Colonel (ret) David William Eberly was the senior-ranking allied
prisoner of war in Baghdad* during the Gulf War in 1991. An airman, he
participated in the initial air strike into Iraq. On January 19, the
fourth night of the campaign, he was shot down while flying an F-15E
Strike Eagle and, after three nights, eventually captured on the Syrian
border. He was subsequently repatriated with the other allies from five
countries on March 5, 1991.
He is a native of Brazil, Indiana, and entered the Air Force upon
graduation from Indiana University in 1969. After earning his pilot
wings at Columbus AFB MS, he and Barbara served in 18 locations around
the world. His last position was as the US Defense Representative in the
American Embassy, Ottawa, Canada.
As an airman, he flew over 3400 hours with tours in fighter squadrons in
the Philippines, Germany, and the United States. During Desert Shield
and Desert Storm, he served as the Director of Operations for the 4th
Fighter Wing (Provisional), flying the F-15E in Oman and from Saudi
Arabia. His combat awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross, the
Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart.
In April 1998, Colonel and Mrs. Eberly represented the Gulf War POWs at
the opening of the National POW Memorial in Andersonville. His book: Faith
Beyond Belief is available via
(*the Gulf War POWs formed the Fifth Allied POW Squadron following the
heritage of the Fourth POW Wing of the Vietnam War)
205 Roger Webster
Williamsburg, VA 23185
Our Commander-in-Chief recently issued a
call-to-arms for all veterans. No, not to take up our weapons of trade, but
to serve in a more visible way on our homeland as visitors and mentors in
our nation’s schools during Veterans Day observations.
As terror evokes uncertainty among our youth,
no time is more appropriate for veterans of all eras to serve this great
country as role models. I encourage you to take a leadership role and
demonstrate by personal example the morale courage that we all took into
battle and the inner strength we mustered to survive the enemy’s physical
and psychological torture.
Today’s youth and tomorrow’s leaders must
understand the price of freedom and the tenets of life, liberty, and
happiness. Whether they serve on future battlefields or contribute to our
homeland defense they must understand unequivocally the principles that have
made our country strong. To that end I believe:
Our nation is only as great as the character and convictions of
Our freedom is only as certain as
our moral and military strength to preserve it,
And, our faith only as enduring
as our trust in God.
Whether as chapters or individuals, I
encourage you to answer President Bush’s call-to-arms. Contact your local
schools and civic organizations and volunteer as an AXPOW to set a strong,
patriot example at any event to lead their group in the Pledge of Allegiance
to the United States of America.
David Eberly, Col (Ret) USAF is a life member of AXPOW. His recently
released book: Faith Beyond Belief witnesses to his experience as the
senior allied POW in Baghdad. Selected chapters were published in the
Bulletin in 1999. He represented the Gulf War POWs at the opening of the
National Museum in Andersonville and continues to relate his powerful
message of patriotism and faith to a variety of audiences. Colonel Eberly’s
book is available directly at