Archive for the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ Category

‘Survivor’ McCain, Ever the Gentleman, Concedes and Congratulates Obama

November 5, 2008

If there is one word that has encapsulated the life and career of Sen. John McCain, it is “survivor.”

Three times as a Navy pilot, he crashed planes he was flying; three times he walked away without a scratch. Once, when sitting in his jet on the deck of the USS Forester,[sic] (the ship was USS Forrestal) a rocket from another plane hit his plane, which exploded. Mr. McCain scurried through the flames; 134 other men died.

And when he ejected from his jet over Hanoi, breaking both arms and a leg, he fell into a lake but was pulled out by Vietnamese, who beat him unconscious. Given up for dead – he weighed less than 100 pounds at one point during 5 1/2 years of imprisonment in the “Hanoi Hilton” – he survived once more.

By Joseph Curl
The Washington Times

“This guy is literally unkillable,” a top aide said the night in January when the senator from Arizona pulled off a stunning upset in New Hampshire, propelling him on a path that would end with the Republican nomination for president.

But even he could not rise above what faced him this election – a toxic environment for Republicans, with an unpopular, even despised, President Bush, a late-campaign economic meltdown that favored Democrats, and a man who seemed from the outset destined to be president, the first black nominee, who also had more money to spend that any other candidate in history.

“It is highly doubtful that anyone will ever have to run in a worse political climate than the one John McCain had to run in this year,” Steve Schmidt, Mr. McCain’s top strategist, said aboard the Straight Talk Express as his boss flew back Tuesday from his final campaign rally.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain concedes defeat ...
 Republican presidential candidate John McCain concedes defeat to Democrat Barack Obama during his election night rally at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona.(AFP/Mandel Ngan)

“The president’s approval numbers, you know, were not helpful in the race, but the party as a whole is unpopular with the American people and that was a big albatross,” Mr. Schmidt said.

He said Mr. McCain is not to blame for the loss. “I don’t think there’s another Republican the party could have nominated that could have made this a competitive race the way that John McCain did.”

Mr. McCain had said repeatedly that whatever the outcome Tuesday, he is “the luckiest man in the world.”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/nov/04
/mccain-concedes-congratulates-obama/

See video of John Mccain concession:
http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/player/popup/?rn=3906861&cl=10538690&ch=4226716&src=news

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U.S. Navy Hero, Medal of Honor Man, POW Honored

November 3, 2008

By Naval Academy Public Affairs

The U.S. Naval Academy dedicated a bronze statue of former Vietnam prisoner of war and Medal of Honor recipient Vice Adm. James B. Stockdale, Oct. 31, with the Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable David C. Winter as keynote speaker.

“It would be difficult to imagine a better example of leadership, courage and moral excellence than the example set by Vice Adm. James Stockdale,” said Winter.

Stockdale, a native of Abingdon, Ill., graduated from the Naval Academy in 1947. On Sept. 9, 1965, Stockdale was the commanding officer of Carrier Air Group Commander 16 (CAG-16). He catapulted from the deck of USS Oriskany (CV/CVA-34) for a strike mission over North Vietnam. While returning from the target area, Stockdale’s A-4 Skyhawk was hit by anti-aircraft fire. He ejected, breaking a bone in his back, and upon landing in a small village, he badly dislocated his knee. His injuries went untreated and eventually left him with a fused knee joint and a very distinctive gait.

Stockdale was held in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton,” where he spent seven years as the highest ranking naval officer and leader of American resistance against North Vietnamese attempts to use prisoners for propaganda purposes. Despite being kept in solitary confinement for four years, in leg irons for two years, physically tortured more than 15 times, denied medical care, and malnourished, Stockdale organized a system of communication and developed a cohesive set of rules governing prisoner behavior.

“Admiral Stockdale was a great leader who built others up and never put them down,” said Ross Perot, a friend of Stockdale and a Class of 1953 Naval Academy graduate who donated the statue.

Stockdale was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Gerald Ford in 1976. A highly decorated naval officer, he wore 26 personal combat decorations, including two Distinguished Flying Crosses, three Distinguished Service Medals, two Purple Hearts, and four Silver Star medals in addition to the Medal of Honor.

James Stockdale Formal Portait.jpg

“Nobody wins the Medal of Honor. They earn it. He earned it the hard way,” said Perot, who selected Stockdale as his running mate during the 1992 presidential campaign. “He earned the Medal of Honor for his leadership by example and setting high standards for all the others who served with him in prison.”

Stockdale retired from the Navy in 1978 after serving as the president of the Naval War College. In 1979, the Secretary of the Navy established the Vice Admiral Stockdale Award for Inspirational Leadership, presented annually in both the Pacific and Atlantic fleets.

In 1998, the Secretary of the Navy authorized the founding of the Center for the Study of Professional Military Ethics at the U.S. Naval Academy, later renamed the Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership, with a mission “to promote and enhance the ethical development of current and future military leaders through education, research and reflection.”

Stockdale, a member of the Navy’s Carrier Hall of Fame, was the only vice admiral in the history of the Navy to wear both aviator wings and the Medal of Honor. In 2001, he was awarded the Naval Academy Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Award.

“If Admiral Stockdale were here with us today, I believe that it would give him immense pride in seeing this gathering, and knowing that this statue will play a role in guiding and inspiring future leaders in the Navy and Marine Corps,” said Winter.

Stockdale passed away in July 2005 and was laid to rest at the Naval Academy Cemetery. Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. William Crowe and then Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Mullen delivered the eulogies. In May of this year, USS Stockdale (DDG 106) was christened in his honor.

Stockdale at sea during the war in Vietnam

Admiral Stockdale’s Medal of Honor Citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while senior naval officer in the Prisoner of War camps of North Vietnam. Recognized by his captors as the leader in the Prisoners’ of War resistance to interrogation and in their refusal to participate in propaganda exploitation, Rear Adm. Stockdale was singled out for interrogation and attendant torture after he was detected in a covert communications attempt. Sensing the start of another purge, and aware that his earlier efforts at self-disfiguration to dissuade his captors from exploiting him for propaganda purposes had resulted in cruel and agonizing punishment, Rear Adm. Stockdale resolved to make himself a symbol of resistance regardless of personal sacrifice. He deliberately inflicted a near-mortal wound to his person in order to convince his captors of his willingness to give up his life rather than capitulate. He was subsequently discovered and revived by the North Vietnamese who, convinced of his indomitable spirit, abated in their employment of excessive harassment and torture toward all of the Prisoners of War. By his heroic action, at great peril to himself, he earned the everlasting gratitude of his fellow prisoners and of his country. Rear Adm. Stockdale’s valiant leadership and extraordinary courage in a hostile environment sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

Related:
What Kind Of Men Were With John McCain In The Hanoi Hilton? Men of Character….

What Kind Of Men Were With John McCain In The Hanoi Hilton? Men of Character….

October 17, 2008

One former Prisoner of War (PoW) said of his Hanoi Hilton experience, “We watched John McCain work through torture.  He tormented his communist captors.  We knew he had great character and he’d be O.K……

Meet Fellow POW Bud Day

By John E. Carey

George E. “Bud” Day served the United States through three wars. After quitting High School he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps for World War II. He served 30 months in the South Pacific. After the war, he used his GI Bill benefits to become a lawyer and a pilot.

During the Korean War Bud Day served two tours flying F-84 fighters.


Above: USAF F-84E Thunderjet

During the Vietnam War he was shot down, captured by the Communists, escaped, and lived for two weeks off the land and in the jungle before he was captured again.

Bud’s Medal of Honor Citation reads:“On 26 August 1967, Col. Day was forced to eject from his aircraft over North Vietnam when it was hit by ground fire. His right arm was broken in 3 places, and his left knee was badly sprained. He was immediately captured by hostile forces and taken to a prison camp where he was interrogated and severely tortured. After causing the guards to relax their vigilance, Col. Day escaped into the jungle and began the trek toward South Vietnam. Despite injuries inflicted by fragments of a bomb or rocket, he continued southward surviving only on a few berries and uncooked frogs. He successfully evaded enemy patrols and reached the Ben Hai River, where he encountered U.S. artillery barrages. With the aid of a bamboo log float, Col. Day swam across the river and entered the demilitarized zone. Due to delirium, he lost his sense of direction and wandered aimlessly for several days. After several unsuccessful attempts to signal U.S. aircraft, he was ambushed and recaptured by the Viet Cong, sustaining gunshot wounds to his left hand and thigh. He was returned to the prison from which he had escaped and later was moved to Hanoi after giving his captors false information to questions put before him. Physically, Col. Day was totally debilitated and unable to perform even the simplest task for himself. Despite his many injuries, he continued to offer maximum resistance. His personal bravery in the face of deadly enemy pressure was significant in saving the lives of fellow aviators who were still flying against the enemy. Col. Day’s conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Armed Forces.”

Col. Day in dress uniform.

Bud Day is one of my American heroes. He is among a special class of people some Americans can never understand. To me, Bud Day is one of those Americans we can never thank enough.

We honor every single man and woman who ever wore the uniform of the United States on Veterans’ Day. We honor those now gone and those still living. But in one way, I think of Veterans’ Day as “Bud Day Day!”

But Bud is humble and would never hear of it. In fact, he may be a tad embarrassed by this essay.

But Bud teaches us never to give up. This is a most precious gift to many in life. By telling ones self to “Always Persevere,” the largest challenges in life can be overcome.

Bud is the most highly decorated U.S. serviceman since Douglas MacArthur. Because he always persevered.

I interviewed Bud and his wife of fifty-seven years, Doris, for this Veteran’s Day tribute.

When George Day strapped himself into his F-100 on 26 August 1967 for a mission over Vietnam, he had no idea he was about to start a six year odyssey of a prisoner of war.

F-100A with the original short tail fin.

He was a 41 year old veteran of combat in World War II and Korea.

He was in the Vietnam War by choice: at his age and with his experience he could have retired or taken a desk job.

“I went because it was my duty,” Bud told me. “That’s where I needed to be. I had more flying hours than anyone in Southeast Asia. I needed to be there.”

Doris still recalls that day, the day a chaplain, a U.S. Air Force notification officer and a woman from the base Family Services organization notified her that Bud had been shot down. “They were very nice, very professional.”

Among veterans and military people there are so many Bud Day stories, all of them true, that there isn’t room to publish all of them here. One of my favorites is this.

In February, 1971 Bud and several other prisoners at the Hoa Loa camp gathered for a religious service, which was forbidden. The guards burst into the group, carbines at the ready. Bud Day stood calmly and began to sing “The Star Spangled Banner”, our National Anthem. Commander James Bond Stockdale, the highest ranking prisoner, joined in. The entire camp erupted to the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Later Stockdale would write, “Our minds were now free and we knew it.”

Fittingly, five years later, the President of the United States presented the Medal of Honor to Bud Day and his friend James Stockdale in one ceremony.

Mr. Carey is a retired military officer and the former president of International Defense Consultants, Inc.

This was first published in:
The Washington Times
Veterans’ Day November 11, 2006


Above: The late Admiral James Stockdale was also with John McCain in Hanoi

Rank and organization: Rear Admiral (then Captain), U.S. Navy. Place and date: Hoa Lo prison, Hanoi, North Vietnam, 4 September 1969. Entered service at: Abingdon, Ill. Born: 23 December 1923, Abingdon, Ill..

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while senior naval officer in the Prisoner of War camps of North Vietnam. Recognized by his captors as the leader in the Prisoners’ of War resistance to interrogation and in their refusal to participate in propaganda exploitation, Rear Adm. Stockdale was singled out for interrogation and attendant torture after he was detected in a covert communications attempt. Sensing the start of another purge, and aware that his earlier efforts at self-disfiguration to dissuade his captors from exploiting him for propaganda purposes had resulted in cruel and agonizing punishment, Rear Adm. Stockdale resolved to make himself a symbol of resistance regardless of personal sacrifice. He deliberately inflicted a near-mortal wound to his person in order to convince his captors of his willingness to give up his life rather than capitulate. He was subsequently discovered and revived by the North Vietnamese who, convinced of his indomitable spirit, abated in their employment of excessive harassment and torture toward all of the Prisoners of War. By his heroic action, at great peril to himself, he earned the everlasting gratitude of his fellow prisoners and of his country. Rear Adm. Stockdale’s valiant leadership and extraordinary courage in a hostile environment sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

F-4 Phantom II in flying.jpg

McCain: Taking the Low Road to Win?

October 11, 2008

Here’s one view:

By Harold Ford Jr.
The Washington Post
Saturday, October 11, 2008; Page A21

Although our nation’s economic house is on fire, John McCain isn’t unveiling proposals to put out the fiscal flames. Instead, he is pursuing the presidency by taking the low road, as he and his surrogates attack Barack Obama in harsh, personal terms. It’s hard to believe this is the same man who in 2004 said of the Swift-boat attacks against John Kerry: “I deplore this kind of politics. I think the ad is dishonest and dishonorable.”

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. ... 
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. waves at a rally at the Genoa Park and Amphitheater in Columbus, Ohio, Friday, Oct. 10, 2008.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

In fact, after McCain lost the Republican nomination to George Bush in 2000, he declared that there was a “special place in hell” for the Bush operatives who had run a smear campaign against him. By adopting the same approach against Obama, McCain diminishes his reputation and raises questions about his commitment to fairness and decency.

I know that John McCain is a man of courage and character. His ability to overcome the torture he endured at the hands of his North Vietnamese captors is a tribute to his strength and to the human spirit. But as Americans yearn for a president to lead us courageously into an uncertain future, McCain appears to be abandoning his creed of putting country first.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/
2008/10/10/AR2008101002558.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

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“I have to tell you. Sen. Obama is a decent person and a person you don’t have to be scared of as president of the United States,” Senator John McCain told a supporter at a town hall meeting in Minnesota who said he was “scared” of the prospect of an Obama presidency and of who the Democrat would appoint to the Supreme Court.

Read other views of this:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20081011/pl_politico/14479_2

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081011/ap_on_el_pr/obama_23

Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain reacts after ...
Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain reacts after a question from a supporter during a town hall meeting in Waukesha, Wisconsin October 9, 2008.(Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Asked Why He Missed Woodstock in ‘69; McCain Says “I Was Tied Up At The Time”

April 25, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Visiting in Inez, Kentucky, Senator John McCain was asked yesterday why he missed the Woodstock “mucical and pharmacalogical” event in 1969.  The Senator, in his sometimes humorous and understated way, said, “I was tied up at the time.”

Actually, Navy Lieutenant and Naval Aviator John McCain was a “guest” of the communist North Vietnam government in 1969.  Sometimes we have to remind youngsters that the Hanoi Hilton’s room service often involved torture.
McCainWithSquadron.jpg
McCain the fighter pilot with his shipmates. 

I recently interviewed some men who served for the government of South Vietnam who reflected upon imprisonment and torture.  One, in a beautiful understatement not unlike Senator McCain’s, just shook his head “No” and said, “Situation not happy.  Not at all happy.”

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McCain Speaks In Inez, Ky 

By Juliet Eilperin and Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, April 24, 2008; Page A06
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INEZ, Ky., April 23 — Sen. John McCain stood before a small crowd in this tiny Appalachian town with the same mission he has had all week: convincing what he calls “forgotten” voters who are traditionally hostile to his party that he is a different kind of Republican.

“You just expect us to show a decent concern for your hard work and initiative, and do what we can to help make sure you have opportunities to prosper from your labor,” he told a packed courthouse Wednesday, not far from the coal mines that provide most of the jobs here.

Earlier this week, McCain sought to assure African Americans in Selma, Ala., that he is committed to helping places ignored by “sins of indifference and injustice.” On Tuesday, he sympathized with workers in the fading factory town of Youngstown, Ohio. And on Thursday, he is scheduled to tour the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, where residents continue to struggle in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

McCain is reaching out to voters in these Democratic strongholds to try to build the broad, center-right coalition that aides believe is necessary for him to become president. Advisers do not think Republicans alone can elect McCain, given how many have become disenchanted with President Bush and his policies.

McCain’s “Time for Action” tour is less about specific proposals; those will come later, advisers said. The important part, they said, is for McCain to lay the groundwork in places such as Inez to credibly claim that he cares about the people who live on the edge of the modern economy. In effect, McCain is launching Version 2.0 of Bush’s “compassionate conservative” campaign.

McCain is not likely to have an easy time of it. Appealing to blacks and rural Democrats may be difficult as job losses and gas prices have made the economy the leading issue on voters’ minds. McCain’s economic plan is heavy on tax breaks for big business and admonishments about not relying on the federal government for help. He proposes a cut in corporate income taxes from 35 to 25 percent, help for companies who depreciate equipment and other incentives.

“The Democrats do more for our area,” said Rhonda York, who works for a day-care provider and is married to a coal miner. “Right now, it’s extremely hard, with four dollars for gas.”

In his speech Wednesday, McCain offered none of the promises of government help that President Lyndon Johnson did when he declared war on poverty in Inez 44 years ago. Instead, McCain vowed to enact tax cuts that he said will spur job growth, incentives for companies to bring high-speed Internet here, and job training for displaced workers.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-
dyn/content/story/2008/04/23/
ST2008042303253.html?hpid=topnews

McCain is Our Sort Of Guy

March 23, 2008

Let’s review the choices: we have a man who sat in a pew and worshiped with a pastor who is anti-American and anti-White.  This lasted for twenty years.

The Senator cannot divide himself from this man because he is a member of the Black Community.

We have a woman who has adored power so much she couldn’t wait to get her hands on the health care system when her husband became president.  But she was clueless about reaching out, building coalitions and making teams — so the effort crashed and burned in a big way.

And then we have John McCain.  He chose to be a fighter pilot — a dangerous and formidable line of work.  That profession got him into a prisoner of war camp — and into a life of torture.  He not only entered the life of the POW — he was a the role model for how good men might conduct themselves.

The communists said, after they found out that his dad was an Admiral, “You can go.”  McCain chose to stay with his countrymen.
McCainWithSquadron.jpg
McCain the fighter pilot with his shipmates.  Where are the photos of Obama and Hillary with their shipmates? 

John McCain served admirably in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.  His detractors say he reached way across the aisle too much to the likes of Ted Kennedy.

That is why we like this man.

Obama continues to hug a pastor with too little redeaming good — and we write this on Easter.  He is the “Pastor Disaster.”  But Mr. Obama refuses to get a divorce. Even when he really needs one.  We favor loyalty, usually.  We put a high regard on those that honor their shipmates.  But not when the pastor is a disaster — not when he is a racist and preaches hate.
 
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, shown here with his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.

And Hillary, is, well, Hillary.  A Little Rock attorney of merit that linked herself forever to Bill.  There seems to be a certain lack of character there, depending upon what your definition of “is” “is.”

Her “boy” James Carville called Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico “Judas,” today, Easter Sunday.

Mr. Richardson replied, “I’m not going to get in the gutter like that.”

“And you know, that’s typical of many of the people around Senator Clinton. They think they have a sense of entitlement to the presidency,” said the one time Ambassodor to the U.N. 

US. Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain is ... 

“I faced in Vietnam, at times, very real threats to life and limb,” McCain said. “But while my sense of honor was tested in prison, it was not questioned.”
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John McCain as he came home from Hanoi.

US Republican candidate John McCain visits the Western Wall ...
US Republican candidate John McCain visits the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
(AFP/Menahem Kahana)

Vietnam showcases McCain at “Hanoi Hilton”

March 5, 2008
By Grant McCool

HANOI (Reuters) – In the prison everyone calls the “Hanoi Hilton,” artifacts in glass cabinets and black-and-white photographs on the walls recall the historic link between Republican presidential candidate John McCain and Vietnam.

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Vietnamese are mostly reticent about their views on U.S. politics, but they know the story very well of U.S. Navy pilot John McCain’s plane being shot down in 1967 over Hanoi and how he was dragged out of a lake to spend 5- years as a prisoner of war.The Hoa Lo prison, dubbed the “Hanoi Hilton” by the Americans, is now a museum and was visited by Senator McCain in 2000. Most of the complex was torn down a few years ago to make way for an apartment and office tower complex.

The Hoa Lo prison, dubbed the “Hanoi Hilton” by the Americans, is now a museum and was visited by Senator McCain in 2000. Most of the complex was torn down a few years ago to make way for an apartment and office tower complex.

McCain and other veterans such as Democratic Senator John Kerry were instrumental in helping the U.S. government establish diplomatic relations in 1995 with their former enemies, 20 years after the end of the Vietnam War.

“He conducted activities that had a positive impact on bringing the two nations closer,” said retired Colonel Nguyen Van Phuong, 81, who headed a Vietnamese delegation in 1973 that negotiated with the U.S. on the repatriation of American prisoners of war, including McCain.

“That is a point that Vietnamese people who follow current affairs do recognise,” the greying, uniformed Phuong said in an interview in his modest house along a narrow lane in Hanoi.

McCain clinched the Republican presidential nomination, U.S. media projected on Tuesday, capturing enough support nationwide to be the party’s candidate in the November election.

At the prison whose entrance still bears the words “Maison Centrale” from the 1899-1954 period it was used by French colonial rulers to imprison Vietnamese independence fighters, tourists pull up regularly in buses to walk around.

 

 

FLIGHT SUIT DISPLAYED

The flight suit and other gear worn by McCain when he was shot down on October 26, 1967 is propped up in a glass cabinet with a caption that has recently been updated.

“After returning to his country, John McCain became the Republican Senator from Arizona and he is currently a candidate in the 2008 election,” the caption says.

Exhibits describe the heavy bombing of Hanoi and say the POWs were treated well, but McCain says he was put in solitary confinement, beaten and tortured.

By coincidence, Pete Peterson, another former POW who became the first U.S. ambassador to Vietnam in 1995, visited the prison museum on Sunday with a group of American business executives.

Peterson told Reuters Television that McCain “understands the benefits of having a friend rather than an enemy sitting out in a very sensitive part of the world”.

Without mentioning the U.S. war in Iraq and the inevitable comparisons that have been made, the former envoy said: “It’s just a very sensitive time in America’s history and it will be interesting to see how the election turns out.”

Chuck Searcy, a veteran who has made his home in Vietnam since the mid-1990s, said he hoped if McCain became U.S. President, his ties to the Southeast Asian country would help with wartime legacies.

“Landmines and unexploded ordnance which litter the countryside and which have impeded economic development and recovery, that might be enhanced,” said Searcy, who works on the issue through representing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

“We might get further along the road with the thorny issue of agent orange.”

Studies have shown the compound of dioxin, a component of “agent orange” herbicides sprayed by the United States during the war, is still present in so-called “hot spots” at levels hundreds of times higher than would be accepted elsewhere.

(Additional reporting by Nguyen Van Vinh)

Clinton Ally Belittles McCain’s POW Time

March 3, 2008

By Charles Hurt and Carl Campanile
The New York Post

March 3, 2008 — WASHINGTON – One of Hillary Rodham Clinton‘s best-known supporters, feminist author Gloria Steinem, belittled John McCain‘s ordeal as a prisoner of war and the torture he endured as a captured Navy airman.

“I mean, hello?” Steinem told a Texas crowd Saturday night as she was discussing McCain’s captivity by the Viet Cong.

“This is supposed to be a qualification to be president? I don’t think so,” The New York Observer quoted her as saying.

The red-faced Clinton campaign quickly denounced Steinem’s remarks.

“Senator Clinton has repeatedly praised Senator McCain’s courage and service to our country,” campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson said.

McCain senior adviser Mark Salter said that the Republican’s 51/2 years in captivity indeed made him more qualified to be commander-in-chief.

“Would you put your country before your own life? Check. Can you perform under great stress? Check. Does it test your courage? Check,” Salter said.

Steinem’s slap at McCain’s service in Vietnam came during a “Women for Hillary” campaign event in Austin on Sunday night.

Her anti-military riff was part of her claim that the press has a gender-based bias against Clinton.

“Suppose John McCain had been Joan McCain and Joan McCain had got captured, shot down and been a POW for eight years,” she said.

“Reporters would ask, ‘What did you do wrong to get captured? What terrible things did you do while you were there as a captive for eight years?’ ” Steinem said.

She went on to slam military experience in general – an unusual tactic in a state with some of the country’s largest military installations.

“I am so grateful that she hasn’t been trained to kill anybody,” Steinem said of Clinton.

Vietnam veteran McCain back from the dead … again

January 9, 2008

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (AFP) – Vietnam veteran Senator John McCain, who triumphed in Tuesday’s Republican New Hampshire primaries, was a proven survivor long before he entered the cut-throat world of politics. 

Shot down as a naval aviator over North Vietnam in 1967, McCain spent more than five years in a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp, including two years in solitary confinement in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.”

Polls show that while McCain has never led among the Republican field nationally, voters see him as the Republican presidential candidate most capable of defeating a Democratic rival to win the White House in 2008.

The 71-year-old was leading in the vote for the Republican nomination, on 37 percent, with 91 percent of precincts reporting late Tuesday, with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney second on 32 percent.

“My friends, you know, I’m past the age when I can claim the noun ‘kid,’ no matter what adjective precedes it. But tonight, we sure showed them what a comeback looks like,” McCain told his cheering supporters.

“Tonight we have taken a step, but only the first step toward repairing the broken politics of the past and restoring the trust of the American people in their government,” he said, to chants from the crowd of “The Mac Is Back!”

But McCain knows from bitter experience that the game is not over yet as he chases the Republican nomination to stand in the elections and succeed President George W. Bush.

In 2000, he was poised for victory, having won over Republicans here only to fall at the next hurdle to Bush in South Carolina, crashing out of the race.

This time, McCain has already been forced to strip back his campaign after he was left trailing in the summer in the crucial fund-raising battle.

But he won an important boost in Iowa last week, coming in third even though he had not campaigned heavily in the state, which helped re-energize his campaign and propel him to first place in New Hampshire.

Perhaps the biggest handicap he now faces is his age. If he wins the election, he would become the nation’s oldest ever president, entering the White House in January 2009 at the age of 72.

John Sidney McCain was born August 29, 1936 in the Panama Canal Zone — formerly under US jurisdiction — and was raised moving from one military post to another.

Both his grandfather and father were naval officers, so it was no surprise that at 17 he enrolled in the naval academy.

The brutal treatment he suffered as a prisoner of war — his injuries from being tortured still prevent him from raising his arms high enough to comb his hair — marked him for life.

His wartime experiences forged a man of unshakeable convictions, who remains a maverick at heart, criticized at times for a quick temper and a tendency to make unfortunate, off-the-cuff remarks.

“I didn’t go to Washington … to get along or to play it safe to serve my own interests,” he said in his speech Tuesday evening. “I went there to serve my country.”

“I learned long ago that serving only one’s self is a petty and unsatisfying ambition,” added McCain, who won his first race for the House of Representatives in 1982 and captured a Senate seat in 1986.

Despite his long-term loyalty to Bush, McCain was one of the first Republicans to attack the White House policy on Iraq, saying not enough troops had been committed to the 2003 invasion.

And despite the wave of anger at the war here, he was one of the first to call for more troops to be deployed there.

He is also one of the rare Republicans to favor reforming the immigration system, and for years has campaigned for fiscal reform and spoken out on global warming.

He is fiercely opposed to any use of torture by the United States in its “war on terror.” But in many other areas, he remains a dyed-in-the-wool conservative, opposing abortion, gay marriage and stricter gun control laws.

In his 1999 autobiography “Faith of My Fathers,” McCain listed what he considers the three greatest mistakes in his life: a forced confession under torture when he was a prisoner, his role in a banking scandal and his infidelity in his marriage to his first wife.

She was disabled in a car accident and McCain admits that his “wandering” led to their divorce. He re-married in 1980 and now has seven sons.

Related:
McCain Resurects Vietnam POW Experience With Video

Meet “Bud” Day; Read His Medal Of Honor Story

November 6, 2007

By John E. Carey

George E. “Bud” Day served the United States through three wars. After quitting High School he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps for World War II. He served 30 months in the South Pacific. After the war, he used his GI Bill benefits to become a lawyer and a pilot.

During the Korean War he served two tours flying F-84 fighters.

USAF F-84E Thunderjet

During the Vietnam War he was shot down, captured by the Communists, escaped, and lived for two weeks off the land and in the jungle before he was captured again.

Bud’s Medal of Honor Citation reads:“On 26 August 1967, Col. Day was forced to eject from his aircraft over North Vietnam when it was hit by ground fire. His right arm was broken in 3 places, and his left knee was badly sprained. He was immediately captured by hostile forces and taken to a prison camp where he was interrogated and severely tortured. After causing the guards to relax their vigilance, Col. Day escaped into the jungle and began the trek toward South Vietnam. Despite injuries inflicted by fragments of a bomb or rocket, he continued southward surviving only on a few berries and uncooked frogs. He successfully evaded enemy patrols and reached the Ben Hai River, where he encountered U.S. artillery barrages. With the aid of a bamboo log float, Col. Day swam across the river and entered the demilitarized zone. Due to delirium, he lost his sense of direction and wandered aimlessly for several days. After several unsuccessful attempts to signal U.S. aircraft, he was ambushed and recaptured by the Viet Cong, sustaining gunshot wounds to his left hand and thigh. He was returned to the prison from which he had escaped and later was moved to Hanoi after giving his captors false information to questions put before him. Physically, Col. Day was totally debilitated and unable to perform even the simplest task for himself. Despite his many injuries, he continued to offer maximum resistance. His personal bravery in the face of deadly enemy pressure was significant in saving the lives of fellow aviators who were still flying against the enemy. Col. Day’s conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Armed Forces.”

Col. Day in dress uniform.

Bud Day is one of my American heroes. He is among a special class of people some Americans can never understand. To me, Bud Day is one of those Americans we can never thank enough.

We honor every single man and woman who ever wore the uniform of the United States on Veterans’ Day. We honor those now gone and those still living. But in one way, I think of Veterans’ Day as “Bud Day Day!”

But Bud is humble and would never hear of it. In fact, he may be a tad embarrassed by this essay.

But Bud teaches us never to give up. This is a most precious gift to many in life. By telling ones self to “Always Persevere,” the largest challenges in life can be overcome.

Bud is the most highly decorated U.S. serviceman since Douglas MacArthur. Because he always persevered.

I interviewed Bud and his wife of fifty-seven years, Doris, for this Veteran’s Day tribute.

When George Day strapped himself into his F-100 on 26 August 1967 for a mission over Vietnam, he had no idea he was about to start a six year odyssey of a prisoner of war.

F-100A with the original short tail fin.

He was a 41 year old veteran of combat in World War II and Korea.

He was in the Vietnam War by choice: at his age and with his experience he could have retired or taken a desk job.

“I went because it was my duty,” Bud told me. “That’s where I needed to be. I had more flying hours than anyone in Southeast Asia. I needed to be there.”

Doris still recalls that day, the day a chaplain, a U.S. Air Force notification officer and a woman from the base Family Services organization notified her that Bud had been shot down. “They were very nice, very professional.”

Among veterans and military people there are so many Bud Day stories, all of them true, that there isn’t room to publish all of them here. One of my favorites is this.

In February, 1971 Bud and several other prisoners at the Hoa Loa camp gathered for a religious service, which was forbidden. The guards burst into the group, carbines at the ready. Bud Day stood calmly and began to sing “The Star Spangled Banner”, our National Anthem. Commander James Bond Stockdale, the highest ranking prisoner, joined in. The entire camp erupted to the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Later Stockdale would write, “Our minds were now free and we knew it.”

Fittingly, five years later, the President of the United States presented the Medal of Honor to Bud Day and his friend James Stockdale in one ceremony.

Mr. Carey is a retired military officer and the former president of International Defense Consultants, Inc.

This was first published in:
The Washington Times
Veterans’ Day November 11, 2006