Idaho Medal of Honor recipient Bernard Fisher passes away

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - An Idaho hero has passed away.

Family members tell KBOI 2News that Col. Bernard "Bernie" Fisher died over the weekend. He was 87.

Fisher began his military career at 18 and joined the Navy, served in World War II, then the National Guard. In 1965, he volunteered to go to Vietnam with the U.S. Air Force.

On one particular mission, he and his wing man came under heavy fire. He described maneuvering his aircraft in bad weather, trying to dodge enemy fire and fire back.

"The airplane had 7 men on board and they carried the mini guns and high powered guns and they fired 6 thousand rounds a minute," Fisher told KBOI 2News in 2008. "That's a lot of rounds. That's 120 rounds a second."

Fisher said he didn't doubt his crew or his abilities, but it was a nerve-wracking experience.

"Scared all the time," he said. "there's a fear there, you hope you're going to do it right."

Fisher landed the plane with 19 bullet holes in it.

Fisher was first to receive the Air Force-designed Medal of Honor, which was established on April 14, 1965. (The first Medal of Honor received by an airman was awarded to Capt. Edward V. Rickenbacker for aerial combat in 1918).

"It represents a lot of people that fought and died that day," he said. "A lot of credit goes to the people on the ground that helped us get through."