POW HISTORY

Operation Homecoming was the return of 591 American prisoners of war (POWs) held by North Vietnam following the Paris Peace Accords that ended U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Repatriation of the POWs began on February 12, 1973 and continued through April 1973.

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The national organization of former Vietnam POWs (NAMPOWs.org) includes men who served in the Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Army. These remarkable men averaged more than 5 years of torture and inhumane treatment as POWs. As of July 2021, only 407 remain alive out of the original 662 military POWs. Seven of these men live in South Carolina.
 

This collective group of POWs (almost without exception) turned their captivity into a defining moment in their life into a positive impact that helped lead to many of their subsequent successful military and professional careers.
 

  • 80%+ of the NAM-POW group remained in military service after repatriation until retirement

  • Among the medals awarded to NAMPOW patriots for distinguished service on behalf of our country:

  • Medal of Honor – 8; Service Crosses – 42; Silver Star – 590+; Purple Heart – 1,249

  • More than 30 served in national/state political offices, as well as Ambassadors or Military Attachés.

  • After leaving the service many NAM-POW members became medical doctors, veterinarians, lawyers, CEOs, COOs, CFOs, Presidents of universities or corporations, airline pilots, etc.

  • Currently, nearly 200 published books have been authored by NAM-POW members.

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"P.O.W. Captivity" 1964-1973 - REEL History - Vietnam War Film 

Interview with Commander Everett Alvarez, Jr.

Navy Commander Everett Alvarez, Jr. (Ret.). discusses his eight and a half years captive in Vietnam, and the homecoming dinner President and First Lady Nixon hosted for the POWs at the White House. Alvarez was the first airman shot down to become a POW. He currently serves as the President of the NAMPOW organization.

Vietnam POW Ken Cordier Veteran Tales

Ken Cordier was an F-4 pilot during the Vietnam War. He was shot down by a S.A.M. and spent over six years in the Hanoi Hilton POW camp. He has one amazing story, and he is truly an American hero.

Hanoi Hilton' survivor Rear Admiral Robert Shumaker, U.S. Navy (Ret)

Robert Harper Shumaker is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy who went on to serve as rear admiral and naval aviator in the U.S. Navy. Shumaker is best known for his resilience as a prisoner during the Vietnam War, and for coining the phrase 'Hanoi Hilton,' in reference to the notorious North Vietnamese prison.

Naval History | Panel Discussion: Reflections on Captivity

Cdr Porter Halyburton (USN; Ret) and Col Fred Cherry (USAF; Ret) reflect upon their captivity in Vietnam. Their captivity occurred only 5 days apart. Fred Cherry starts his intro remarks @ 6:54 and Porter Halyburton @ 16:00. Col Cherry was the 43rd POW captured and the first black officer.

PRISONER OF HOPE - Hanoi Hilton ... 

Men who survived Hanoi Hilton with their heart, soul, mind, and strength intact.  They also survived their survival.  

 

This video truly highlights the POW experience.  It features former POWs who survived Hanoi Hilton with their heart, soul, mind, and strength intact. It also includes a powerful testimony to the power of Faith in Jesus Christ in dealing with an unimaginable situation. Men like Robert "Robbie" Risner, Jeremiah Denton, and Sam Johnson are featured in the video. Additionally, Fred Cherry, Eugene Webb "Red" McDaniel, Dr. Jim Milligan, Norm McDaniel, Porter Halyburton, Leo Thorsness, and Roger Ingvalson share their perspectives. 

 

Around the 42:35 mark in this video Robbie Riser (one of the POWs senior officers) talks about hearing the Star Spangled Banner being sung by his fellow POWs, as he is being led away for punishment after conducting a forbidden church service. What is not mentioned, H Ross Perot heard about that event and asked Riser how he felt. Riser replied, "I felt like I was nine feet tall and could go bear hunting with a switch."   Thirty-one years later, on November 16, 2001, a nine-foot-tall bronze statue of Brigadier General Robinson Risner, USAF would be dedicated on the central plaza of the United States Air Force Academy.  The statue would genuinely represent one of the Air Force's finest and that present and future USAFA cadets would have a role model and inspiration they will never forget.

Life At Hanoi Hilton | Navy Capt (ret) Mike McGrath 

LEE ELLIS POW Vietnam War F-4 Phantom Fighter Pilot

Lee Ellis, a 24-year-old American Air Force pilot, was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967, and spent six years in the hellish Hanoi Hilton POW camp with now-Senator John McCain. This is Lee's courageous true story, in his own words...