"My Enemy… My Friend" 2nd Edition Published 35 Years
After The End Of The Vietnam War
Brigadier General Dan Cherry, USAF
(ret.), and former Vietnamese fighter pilot Nguyen, Hong My talked
about planes, and toasted their grandchildren, at events in
Goldsboro and Raleigh, NC last week.
And the two once again demonstrated the redemptive power of
Two years ago, they were long-lost enemies brought together by a
series of coincidences that showed war for what it often is: a
disagreement between friends who haven’t yet had a chance to
In the wake of the 35th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam
War, Cherry and Nguyen are reuniting for the third time in as many
years to promote Cherry’s recently released second edition of
his book, "My Enemy, My Friend". The book chronicles the unlikely
friendship that developed between these two men who fought on
opposite sides of the war, and the resulting healing and
reconciliation that their journey has inspired along the way.
F-4 Phantom File Photo
After Cherry shot down Nguyen’s MiG-21 on April 16, 1972,
it would be 36 years before the two would meet again on that
infamous anniversary: first in Vietnam to be reunited on national
TV and then the following year in Bowling Green, Kentucky,
Cherry’s hometown, for the dedication ceremony of Aviation
Heritage Park, where Cherry’s Phantom F-4 that he flew in the
war was refurbished and put on exhibit. Last year, Cherry and Hong
My also traveled to Washington, D.C. to visit Goldsboro-based John
Stiles, a U.S. navigator in a reconnaissance plane that Hong My was
decorated for downing in the war. Since their initial meeting, the
three have become good friends.
Cherry and Hong My spoke at a series of aviation events last
week. On Friday, they appeared at the Seymour Johnson Air Force
Base in Goldsboro, in an event for base personnel. Saturday, Cherry
and Hong My took part in a panel discussion at the Air America
Reunion in Raliegh. Stiles attended both events as well.
Adding an interesting twist to the story, Cherry learned that
Hong My has worn a gold class ring that he purchased at a jewelry
store in Vietnam after the war. Engraved on the ring: Mackin High
School, Class of 1972, Washington, D.C. Cherry has been helping
Hong My track down the owner of that class ring, so that Hong My
can personally return it and bring closure to a difficult period.
Class ring maker Josten’s plans to present a commemorative
ring to Hong My to replace the one he has worn on the ring finger
of his left hand for the past 35 years.
MiG-21 File Photo
“We’re now looking in earnest for any members of
Mackin High School Class of 1972 who served in the military,”
Cherry said. “More specifically, we want to find class
members who served in Southeast Asia, when they served and what
branch they served in. We’re trying to determine if any
members of the class were wounded or killed in Southeast Asia.
Depending on what we learn, this can be a coda to a remarkable turn
In the meantime, Cherry met earlier this month with Class of
1972 alumni from Mackin High School -- which was incorporated into
what is now Archbishop Carroll High School -- to help in the
process of identifying which of the 93 peers may have gone on to
serve in Southeast Asia.