David Ford was born on July 25, 1935, in Melrose, Massachusetts. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on December 7, 1953, and was trained as an aircraft bomb navigation systems technician, serving at Lockbourne AFB, Ohio, from September 1955 to July 1959. SSgt Ford then served at Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico, until he was selected to attend Officer Candidate School at Lackland AFB, Texas, in January 1962. He was commissioned through OCS as a 2d Lt in the Air Force on June 22, 1962, and completed Undergraduate Navigator Training at Mather AFB, California, in July 1963. Lt Ford completed B-52 Stratofortress combat crew training in October 1964 and then served as a B-52 navigator with the 441st Bomb Squadron at Mather AFB from December 1965 to May 1967. During this time he flew combat missions in Southeast Asia from January to March 1966. Capt Ford next completed Navigation Reconnaissance upgrade training and then RF-4C Phantom II combat crew training before being assigned to the 11th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron of the 432nd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, where he flew combat missions out of Udorn Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, from September 1967 until he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on November 19, 1967. After spending 1,942 days in captivity, he was released during Operation Homecoming on March 14, 1973. Maj Ford attended Air Command and Staff College from August 1973 to June 1974, and then completed F-4 Weapons Systems Officer training before serving with the 614th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Torrejon AB, Spain, from June 1975 to May 1976. He then served as the Chief of the Operations Plans Division of the 401st Tactical Fighter Wing, also at Torrejon AB, from May 1976 to July 1978. His next assignment was as a U.S. Air Force Readiness Inspector for the Air Force Inspection and Safety Center from July 1978 to June 1980. After attending the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Col Ford served as Chief of the Air Force and Navy Section in the Liaison Office at Rabat, Morocco, from May 1981 to December 1983. His final assignment was as Director of Medical Plans and Readiness at the Malcolm Grow Medical Center at Andrews AFB, Maryland, from March 1984 until his retirement from the Air Force on January 1, 1985. David Ford died on October 1, 2013, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
His 1st (of 3) Silver Star Citation reads:
Captain David E. Ford distinguished himself by gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as an RF-4C Navigator over North Vietnam on 6 November 1967. On that date, Captain Ford displayed outstanding aerial competence and courageous professionalism in the aggressive pursuance and acquisition of the assigned targets. The tenacity of this officer to attain the objective against formidable defenses is in accord with the highest military standards. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Captain Ford has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.