Bob Flynn was born in 1937 in La Crosse, Wisconsin. He entered the Naval Aviation Cadet Program on July 9, 1958, and was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy and designated a Naval Flight Officer on June 20, 1960. After completing A3D Skywarrier training with VAH-123 at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, from June 1960 to January 1961, LtJg Flynn served as an A3D navigator with VAH-8 at Whidbey Island from January 1961 to June 1963, followed by service as an A-6 Intruder instructor bombardier/navigator with VA-42 at NAS Oceana, Virginia, from June 1963 to March 1966. He served as an A-6 bombardier/navigator with VA-85 at NAS Oceana and deployed to Southeast Asia aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) from March to August 1966, and then served as an A-6 bombardier/navigator with VA-196 at NAS Whidbey Island from August 1966 to May 1967, and aboard the aircraft carrier USS Constellation (CVA-64) from May 1967 until he was forced to eject and was taken as a Prisoner of War by China on August 21, 1967. After spending 2,034 days in captivity, almost all of which was in solitary confinement, LCDR Flynn was released during Operation Homecoming on March 15, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries at the Naval Hospital in Oakland, California, and then completed A-6 Replacement Air Group training and served with VA-128 as an A-6 instructor navigator/bombardier at NAS Whidbey Island, from November 1973 to February 1975. His next assignment was as an A-6 bombardier/navigator with VA-165 at Whidbey Island from February 1975 to June 1976, followed by an assignment to complete his degree program at the University of Washington from June 1976 to August 1977. CDR Flynn served as Executive Officer and then Commanding Officer of VT-86 at NAS Pensacola, Florida, from August 1977 to October 1980, and then served as Executive Officer of Fleet Combat Training Center at Dam Neck, Virginia, from October 1980 to November 1981. His final assignment was as Director of Aviation Warfare Training with the Chief of Naval Education and Training at NAS Pensacola, Florida, from November 1981 until his retirement from the U.S. Navy on November 1, 1985.
His Legion of Merit w/Valor Citation reads:
For exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service while interned as a Prisoner of War in Southeast Asia from August 1967 to February 1973. Under the most adverse of conditions, he resisted all attempts by his captors to use him in causes detrimental to the United States, never wavering in his devotion and loyalty to the United States and his fellow prisoners. Despite the adversities of confinement, he performed such duties and responsibilities as required by the Code of Conduct in an exemplary and highly professional manner. Displaying extraordinary courage, resourcefulness, and dedication throughout this period of imprisonment, he 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.