The Battle Behind Bars: Navy and Marine POWs in the Vietnam War (The U.S. Navy and The Vietnam War)
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The unconventional nature of the war and the unforgiving environment of Southeast Asia inflicted special hardships on the Vietnam-era POWs, whether they spent captivity in the jungles of the South, or the jails of the North. This book describes their experiences - the similarities and the differences - and how the POWs coped with untreated wounds and other malaises, systematic torture, and boredom. The creative strategies they devised to stay fit, track time, resist the enemy, communicate with one another, and adhere to a chain of command attest to the high standards of conduct in captivity that so distinguish the POWs of the Vietnam War.
Vietnam to doubt Washington’s resolve. Communication served to boost morale and combat loneliness, delivering much needed encouragement and companionship, but it also supplied vital practical information that made possible organized resistance in the northern prisons. While prisoners cherished even moments of idle conversation, a functioning communication system allowed them to exchange coping tips, share observations on a particular camp’s personnel and procedures, and learn from one another how
roof, and landscaped the property. After I had carefully furnished the home, I sold it, took my profit, and began the entire process once again.” Bob Shumaker spent 12 to 14 hours a day building and rearranging his dream house: "I’d buy all the lumber and materials. . . . I knew how many bricks were in it; how much it weighed; the square footage. . . .” Danny Glenn planned his residence down to the location of joists and studs and the exact gauge of the electric wire. Plumb remembered being
Keats, recalling favorite passages or verses and tapping out excerpts and sometimes whole stories to appreciative colleagues. To better know his indoctrinators and keep his mind disciplined, Ray Vohden, given occasional access to the camp “library,” read all 43 volumes of Lenin’s works while imprisoned at the Zoo. For all the breadth of their interests, it would be a patent exaggeration to depict the prisoners’ conversational moments as dominated by discussions of Faulkner and quantum
incompetence and neglect may have been exaggerated. Post-repatriation health evaluations revealed instances, however isolated, where enemy practitioners displayed surprising skill and attentiveness; these included at least two successful appendectomies. However primitive enemy medical care was by American standards, the captors' interventions doubtlessly did in some cases save lives. Lieutenant George Coker testified to how vulnerable the POWs were in so unsanitary an environment, where “the
discourage U.S. had come down to a test of political will rather than bombing of the installation. Among the Navy POWs military might, Hanoi sought to exploit the POWs in who turned up as hostages at the power plant, which a way that deepened the divide among Americans. the Americans named “Dirty Bird” for the blanket Such was the context in which the North Vietnamese of coal dust and general filth that pervaded the established yet another POW camp in the spring of place, were 1967 shootdowns