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Like many young men of his generation Jerry Evert overflowed with enthusiasm The tall lanky youth known affectionately as Big Ev excelled at sports especially basketball At some point Evert developed a fondness for airplanes But more important Jerry Evert loved his country That love would guide his decision to join the Army National Guard in 1955 when he was a senior in high school In 1958 while attending Brigham Young University Everts unquenchable desire to fly airplanes led him to transfer to the Air Force ROTC program That same year he met Wanda and soon after the couple married The following year their first child arrived The future looked bright In 1960 Evert graduated from BYU and enthusiastically accepted a commission as an Air Force pilot And while the war in Vietnam quickly escalated Evert became consumed with his flight training and keeping one step ahead of his growing family Following his training Evert moved his family to Chandler Arizona His brood now numbered 3 children with another on the way In April 1967 the inevitable call for duty came The proud F-105 pilot shouldered a bag said goodbye to his family and flew out for a tour of duty over the hostile skies of Vietnam Only 29 years old it would be the last time his family would see him My father was shot down on November 8th 1967 said Dan Evert eldest of the Evert children He had just received permission to come home for the birth of his child and was to return home a few hours after the completion of his mission Elizabeth the couples forth child was born 5 days after the tragic incident Sadly details surrounding the events of that day would elude the Evert family for over three decades Only recently did the final chapter of this
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