Emotional Display Sheds Insight Into Life Of POWs
Aero-News has learned a
dramatic new exhibit at the National Museum of the United States
Air Force in Dayton, OH allows vistors to get a rare glimpse into
the lives of prisoners of war. The exhibit, titled "Return with
Honor: American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia," located in the
museum's Modern Flight Gallery, is now open to the public.
Visitors enter the exhibit next to a reproduced doorway to the
"Hanoi Hilton," the name given by Americans to Hoa Lo Prison.
Photographs, videos, dioramas and artifacts tell the story of
prisoner torture, political exploitation, filthy living conditions
and endless attempts at communist indoctrination.
Visitors can look inside re-created, life-size prison cells for
an up-close picture of POW living conditions. Several artifacts,
including handmade games, rings, cigarette cases and clothing that
were created by the prisoners during their confinement, also are on
"We are extremely honored to have an exhibit that pays tribute
to the courage and bravery exemplified by these POWs," said museum
director retired Maj. Gen. Charles D. Metcalf. "The POW story is
one that ignites emotion and this exhibit will give visitors a
greater understanding of the inhumane conditions the POWs
The exhibit also features a Son Tay prison camp rescue raid
Although the raiders in November 1970 found that the prison camp
did not hold any POWs, the raid proved a success in other ways. A
daring raid so close to Hanoi showed that the United States had the
will to carry out exceptional operations to ensure POW well-being.
POW morale soared on account of the raid.
The exhibit also highlights the story of US forces' final combat
in Southeast Asia, which occurred in May 1975 when the American
cargo ship SS Mayaguez was seized by the Cambodian Khmer Rouge navy
while it was in international waters.
Featured in this display are a life ring from the Mayaguez, and
a beret worn by one of the pararescuemen who participated in the
As Aero-News reported last
week, the last C-141 Starlifter -- the "Hanoi Taxi" --
is also on display at the museum.