Dick Tangeman was born in 1940 in New York City, New York. He graduated with a bachelor'd degree from New York University in February 1964, and entered the U.S. Navy's Aviation Officer Candidate Program on April 22, 1964, receiving his commission as an Ensign on August 17, 1964. Ens Tangeman completed Naval Aviation Officer School and was designated a Naval Flight Officer in December 1964, and then attended RA-5C Vigilante Replacement Air Group training with RVAH-3 at NAS Sanford, Florida, from December 1964 to December 1965. His first assignment was as an RA-5C Reconnaissance Navigator with RVAH-1 at NAS Sanford and deployed aboard the aircraft carriers USS Independence (CVA-62, from June 1966 to February 1967) and USS Enterprise (CVN-65, from January to May 1968) from December 1965 until he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on May 5, 1968. After spending 1,775 days in captivity, Lt Tangeman was released during Operation Homecoming on March 14, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries at the Naval Hospital at NAS Jacksonville, Florida, and then received an assignment to complete his Master's degree at Florida Tech University from July 1973 to August 1975. CDR Tangeman served as an Admin Officer and Naval Flight Officer Instructor with VT-86 at NAS Pensacola, Florida, from September 1975 to May 1977, and then as an A-6 Intruder bombardier/navigator with VA-176 at NAS Oceana, Virginia, from June 1977 to September 1979. His next assignment was as Head of the Fiscal Management Branch with Naval Military Personnel Command at the Pentagon from October 1979 to October 1982, followed by service as Commanding Officer of the Personnel Support Activity, Orlando, Florida, from November 1982 to February 1985. Capt Tangeman then served as the Principal Assistant for Financial Matters to the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Naval Warfare at the Pentagon from June 1985 to July 1988. Capt Tangeman retired from the Navy on December 31, 1995.
His 1st (of 3) Legion of Merit w/Valor Citation reads:
For exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam from May 1968 to March 1973. Under the most adverse of conditions, he resisted all attempts by the North Vietnamese to use him in causes detrimental to the United States, never wavering in his devotion and loyalty to the United States. In an outstanding and tireless fashion he served as an entertainer to provide diversion and constructive rehabilitative thinking to his fellow prisoners during their long internment. Despite harsh treatment and lack of material aids, he devoted long hours toward improving their morale and well-being. His extraordinary skill, resourcefulness, and dedication to duty throughout his lengthy confinement reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Naval Service and the United States Armed Forces.
The Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.