About Guy

For an excellent motivational speech; leadership, teamwork, resilience, perseverance, faith and forgiveness for business, military, elementary schools through universities, churches and religious organizations, please simply call Guy's office at 419-953-1083

        

Guy D. Gruters, Captain, USAF

POW in North Vietnam, December, 1967 to March, 1973 : 5 years, 3 months

 

 

Guy on Journey Home, EWTN

 

 

Guy at Virginia Military Institute


Guy Gruters was raised in New Jersey where he spent his childhood trapping muskrat, camping, hunting and becoming an Eagle Scout. He accepted a bid to the Air Force Academy and graduated with a BS in Engineering Science (Summa Cum Laude.) He then went on to Purdue University and completed a Masters Degree in Astronautical Engineering. After Pilot Training and fighter gunnery school, he volunteered for Vietnam and served six years in Vietnam, more than five as a POW.  During his flight operations as a Forward Air Controller over 10 months, Guy flew more than 400 combat missions, first for the 173rd Airborne Brigade in the O-1 "Bird Dog" light observation aircraft and then for the MISTY Fast FACS in the F-100 Super Sabre over North Vietnam. His decorations include more than thirty combat awards, with two Silver Stars, two DFCs, two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star for Valor, the POW Medal, a Presidential Unit Citation, 20 Air Medals and other medals.

 

 

MISTYs, all volunteer, top secret unit, December, 1967, F-100 in background:

Click to enlarge:

Back Row, 3rd from left: Guy Gruters

Front Row, 2nd from left: Charlie Neel, first shootdown, rescue

Back Row, 3rd from right: Bob Craner, second shootdown, captured with Guy

 

While flying as a Misty FAC, he was shot down twice. The first shoot down resulted in a parachute landing just offshore of a major North Vietnamese city under heavy fire from the coastal guns.

 

 

The rescue of Guy and Captain Charles Neel, who Guy characterizes as a fighter pilot's fighter pilot, is a truly awe inspiring story of the dedication and courage of the Jolly Green Chinook Helicopter Search and Rescue units. His second shoot down on December 20, 1967, resulted in a five year, three month odyssey that humbled his pride, tested his fortitude, and forged his faith.

 

In the courageous Christmas bombing of late 1972, Strategic Air Command US Air Force B-52 Bombers and Tactical Air Command Fighters and US Navy Aircraft Carrier Fighters forced the North Vietnamese to release Guy and the other surviving POWs in March of 1973. Guy's brother, Terry, volunteered for multiple tours in Vietnam over the years of Guy's imprisonment in his attempt to best help to end the war and bring Guy home. Terry was shot down two times and crash-landed once behind enemy lines during those tours. His persistence was rewarded and he flew one of the B-52s which actually did bomb his brother out of prison camp.

 

 

Captain Terry Gruters, my brother, my hero

 

About Terry Gruters

 

 

B-52s over North Vietnam force release of the POWs.

 

Five B-52 tapes over North Vietnam, tapes 2 and 3 are primary action

 

Of the more than 3500 aircrew members who were shot down and not rescued in North Vietnam, 457 survived. The North Vietnamese and the Russians had tortured to death or killed in one way or another six out of seven aircrew members. There were a total of five hundred and ninety-one surviving POWs of all military services released in 1973 for return to the States during "Operation Homecoming."

Operation Homecoming, 1973

 

Video: Key to Survival: Prayers of families, nation, our own

 

 

Guy in the F-100

"I have seen Him in the watchfires of a hundred circling camps...

They have builded him an altar in the evening dews and damps,

I have read his righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps,

his truth is marching on." Battle Hymn of the Republic

 

Guy's Lenten talk, Indianapolis, Indiana
Video: Springfield, Massachusetts Catholic Men's Conference

Audio: Guy's talk Arlington, Virginia, first shootdown, Lance Sijan

John McCain as a POW

James Stockdale, Thoughts of a Philosophical Fighter Pilot

John McCain, Foreword, Bury Us Upside Down

Michigan Catholic Men's Conference

Monson, Massachusetts, Catholic Men's Leadership Conference

Catholics in the Military

Kadena AFB, Okinawa

Leadership in the Home and Family, Herndon, Virginia

Lighthouse Catholic Media

CDs by EWTN's Journey Home, use keyword=guy gruters

Audio: Columbus, Ohio, Catholic Men's Conference, see 3/10/2007

Faithraiser Catholic Speaker Archives

Texas IHM Homeschooler's Conference

Audio: Catholic Answers Radio

EWTN November 11, 2010, Frontline Families

Springfield, Massachusetts, Diocesan Men's Conference

Audio: EWTN Journey Home, Alabama, use program search words: guy gruters

Day in the life of the Misty FACs

Virginia Diocesan Men's Conference

Name on a bracelet

Catholic Answers

Theology on Tap, CIncinnati, Ohio

MISTY website with list of all MISTY FACs
The Son Tay Raid, November 21, 1970, an unimaginable aid to our morale and treatment
Operation Kingpin: The Son Tay Raid


While Guy was still flying MISTY Fast FAC missions over North Vietnam in November and December of 1967, Lance Sijan had been shot down in early November and was fighting his way through the mountainous jungle, while avoiding all North Vietnamese patrols sent to capture him. Lance evaded capture for forty-six days.  He was finally captured on Christmas day of 1967 and moved into a small holding prison with Guy and Major Bob Craner shortly thereafter. The three of them made the trip north to the Hanoi Hilton in the back of a military truck. Guy and Bob were with Lance until his last-minute removal to a hospital and death in late January, 1968. After release in March of 1973, their testimony was the basis for the award of the Congressional Medal of Honor to Lance. Guy also collaborated closely with Malcolm McConnell of the Reader's Digest in his book Into the Mouth of the Cat, a story about Lance's struggle to successfully resist all interrogation despite terrible physical injuries and horrible torture.

 

 

 

"Bob Craner, USAF Fighter Weapons School Instructor, POW for more than 

five years. Bob was on the design team for specifications for the US F-16 Fighter 

Aircraft, arguably the best air-to-air fighter in the world until the F-22. A perfect cell-mate 

for two and one-half years in a Communist Prison Camp. The humblest, coolest, and 

yet most competent man I have ever known in my life. A man with true love for God, 

his country, his family, and his friends. Bob was a truly moral man, a perfect fighter, 

a perfect Fighter Pilot and a man that embodied all that is best in manhood," 

Guy Gruters

 

Valor Awards for Robert Roger Craner, Colonel, USAF

About Robert R. Craner

Dedication of Colonel Robert "Bob" Craner Memorial Park, Cahoes, New York

 

 

 

Statue of Lance Sijan, Hero of Vietnam, Congressional Medal of Honor

"Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil."

 

Story of Lance Sijan, Medal of Honor

Congressional Medal of Honor Citation

Video: Captain Lance Sijan, the beginning

Valor beyond words

Lance never complained

About Lance

Statue of Lance at US Air Force Academy

Airman Magazine, Sijan's ordeal

Colonel Craner about Lance

Lance P. Sijan Memorial Dedication at the Arlington Park Cemetery, Milwaukee, WI, June 8, 2003

 

Lance Sijan at the US Air Force Academy:

 

 

 

There have been two additional books written with stories about Guy, Bury Us Upside

Down, by Rick Newman and Don Shepperd, and Misty, by Major General Don Shepperd,

USAF (Ret.).

 

 

 

Homecoming, March 17, 1973!

 

 

 

Guy returned home to his wife Sandy and his daughters Dawn and Sheri, who he had

been separated from for six years. Sandy Gruters graduated from Florida State

University with a BA in Education. After Guy convinced her to marry him, they were

blessed with Dawn and Sheri before Guy left for Vietnam. While her husband was in

prison camp, Sandy traveled the world fighting for his release and at the same time

took care of two young children. Her message, with the other POW wives and

families, was one of education about the inhumane treatment of our captured

soldiers. Sandy also traveled with her children to many pilgrimage sites, always

praying as a family for Guy's safe return. Her experiences as the mother of a family

under uniquely difficult conditions and her grace in handling those situations

provide an example of an ideal response to uncertainty and fear.

 

I love you, Sandy

 

 

I Remember

by Sheri Thiel (Our daughter Sheri)

 

I Remember

Mommy and I watching Daddy in line,

arms at angles behind his back

standing at attention

always with military bearing

Mommy bearing the pain -

he's leaving.

He left scuffed shoes behind,

not the shiny, black ones

daddy took such care with

like the care he took with mommy.

 

Mommy's crying - those eyes, still strong,

she would go to the closet to see

where the shiny shoes had been.

Now, empty space, as empty as mommy's eyes

remembering daddy's eyes

piercing, promising to return, retire,

be home to stay.

 

I stayed with mommy while he fought for freedom.

I had freedom to do as I wished,

outside mostly; swinging, sunning,

striving to forget - stay busy.

Mommy was too busy crying,

worrying, wondering, would he return?

Praying, pacing, staying up late to watch the news.

No news tonight of what was going on over there,

over there where my daddy was.

 

Daddy was returning after more than five years

in a forbidding, foreign prison, waiting.

Mommy crying again, waiting

to see him - so happy.

 

Love had come home.

Home was new, different.

He was back, the shoes were back,

not so shiny now - but still black

and at last put beside the scuffed ones once more.

No more empty space.

No more empty eyes on mommy's face -

no more.

 

He's at attention again,

uniform starched, solid.

Daddy's peripheral vision used only,

eyes not seeing, yet having seen so much.

Nothing a child should see.

 

I was just a child when daddy left,

yet I remember seeing his picture in the frame.

I saw his shoes and all that was left behind.

Mostly, I remember daddy's sacrifice -

I remember.

 

Guy joined Eastern Airlines as a pilot, flying DC-9s and Boeing 727s, and retired as a Captain in 1991. During this time, Guy and Sandy were blessed with seven natural children, two before Vietnam, five after, and have adopted an eighth child; Dawn, Sheri, Ginger, Ryan, Amber, Tyler, Misty and Jacqueline. Guy also was a very successful international account representative for the IBM corporation, handling GTE Sylvania, a three billion dollar company.  He left IBM with his brother, Terry, and was president of PC Software Systems for more than ten years, building it into IBM's leading supplier of application software for Accountants and Independent Insurance agents.  Upon retiring from Eastern, Guy took the position of Director of Data Processing for Pearl Vision in Dallas and then VP-MIS for McCrory Corporation in Pennsylvania, both billion dollar corporations.

 

Sandy has been a professional wife and mother, giving up her career to love her

husband and children. She has struggled with all absences and necessary family

moves during Guy's military and executive career and has great sensitivity for

wives with husbands who work long hours and late nights. Guy and Sandy reside

in rural Ohio and now, with the children grown, can share their experiences.

 

                        The Warrior

 

This morning my thoughts traveled along to a place

in my life where days have long since gone. Beholding

an image of what I used to be... As visions were

stirred and God spoke to me.

 

He showed me a Warrior, a soldier in place, positioned

by Heaven, yet I saw not a face. I watched as the

Warrior fought enemies that came from the darkness

with destruction for me.

 

I saw as the Warrior would dry away tears, as all of

Heaven's Angels hovered so near. I saw many wounds

on the Warrior's face, yet weapons of warfare were...

strongly in place.

 

I felt my heart weeping, my eyes held so much, as

God let me feel... the Warrior's prayer touched. I thought

"how familiar" the words that were prayed. The prayers

were like lightning that would never fade.

 

I said to God "please, the Warrior's name?" He gave

no reply, he chose to refrain. I asked, "Lord, who is

so broken that they need such prayer?" He showed

me an image of myself standing there.

 

Bound by confusion, lost and alone, I felt prayers of the

Warrior carry me home. I asked "please show me Lord,

this Warrior so true. "I watched and I wept, for Sandy...

the Warrior... was you!"

 

by Larry S. Clark, copyright

Poem modified slightly by Guy

 

Sandy, my cup runneth over with love;

 

Guy was asked to leave the corporate world by his other brother, Peter, in Ohio. Guy currently works there as a writer/editor and professional speaker about the POW experience. Peter is an author of many books that have been well received. Terry runs the accounting software company, PC Software Accounting. Terry and Guy have teamed up with Peter in his vision to help families. The project they are pursuing is to strengthen families in faith, health and unity by facilitating their return to traditional family living in the countryside.   


 

Tyler's Wedding!
  
 

Guy/Sandy at "MISTY" Reunion 2012, US Air Force Museum Dinner
    
 

Guy with F-16 Pilots, Homestead AFB, FL, Matt Lotz, John Poor, "Makos"
 
Guy's outstanding combat record, his POW years and experiences since then contribute to him being at present an excellent motivational and inspirational Catholic, Christian, Corporate, or Military speaker candidate for your organization's next event.

This is because as well as being a polished motivational speaker with numerous engagements as a small business, corporate, military, family, Catholic and Christian speaker to his credit, Guy will also bring a unique perspective to your next event. Please consider this page, the Home page and the Speaker page of this website to decide if you agree. Returning from six years in Vietnam, Guy spent many years as a small business CEO and high-level corporate executive officer, while raising a large family. The combination of extensive combat experience and being a POW returning with honor from extreme difficulties, along with powerful experiences in the small business, corporate and family real world, allows Guy to be a tailored speaker for your special requirements. If engaged, Guy shall be an ideal keynote and/or motivational speaker for your event. 

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