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>What Became of The Heroes of The Hanoi Hilton?

Here’s a brief history of the 47 men in captivity in the Hanoi Hilton when John McCain was there. James Stockdale (left) went on to become an Admiral, along with four others mentioned below.

5 Made Admiral rank (Stockdale O-9, Lawrence O-9, Shumaker O-8, Denton O-8, Fuller O-8).

1 Made General rank (Risner O-7)

40 Others stayed in the military and attained the following ranks: (USMC 1 Col–Dunn; Navy 1 Cdr–Coker; AF 1 LCol–Daughtrey; AF 19 Colonels–Craner, Crow, Crumpler, Day, Dramesi, Finlay, Guarino, Gutterson, Hughes, Kasler, Johnson, Kirk, Lamar, Larson, Ligon, McKnight, Pollard, Stockman, & Webb; Navy 18 Captains–Brady, Coskey, Crayton, Daniels, Doremus, Fellowes, Franke, Gillespie, James, Jenkins, McCain, Moore, Mulligan, Rivers, Rutledge, Schoeffel, Stratton, & Tanner.

1 Became U.S. Congressmen ( Johnson , Texas ; McCain , Arizona ).

2 Became U.S. Senators ( Denton , Alabama ; McCain , Arizona ).

1 Was a Vice Presidential candidate (Stockdale).

1 Was a Presidential candidate (McCain).

2 Received the Medal of Honor (Stockdale, Day). Day resumed his career as a lawyer.

3 Received the Navy Cross ( Denton , Coker, Fuller). (3 of the 4 POWs to receive this award were from this room. Red McDaniel was the 4th POW to receive the award).

4 Made escapes. All were recaptured, all were tortured. (Dramesi, Coker, McKnight, Day).

2 Were jet aces from the Korea War (Risner: 9 kills in F-86; Kasler: 6 kills in F-86).

1 First pilot to fly over Russia in U-2 spy aircraft (Stockman).

1 Was shot down 4-15-1944 in Germany . POW until April 1945. 26th mission in P-47 (Ligon)

1 Shot down 3 German planes during WW II. Flying British aircraft (Guarino). Flew 156 missions in Sicily, India , China and Indo-China.

1 Flew 62 missions in Korea War. Got credit for 1 kill, 1 damaged, 1 probable kill against Mig 15s (Johnson).

7 Received the Air Force Cross (Kasler–3 awards; Risner–2 awards; Dramesi: 2 awards, Day, Kirk, Guarino and McKnight each received one award).

4 Were Navy Test Pilots (Stockdale, Lawrence, Gillespie, & Franke).

1 Flew with the Thunderbirds (Johnson).

11 Were USNA graduates (Brady ’51, Denton ’47, Fellowes ’56, Fuller ’51, Gillespie ’51, Lawrence ’51,
McCain ’58, Rivers ’52, Schoeffel ’54, Shumaker ’56, & Stockdale ’47).

2 Were Landing Signal Officers (LSOs); (Stockdale, Tanner).

1 Escaped the B-52 community and got into combat flying the F-105G (Larson).

1 Has a daughter who is an astronaut, gone into space three times (789 hours). She is presently in training as a crewmember of the International Space Station. ( Lawrence ).

1 Was a Navy Air Wing Commander (CAG): (Stockdale, (COMAIRGRU 16).

1 commanded a Navy Carrier, USS America. Later became Battle Group Commander ñCARGRU 4 Commander (Fuller).

10 Were Squadron Commanders (Coskey (VA-85), Day (TBD), Denton (VA-75), Franke, Fuller (VA-76), Gillespie, Jenkins VA-163), Lawrence (VF-143), Ligon (11th TRS) and Larson (469th TFS) when shot down), Schoeffel (VA-83).

5 Were Squadron Executive Officers (Daniels, Moore, Mulligan, Rutledge, & Brady). They were shot down before they could make Squadron Commander.

10 Authored books:

a. Day: Return With Honor.

b. Denton : When Hell Was In Session.

c. Dramesi: Code of Honor.

d. Guarino: A POW’s Story: 2801 Days in Hanoi .

e. Johnson: Captive Warriors: A Vietnam POW’s Story.

f. McCain: Faith of My Fathers.

g. Mulligan: The Hanoi Commitment.

h. Risner: The Passing of the Night.

i. Rutledge: In the Presence of Mine Enemies.

j. Stockdale: Courage Under Fire; In Love and War; A Vietnam Experience; Thoughts of a Philosophical Fighter Pilot.

4 Became Presidents/Commandants/Superintendents of institutions of higher learning: (Stockdale:President of the Citidel and President of the Naval War College ; Lawrence: Superintendent of the USNA; Shumaker: Superintendent of the Naval Postgraduate School ; and (TBD); Denton : Commandant of Armed Forces Staff College).

2 Built their own airplanes: (Jenkins: Long EZ; Shumaker: Glassair). Pollard is currently flying sail planes.

1 Was the first active duty Naval Aviator to fly Mach II (Lawrence).

1 Was first Naval Aviator to land on an aircraft carrier in 0/0 fog with a newly developed Aircraft Carrier Landing System (Gillespie). Yes, it was an emergency low fuel state!

2 Naval Aviators were in the final selection groups (before shootdown) for the Mercury Astronaut Program (Lawrence, Shumaker).

Many of the members of Room 7 either served during wars prior to Vietnam , or who saw combat in theatres other than Vietnam


Vern Ligon: USA Air Corps, 25 missions, P-47 pilot, POW in Stalag Luft 1, 1944-45, escaped once, recaptured.

Larry Guarino: USA Air Corps, 156 missions in Sicily , India , China and Indo-China. Spitfires.

Hervey Stockman: USA Air Corps. 68 missions, P-51.

Jim Kasler: USA Air Corps, 7 missions as tail gunner, B-29.

Harry Jenkins and Gordon Larson were Navy V5 cadets and Fred Crow was an Army Air Corps aviation cadet when WW II ended.

Bud Day: Corporal, USMC, 30 months in south and central Pacific, April 1942-Nov 1945.

By Fuller and Carl Crumpler: Enlisted in US Navy summer of 1945. Saw boot camp by the end of WW II.

Fred Crow and Al Brady: were Navy dependents at Pearl Harbor , December 7, 1941.

Korea :

Robby Risner: USAF, 108 missions, F-86. Mig Ace with 9 kills.

Jim Kasler: USAF, 100 missions, F-86, Mig Ace with 6 kills.

Howie Rutledge: USN, 200 missions, F9F-2 as a Flying Midshipman.

Harry Jenkins: Served aboard USS Fred T. Berry (DD-141) off coast of Korea . Flying Midshipman.

Tom Kirk: Flew missions in Korea (we need more information from Tom).

Larry Guarino: USAF, Air Defense Alert missions.

Jim Lamar: USAF, 100 missions in F-80 and P-51.

Wendy Rivers: Served on a destroyer off the coast of Korea .

Laird Gutterson: USAF, flew 60 missions, P-51.

Verlyne Daniels: Flew AD-4 missions, March-August 1953.

Sam Johnson: USAF, flew 62 missions, F-86, 1 kill, 1 probable, 1 damaged against Mig 15s.

Bud Day: USAF, air defense missions, F-84s.

Bill Lawrence: (F2H-3) and By Fuller (F9F-5) arrived off the coast of Korea in October 1953. They were flying off the USS Oriskany. Too late the war was over!

Fred Crow: Had various commands stateside during the Korean War.

Carl Crumpler: Flew F-86s at George AFB. War was over too soon for him to participate.

Magnificent men, whether in acockpit, in a cell, or at a desk.Provided to show that, regardless of thecircumstances, some are never defeated, only temporarily delayed.

“All of this and some SOB says, “getting shot down and captured does not qualify someone to be president” – but supposedly another with 143 days in congress does qualify? What a country – but how long will we stand at this rate?”