Black Patriot Down

Fred Cherry, the African American U.S. Air Force pilot who spent seven years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, has passed away at 87. With all due respect to Joe Louis, Fred Cherry was the real Brown Bomber.

Born in Suffolk, Virginia, Fred Cherry experienced racial prejudice and segregation first hand but did not let it hold him back from achievement. He graduated from Virginia Union University in 1951 and joined the U.S. Air Force. A skilled pilot, Cherry would soon be flying combat missions over Stalinist North Korea.