Dick Bolstad was born on July 7, 1929, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve on December 14, 1948, and went on active duty beginning August 19, 1950. Cpl Bolstad served in combat in Korea with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment of the 1st Marine Division from September 1950 until he returned to the United States in April 1951, and then served at MCS Quantico, Virginia, until leaving active duty on March 31, 1952. He received an honorable discharge from the Marine Corps on April 1, 1953, and then enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on July 14, 1953. After serving in aircraft maintenance, A2C Bolstad entered the Aviation Cadet Program on June 20, 1955, and was commissioned a 2d Lt in the U.S. Air Force and awarded his pilot wings on September 28, 1956. After completing F-86A Sabre training at Williams AFB, Arizona, and F-100A Super Sabre training at Nellis AFB, Nevada, Lt Bolstad served as an F-100C pilot with the 32nd Fighter-Day Squadron at Soesterberg AB in the Netherlands from June 1957 to June 1961, followed by service as an F-100 pilot with the 355th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Myrtle Beach AFB, South Carolina, from June 1961 to September 1964. Capt Bolstad then completed A-1 Skyraider training, and then served as an A-1 pilot with the 602nd Fighter Squadron at Bien Hoa AB, South Vietnam, from March 1965 until he was forced to bail out over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on November 6, 1965. After spending 2,656 days in captivity, Maj Bolstad was released during Operation Homecoming on February 12, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries at Scott AFB, Illinois, and then attended Air War College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, from August 1973 to July 1974. His final assignment was as a Weapons Officer, F-4 Phantom II Squadron Commander, and finally as Deputy Base Commander at Luke AFB, Arizona, from July 1974 until his retirement from the Air Force on April 1, 1979. Dick Bolstad died on February 21, 2014, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
His Silver Star Citation reads:
For the period July 1969: This officer distinguished himself by gallantry and intrepidity in action in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force during the above period while a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam. Ignoring international agreements on treatment of prisoners of war, the enemy resorted to mental and physical cruelties to obtain information, confessions, and propaganda materials. This individual resisted their demands by calling upon his deepest inner strengths in a manner which reflected his devotion to duty and great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.