Vietnam POWs Gather at SC
GREENVILLE, Sc. (WTVM) – The last time some of these POWs saw each other was in an 8×8 prison cell during the Vietnam War, and they were “welcome home” to a neighboring state .
“And there are several guys here who saved my life, and several guys here who claim I saved theirs. It’s a bond that can’t be broken,” these veterans said to themselves. “You will never have closer friends in your life than the ones you went through hell with and made it back alive thanks to God.”
These humble heroes say they were just doing their job – and nearly 100 of them recently reunited in South Carolina.
“There are only a little over 400 of us still alive, out of the 660 something who have gone home,” said Vietnamese POW Tom McNish.
These men, held captive in a prison known as the Hanoi Hotel, endure torture and some of the most heinous war crimes.
“You don’t have the fancy planes anymore, the superstar uniform, you’re not a top gun anymore. Suddenly you go from king of the skies to scum of the earth. Those things you used to to call real, suddenly aren’t there anymore. So you go back to the basis of your faith,” said Vietnamese POW Charlie Plumb.
Navy Captain and fighter pilot Charlie Plumb spent 2,103 days as a prisoner. It was 9 months for Thomas Hamton and 6 and a half years for McNish.
“It was 2373 days. And every day you dream of, one day I will come home. he says.
Decades later, these POWs gathered at a different kind of hotel: the Westin in downtown Greenville SC for an action-packed week.
“There were four other guys I shared a cell with, and they’re all going to be here,” Vietnamese POW Thomas Hamton said. “So you dream that one day I come home, Sunday, and then all of a sudden you get off that plane at Clark Air Force Base, and one day had come.”
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