Retired Air Force Col Carlyle “Smitty” Harris was shot down over Vietnam on 4 April 1965. He spent nearly eight years as a Prisoner of War.
He recently published a book entitled Tap Code, based on the method of communication the POWs employed in the Hanoi Hilton. In an interview with the local Daily Journal in Tupelo, Harris said
There were times – too many to count – when a Read more
The Stars and Stripes chronicles the return of retired US Air Force Col Lee Ellis to the Hanoi Hilton — the infamous POW prison that housed him for more than two of the six years of his capture.
Other memories came floating back — leg irons and handcuffs, rubber sandals to make it difficult to escape, a steady diet of pumpkin soup alternating with months of cabbage soup, and a first meal as a prisoner of fish heads and rice, which apparently was standard fare for new captives. Before missions, pilots used to joke with each other to be careful or they’d be eating fish heads that night. Read more
US Rep Sam Johnson (R-Tx), a Vietnam era Air Force fighter pilot, wrote at the Christian Post that attacks on religious liberty in the United States “resemble my time in the Hanoi Hilton.”
You see, I endured painful torture at the hands of communists. I brutally experienced what it’s like to truly lose the privilege to worship as you see fit. As a prisoner of war in Vietnam for almost seven years, more than half of that time in solitary confinement, I withered away in a cellblock so isolating it could only be called Alcatraz.
Referring to a report by Senator Ted Cruz, Johnson says Read more
“Eat everything they give you, no matter how disgusting; it’ll keep you alive. You’ve just been tortured, and that’s not the end of it; resist to the limits of your sanity, or to permanent physical damage. You’ll know when you get there.” And he concluded: “And pray; if you haven’t been, start. We’re going to get through this, and I’ll see you when it’s over.”
General Robbie Risner, prisoner of war and the Senior Ranking Officer in the Hanoi Hilton, to newly arrived POW Gen Charles G. Boyd, 1963.
Kind of makes you wonder what those POWs would think of the Air Force removing a Bible from their POW/MIA table. Read more
General Mark Welsh, US Air Force Chief of Staff, announced that retired BGen James Robinson “Robbie” Risner passed away this week.
In a cruel twist of timing, the poster pulled down by USAFA last week (because it offensively said “so help me God”) was of BGen Risner’s F-100F, the “Spirit of St Louis II” — in which he crossed the Atlantic as Charles Lindbergh did, but in only 6 hours. (The aircraft remains on static display in front of the USAFA Prep School.)
BGen Risner is probably most famous for his time as a POW in Vietnam’s infamous Hanoi Hilton — where he roomed with other well-known men like Col Bud Day and LtCdr John McCain. BGen Risner, then a LtCol, was the ranking POW and the leader of the men in the prison — and it turns out he might have had an opinion on that “God and honor” thing going on at USAFA [emphasis added]:
When asked what kept him going throughout his imprisonment, Risner said in a 2004 interview on CNN Larry King Live that his survival was due to exercise and his “faith in God and Read more
Retired Col Lee Ellis, whose outstanding book Leading with Honor made the Recommended list here as well as General Mark Welsh’s professional reading list, recently addressed cadets at the US Air Force Academy as part of the 2013 National Character and Leadership Symposium.
A prisoner of war held in the “Hanoi Hilton” for five and a half years shared his compelling story of imprisonment and success with cadets…
Retired Col. Lee Ellis was held captive along with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and others after his plane was shot down Nov. 7, 1967.
Col Ellis shared his perspective on purpose, passion, Read more