Fred Flom was born in 1941 in Menasha, Wisconsin. He was commissioned a 2d Lt in the U.S. Air Force through the Air Force ROTC program at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, on June 9, 1963, and went on active duty beginning November 11, 1963. Lt Flom next completed Undergraduate Pilot Training and was awarded his pilot wings at Williams AFB, Arizona, in December 1964, followed by F-105 Thunderchief Combat Crew Training from January to September 1965. His first assignment was as an F-105 pilot and instructor pilot with the 561st Tactical Fighter Squadron and on the staff of the 23rd Tactical Fighter Wing at McConnell AFB, Kansas, from September 1965 to March 1966, and then as an F-105 pilot with the 354th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Takhli Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, from March 1966 until he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on August 8, 1966. After spending 2,401 days in captivity, Capt Flom was released during Operation Homecoming on March 4, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries at Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio, and then attended Jet Recurrency Training with the 560th Flying Training Wing at Randolph AFB, Texas, from December 1973 to February 1974. Capt Flom left active duty on February 28, 1974, and joined the Wisconsin Air National Guard on March 1, 1974, serving as an F-102 Delta Dagger pilot with the 176th Fighter Interceptor Squadron from March 1 to October 18, 1974, when he transferred to the 457th Tactical Fighter Squadron of the U.S. Air Force Reserve at Carswell AFB, Texas. Col Flom served as an F-105 and F-4 Phantom II pilot and then as Operations Officer with the 457th before serving as Commander of the unit from July 1982 to July 1987. His final assignment was Deputy Commander for Operations of the 301st Tactical Fighter Wing at Carswell from July 1987 until his retirement from the Air Force Reserve in December 1989. During the Vietnam War, Col Flom flew 82 combat missions before being shot down.
His 1st (of 2) Silver Star Citation reads:
First Lieutenant Fredric R. Flom distinguished himself by gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force near Yen Bay, North Vietnam on 8 August 1966. On that date, Lieutenant Flom was a member of a flight assigned the hazardous task of re-evaluating low level delivery tactics for use beneath low ceilings in the dense hostile fire environment of the Red River delta. Despite the highly vulnerable nature of the delivery maneuver for the prescribed munitions, Lieutenant Flom braved a barrage of savage defensive fire to ensure the precise placement of his ordnance on his target military complex. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Lieutenant Flom has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.