The San Diego Air & Space Museum mourns the loss of Ev Southwick, a long-time member of the Museum’s Board of Directors. Southwick passed away on December 9. He was 86.
“Ev’s inner spirit was infectious and he was always smiling! He genuinely loved people and the opportunity help them,” said Jim Kidrick, President & CEO of the San Diego Air & Space Museum. “Everyone at the Museum misses him already, but appreciated the opportunity to know and love him.”
Charles Everett Southwick was born in Fairbanks, Alaska on October 6, 1931, and settled in Seattle, Washington in 1944, where he attended Renton Junior-Senior High School and the University of Washington. He completed the Naval Aviation Cadet Program, receiving his commission and wings on April 13, 1955. He served in fighter squadrons from 1955 to 1964, flying FJ-3 Furies and F-8 Crusaders. From 1964 to 1966, he experienced his first taste of “desk” duty in the Bureau of Naval Personnel. He returned to the cockpit in October 1966, flying the F-4B Phantom and was shot down and captured on May 14, 1967, during a mission against the Than Hoa (of Ham Rong) bridge. He was released on March 4, 1973, after spending 2,122 days as a POW.
Said Southwick: “I am thoroughly convinced of two things: First, I was able to endure nearly six years of communist imprisonment because of the simple fact that I was raised as an American, with all the experience and training inherent to life in this great country. Second, I was released from captivity as a direct result of the overwhelming involvement and support of the American people in our behalf (a fact that made our conditions tolerable from late 1969 on) and as a direct result of the integrity and intestinal fortitude of our President, Richard M. Nixon. I will never be able to adequately repay the American people or our President.”
Southwick retired from the United States Navy as a Captain. He was the recipient of the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star (three times) and the Prisoner of War Medal.
He will be interned at Miramar National Cemetery.