Flying Tiger Line Pilots Association
Clarence (Dick) Pocius
August 6, 1916 - August 15, 1992
Dick was born in Chicago, IL. When he got into flying in the late 1930s, it was "an adventurous thing to do, sort of like being in the space program today," he told his son Douglas. "But," he said, "when I retired, I felt pretty much like a truck driver. Flying had become so routine."
Dick was an engineering student at Georgia Tech when he started taking flying lessons. After WW II broke out, he was a 15-minute veteran of the US Navy, his son said. He wanted to be a pilot for American Overseas Airways, flying military cargo from the East Coast to England. But the military required that the airline's pilots be retired military officers. "So he enlisted in the Navy, was sworn in as an officer, walked across the street and was decommissioned 15 minutes later," his son said.
After the war, he flew the first commercial flight into Germany. He participated in the 1947 Berlin airlift.
In 1950, Dick joined Flying Tiger Lines. Until his 1976 retirement from Flying Tigers, Dick flew trans-Pacific routes, including carrying military personnel and cargo into Vietnam. "Two weeks before Saigon fell and airport was surrounded, he flew the last Tiger flight out of Vietnam," his son said. "He loaded up station personnel and some files and took off. They could hear gunfire around the airport, and when he took off he had to put it into a hard right bank and spiral up to keep from being shot down. "When he landed in Anchorage, they found a good number of bullet holes. So he got out his maps for Saigon and tore them up and stomped on them. He was glad to be out of there."
Dick is survived by his wife, Miriam, of San Jose; sons Douglas of Sunnyvale and Randy of Brookdale; and one granddaughter.Back To Memorials