View Full Version : Another round for POW pilot?

02-19-03, 11:56 AM
By John K. Wiley
The Associated Press

SPOKANE Dale Storr spent 33 days as a prisoner of war in Iraq afteer his A-10 Thunderbolt jet fighter was shot down over southern Kuwait during the early days of the Persian Gulf War. The former U.S. Air Force jet pilot now flies KC-135 refueling tankers for the Washington Air National Guard, where he is a lieutenant colonel.

As the nation readies for a possible war against Iraq, Storr, 41, could once again be called to duty by a president named Bush.

"I'm not crazy about that idea. I certainly don't want to go back and be in prison again," said Storr, a Spokane resident. "I'm not looking forward to deploying. I've already deployed several times, but I don't want to be left behind, either."

Storr is a first officer aboard a Boeing 737 during his weekday job for United Airlines. He spends his weekends with the Washington Air Guard's 141st Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base.

If the unit is activated, Storr could be sent to help refuel warplanes headed to targets in Iraq.

The danger would be less than if he were piloting a fighter, but the refueling could occur within range of Iraqi anti-aircraft fire, surface-to-air missiles and warplanes, Storr said in a recent interview.

As a former POW in the Middle East, Storr could have asked to deploy to another theater. But he signed a waiver that makes him available to fly anywhere, including the Persian Gulf.

"When I joined the guard, I said, 'no problems.' I want to go where my buddies are going," he said.

"It's indicative of his character," said his navigator, Hal Westbrook. "He's got a very strong sense of duty to his unit and his country."

No argument from Mike Spencer, one of Storr's fellow pilots who has flown with him in Kosovo and Germany.

"We all think the world of him out there at the unit," Spencer said.

On Feb. 2, 1991, Storr, then an Air Force captain, was on a mission to destroy enemy trucks when his plane was hit. He was taken prisoner after ejecting just before his plane crashed less than five miles behind enemy lines.

For the next month, he endured torture, daily interrogation and an airstrike by American stealth fighters on the prison.

His captors broke his nose, perforated his left eardrum and dislocated his right shoulder.

He still suffers some ill effects.

"Nothing significant," he said. "My right shoulder hangs up on me now and then, when I'm working out or playing basketball. My left eardrum lost some high frequency hearing, and I'm probably not getting as many dates because they broke my nose."

And he still has nightmares, though fewer than before.

"Some are a lot worse than others. It depends if I've been talking about it a lot," he said. "Or if something jogs my memory."

Storr was returned with other POWs on March 6, 1991, and left active duty after eight years with the Air Force in May 1992. He joined the Washington Air Guard in February 1994.

His brother, David Storr, said Dale came home with a new perspective and a greater appreciation for family and friends.

"He was convinced several times during his captivity that he was not going to survive," David said in a phone interview from his home in the Washington, D.C., area. "They told him several times he was going to be executed."

"He very much enjoys life. He's doing what he wants to do. He's flying and that's his passion in life.

Dale Storr said he's willing to return to Iraq because he believes Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is a threat to U.S. security.

"I'm behind President Bush 100 percent. I trust his judgment and decision making," Storr said.

Another brother, Doug Storr, flies C-17 transport planes out of McChord Air Force Base near Tacoma. They frequently discuss the fact that both could soon be flying missions in a war.

"I imagine we'll both be over there in some way," Storr said. "We're waiting to get activated. We're waiting for the words. We're ready to go."

David could join them there as well, he said, "if I get my act together.

The former Marine Corps aviator said he's "filling out the paperwork to join up with a naval reserve unit. Those are my plans. I don't know if they'll accept me."

"If there was a war and I couldn't help out, I'd feel left out," he said.

"I guess it just runs in our family. My dad was a Vietnam veteran and flew over 300 combat missions. If my brothers are going, I want to go with them and get it done."

Still, he has mixed emotions about Dale's going back.

"I want Dale to go and do what's right, but his case is exceptional," he said. "If Dale wants to go over and serve again and fly, I want him to do that, but if he were to be captured again that would be an extremely grave situation, but I'm not going to
convince him not to go."

Dale Storr joined other American and allied POWs and their families in a lawsuit seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in general and punitive damages from Iraq for their treatment during the Gulf War.

The case is still pending.

Storr said he doesn't consider himself a hero.

"A war hero to me is Audie Murphy," he said, referring to the most decorated soldier of World War II. "The Vietnam POWs are heroes to me, too. They were there so long and suffered grueling treatment."


"There are all kinds of low class slime who are trying and will continue to try to wreck this country from the inside. Most of them don't know it, but they are actually working for the Russians. Some of them do know it, though. It doesn't matter whether they call themselves communists, socialists, or just plain liberals. That is what they are doing." - Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.

Jennifer Martinez, yotanka@carolina.rr.com on 02/18/2003 11:14:15 AM

Tony C.

Once a Marine.......... ...Always a Marine


Vietnam Veterans of Florida Inc., State Coalition



United We Stand
God Bless America

Remember our POW/MIA's
I'll never forget!