Risner Interred at Arlington

Air Force and political leaders, former prisoners of war, and current service members paid their final respects to retired Brig. Gen. Robinson “Robbie” Risner, a Korean War fighter Ace and Vietnam prisoner of war, during a memorial service at Fort Myer in Arlington, Va., on Jan. 23. Risner, who died Oct. 22 at the age of 88, was interred at Arlington National Cemetery the same day. “To the people of this nation, he was a noble idea . . . a comforting thought . . . the reassuring knowledge that there will always be those willing to answer the bugle’s call . . . to risk everything, to fight and die on their behalf,” said Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh during the memorial service. Also during the service, former independent Presidential candidate Ross Perot, a good friend of Risner’s, told the story of how Risner defied his captors and gathered his fellow POWs at the infamous Hanoi Hilton prison for a church service. As Risner and two other POW leaders were hauled away to solitary confinement, the rest of the POWs started singing the “Star Spangled Banner.” Risner once famously told Perot that he felt “nine feet tall” as the POWs belted out the song—words that are memorialized with a nine foot tall statue of Risner that now stands at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. Risner is survived by his wife Dorothy, six children and their spouses, and 14 grandchildren. (AFNS report)