Red Dirt Diaries: Vietnam Vets With Common Bond Unknowingly Become Neighbors

Friday, July 2nd 2021, 8:02 pm

By: Karl Torp


Two Oklahoma Vietnam war veterans are now becoming friends thanks to a bond that’s nearly 50 years old.

Retired Air Force Colonel Bill Talley was shot down May 10, 1972, near Hanoi, Vietnam.

He parachuted to safety but was captured and became a POW for 10 months.

“I’d never done it before,” said the 90-year-old Talley about ejecting from his F-105 aircraft.

The very same day Talley was shot down, Air Force Captain Jim Null was also in enemy crosshairs inside the cockpit in his F-4 Phantom 2.

“I saw these like white golf balls, it looked like they were parting my hair,” said the 88-year-old about what it looked like from the cockpit.

Moments later, over the radio, Null would hear about the 105-pilot shot down.

“This is Icebag 4, I’ve been hit. I’m going down,” remembered Null about what he heard.

Just 5 years ago, Null learned “Icebag 4” was the call sign of fellow Oklahoman Bill Talley.

Last week, after moving into the Touchmark senior living center in Edmond he learned they had unknowingly become neighbors.

“I'll be a friend with a 105 pilot, I’ve got low standards,” joked Null.

“He drives a different kind of plane. That’s like Ford and Chevy. You can get into discussions of what one’s better,” said Talley.

The friendship is now taking flight as the two have been exchanging war stories since last week.

“It’s quite a coincidence, flying the same day I was shot down and then we end up in this old folks home,” said Talley, who will serve as the Grand Marshall of the LibertyFest Parade Saturday in Edmond.


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