Prisoners of War

Thirteen prisons and prison camps housed American prisoners of war in North Vietnam. As time went on, the fate of POWs became a subject of widespread concern in the United States: Hundreds of thousands of Americans wore POW bracelets, each engraved with the name, rank and capture date of one American serviceman imprisoned or declared missing in Vietnam. The overwhelming majority of prisoners of war in Vietnam were officers, mostly airmen.

James Rowe graduated from West Point in 1960. In 1963 he was sent to South Vietnam and assigned to a 5th Special Forces Group team that advised a Civilian Irregular Defense Group camp in the Mekong Delta. After only three months in-country, Rowe was captured by the Viet Cong, with whom he spent 62 months in captivity. During most of those years Rowe was held in a small bamboo cage. Despite being interrogated, Rowe managed to avoid revealing that he was an intelligence officer. The Viet Cong eventually discovered that he was an intelligence officer and decided to have him executed. The story of his escape and rescue is in this gripping autobiography.

James Rowe graduated from West Point in 1960. In 1963 he was sent to South Vietnam and assigned to a 5th Special Forces Group team that advised a Civilian Irregular Defense Group camp in the Mekong Delta. After only three months in-country, Rowe was captured by the Viet Cong, with whom he spent 62 months in captivity. During most of those years Rowe was held in a small bamboo cage. Despite being interrogated, Rowe managed to avoid revealing that he was an intelligence officer. The Viet Cong eventually discovered that he was an intelligence officer and decided to have him executed. The story of his escape and rescue is in this gripping autobiography.

Captain James Shively joined the Air Force in 1964. In 1966, he started flying the F-105 Thunderchief out of Takhli Royal Thai Air Base in Thailand. In May 1967 his jet was shot down in action near Hanoi, whereupon he ejected, landed in a rice paddy and was captured. He was paraded through the streets of Hanoi and subjected to weeks of interrogation and torture. He was then transferred to the infamous old French prison known as the "Hanoi Hilton", where he remained until his release on February 18, 1973. This biography was written by none other than James Shively's stepdaughter, based on audio recordings and journals kept by her stepfather, wherein he described the brutal treatment endured at the hands of the enemy.

Captain James Shively joined the Air Force in 1964. In 1966, he started flying the F-105 Thunderchief out of Takhli Royal Thai Air Base in Thailand. In May 1967 his jet was shot down in action near Hanoi, whereupon he ejected, landed in a rice paddy and was captured. He was paraded through the streets of Hanoi and subjected to weeks of interrogation and torture. He was then transferred to the infamous old French prison known as the "Hanoi Hilton", where he remained until his release on February 18, 1973. This biography was written by none other than James Shively's stepdaughter, based on audio recordings and journals kept by her stepfather, wherein he described the brutal treatment endured at the hands of the enemy.

Dieter Dengler was a German-born U.S. Navy aviator. In 1965 his squadron joined the aircraft carrier USS Ranger, which wound up in the South China Sea for operations against North Vietnam. In February 1966, only one day after his carrier began to fly missions, his plain was shot down over Laos by anti-aircraft fire. On the following day he was captured by the Pathet Lao (Laotian communists). Following six months of truly horrific conditions in a Pathet Lao prison camp, where he endured different types of torture, Dieter Dengler and six other prisoners made an escape attempt, which only he and one other escapee survived. He was rescued after 23 days on the run, becoming the first U.S. airman to escape enemy captivity during the Vietnam War.

Dieter Dengler was a German-born U.S. Navy aviator. In 1965 his squadron joined the aircraft carrier USS Ranger, which wound up in the South China Sea for operations against North Vietnam. In February 1966, only one day after his carrier began to fly missions, his plain was shot down over Laos by anti-aircraft fire. On the following day he was captured by the Pathet Lao (Laotian communists). Following six months of truly horrific conditions in a Pathet Lao prison camp, where he endured different types of torture, Dieter Dengler and six other prisoners made an escape attempt, which only he and one other escapee survived. He was rescued after 23 days on the run, becoming the first U.S. airman to escape enemy captivity during the Vietnam War.

In 1965, Lance Sijan completed studies at the U.S. Air Force Academy and finished pilot training. He was then sent to Da Nang Air Base in South Vietnam, where he flew the F-4 Phantom. In November 1967, on a bombing mission over Laos, a plane malfunction caused him to eject. Despite suffering a fractured skull and other injuries, he was able to evade enemy forces for 46 days, during which Sijan could only move by sliding on his rear-end and his back. Despite terrible pain from his wounds and beatings and torture by his captors, Sijan only disclosed information required by the Geneva Conventions. Lance Sijan contracted pneumonia and died in the "Hanoi Hilton" in January 1968 and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

In 1965, Lance Sijan completed studies at the U.S. Air Force Academy and finished pilot training. He was then sent to Da Nang Air Base in South Vietnam, where he flew the F-4 Phantom. In November 1967, on a bombing mission over Laos, a plane malfunction caused him to eject. Despite suffering a fractured skull and other injuries, he was able to evade enemy forces for 46 days, during which Sijan could only move by sliding on his rear-end and his back. Despite terrible pain from his wounds and beatings and torture by his captors, Sijan only disclosed information required by the Geneva Conventions. Lance Sijan contracted pneumonia and died in the "Hanoi Hilton" in January 1968 and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

When Hell was in Session
By Admiral Jeremiah Denton

Jeremiah Denton's memoir recounts seven years and seven months of grueling conditions as an American prisoner of war. Four of those years were spent in solitary confinement. He was captured by the North Vietnamese in July 1965, after the A-6 Intruder he was piloting on a U.S. Navy bombing mission over North Vietnam was shot down. During a 1966 press conference televised from Hanoi, Denton famously used the opportunity to send a distress message confirming for the first time that American POWs in North Vietnam were being mistreated. Feigning trouble with the blinding television lights, Denton blinked in Morse code, spelling out the word "t-o-r-t-u-r-e".

Jeremiah Denton's memoir recounts seven years and seven months of grueling conditions as an American prisoner of war. Four of those years were spent in solitary confinement. He was captured by the North Vietnamese in July 1965, after the A-6 Intruder he was piloting on a U.S. Navy bombing mission over North Vietnam was shot down. During a 1966 press conference televised from Hanoi, Denton famously used the opportunity to send a distress message confirming for the first time that American POWs in North Vietnam were being mistreated. Feigning trouble with the blinding television lights, Denton blinked in Morse code, spelling out the word "t-o-r-t-u-r-e".

This is the story of "The Alcatraz Gang", a group of eleven American prisoners of war held in solitary confinement from October 1967 to December 1969 at a special facility about a mile from the infamous "Hanoi Hilton". The facility was dubbed "Alcatraz" by James Stockdale, who spent seven years as a North Vietnamese prisoner and would go on to become a U.S. Navy Vice Admiral after his release. The Alcatraz Gang had been singled out for their particular resistance and were subjected to special torture sessions. “Defiant” tells the harrowing story of these eleven POWs and of their wives, who formed the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia to call attention to the plight of POWs and those who had been declared missing in action.

This is the story of "The Alcatraz Gang", a group of eleven American prisoners of war held in solitary confinement from October 1967 to December 1969 at a special facility about a mile from the infamous "Hanoi Hilton". The facility was dubbed "Alcatraz" by James Stockdale, who spent seven years as a North Vietnamese prisoner and would go on to become a U.S. Navy Vice Admiral after his release. The Alcatraz Gang had been singled out for their particular resistance and were subjected to special torture sessions. “Defiant” tells the harrowing story of these eleven POWs and of their wives, who formed the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia to call attention to the plight of POWs and those who had been declared missing in action.

On September 20, 1965, Captain Thomas J. Curtis and three crewmen departed Nakhon Phanom Airbase in Thailand in a "Huskie" helicopter, on a rescue mission for the pilot of a F-105 Thunderchief fighter-bomber which had crashed about 10 miles east of Laos, in North Vietnamese territory. In the vicinity of the downed pilot, the Huskie took enemy ground fire and crashed on a ridge, whereupon the entire crew was captured by the enemy. Curtis and two others were in the Hanoi prison system as early as 1967 and remained there until their release in 1973. In "Under the Cover of Light", Curtis shares the full story of his 2,703 days in captivity and what he learned about the power of the human spirit.

On September 20, 1965, Captain Thomas J. Curtis and three crewmen departed Nakhon Phanom Airbase in Thailand in a "Huskie" helicopter, on a rescue mission for the pilot of a F-105 Thunderchief fighter-bomber which had crashed about 10 miles east of Laos, in North Vietnamese territory. In the vicinity of the downed pilot, the Huskie took enemy ground fire and crashed on a ridge, whereupon the entire crew was captured by the enemy. Curtis and two others were in the Hanoi prison system as early as 1967 and remained there until their release in 1973. In "Under the Cover of Light", Curtis shares the full story of his 2,703 days in captivity and what he learned about the power of the human spirit.