson’s last words, “You know what to do.”

“I was very lucky, if I stuck with it another two seconds, I would’ve hit the ground,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez, held captive more than 8 years in Vietnam. His faith, bringing him through.

“It’s believing in your god and having a sense of honor, you know, it’s what makes a person their character,” Alvarez said.

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