Except for their oversized watches, the two men seemed to have little in common.
But Dan Cherry, 70, and Nguyen Hong My, 65, first met in the skies over Vietnam in 1972 when Cherry, flying an F-4 Phantom, shot down My’s MiG-21. My was badly injured but survived.
The two met again last year when Cherry traveled to Vietnam to meet his former adversary. The two hit it off, and now My has come to the United States as Cherry’s guest. The two have spent some time together at Cherry’s home in Bowling Green, Ky., and flew together in Cherry’s Cessna 172. They plan to travel to Washington, D.C., to visit the National Air & Space Museum and the Vietnam War Memorial.
“Our friendship continues to grow,” Cherry said, “and we’ve been having a lot of fun telling our unusual story.”
Cherry wrote a book, My Enemy, My Friend, which recounts their first meeting and its rewarding aftermath. They gave a presentation April 22 at the AOPA Pavillion.
Cherry said he contacted former American POWs before traveling to Vietnam to meet My and they were universally supportive.
“They don’t have any bitterness toward Vietnamese fighter pilots,” Cherry said. “They know it was the guards and prison administration that tortured them.”
Proceeds from the book are being donated to help found Aviation Heritage Park in Bowling Green.