EDINBURG – Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (D-15) honored retired United States Air Force colonel Norris Overly at the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Public Affairs luncheon.

Congressman Gonzalez presented Colonel Overly with a United States flag flown over the nation’s capital in his honor. He was also presented with a certificate commemorating the event.

Colonel Overly is a decorated Vietnam Veteran who was held as a Prison of War.  Colonel Overly flew missions in a B-57 Tactical Dive Bomber during the Vietnam War while based out of the Philippines. He was part of the 13th Tactical Air Command Bomb Squadron and was shot down on September 11, 1967 during a late-night mission. 

Upon his capture, he was transported and held as a Prisoner of War at the Hanoi Hilton and listed as Missing in Action throughout his captivity.

During Colonel Overly's captivity, Navy airman John McCain was shot down and became his cell mate.  Senator McCain credits Colonel Overly with saving his life during his captivity in Hanoi, as his physical injuries were life threatening during that time and Colonel Overly cared for his well-being.

After a year in captivity, Colonel Overly was released and returned to the United States where he was reunited with his wife, Ruth, and two children, Debbie and Mike. 

Colonel Overly attended the National War College in Washington DC and continued his military career as a full Colonel until his military retirement at the age of 48.  For his service, he was awarded the Purple Heart and the Silver Star.

Shortly after retiring at the age of 59 from a civilian job in California, Colonel Overly and his wife Ruth moved to Texas to be closer to their family.  They have called the Rio Grande Valley their home for the past 22 years.

Elva Jackson Garza, (Edwards Abstract and Title Co.) Mistress of Ceremonies commented “Thank you Colonel Overly for your service and we truly appreciate that you have joined us today. You are such an inspiration to all of us.”

Attending the Public Affairs Luncheon were Colonel Overly’s wife Ruth, his daughter in law Sandy and his son N. Michael Overly who is the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer for Edwards Abstract and Title Co.