3:27 | Col. Lee Ellis (ret.) gives details about the infamous Hoa Lo Prison, better known as "The Hanoi Hilton," where US servicemen were kept as Prisoners Of War.
Keywords : Hoa Lo Prison POW(Prisoner of War) blacksmith
Col. Lee Ellis (ret.) recalls the airbase at Da Nang coming under rocket fire on his first night.
Col. Lee Ellis (ret.) goes through the mission that led to his capture by NVA forces.
Col. Lee Ellis (ret.) is moved from his landing site to a small village where he meets up with his flight leader, who had also been captured.
Col. Lee Ellis (ret.) recalls the moment he faced death at the hands of the NVA, or so he thought.
Col. Lee Ellis (ret.) narrowly escapes being killed by locals when his NVA escort secretly moves him out of town.
Col. Lee Ellis (ret.) recalls numerous times when he and the men who captured him had to survive aerial bombing by American forces.
In a medium sized village, on the way to Hanoi, Col. Lee Ellis (ret.) witnesses a Communist Party rally and is almost done in by the frenzied communists.
Col. Lee Ellis (ret.) remembers the first interrogation he suffered at the hands of the NVA, and how remarkably frightening their first impression was.
While incarcerated at the Hanoi Hilton, Col. Lee Ellis (ret.) and his cellmates have to make a tough decision about a Marine Lt. Colonel who is cooperating with the enemy.
The RPG that severed Joe McDonald’s foot didn’t kill him. The machine gun fire that hit him as he still tried to help others didn’t kill him. The grenade taped to his hand might have killed him if the VC had found his hiding place.
As Marine Captain Ron Christmas fought to regain the city of Hue, he found the enemy adept at concealment and surprise. Every soldier in a spider hole was armed with a rifle and a RPG launcher. He also encountered a nun with an AK-47. His action during this time earned him the Navy Cross.
In a letter home, Tommy Clack expressed his worry that something bad was going to happen and it did when his unit engaged the NVA near the Cambodian border. He saw the enemy soldier stand and fire the RPG that changed his life forever.
When getting the orders to join his Combined Action Platoon, Doc Groulx thought through the idea of helping his wounded soldiers make it home alive and decided it was worth it. Making relationships with the Vietnamese people was essential to their success as a group.
There are certain memories and sensations that bring Bob Averill back to the Vietnam War and, though they were hard times, he has some memories that he won't forget. Thinking back on the war, he would like future generations to remember the sacrifices that were made by everyone involved.
Sgt. Tracy Sheils never had to pull rank. He had rank, meaning his men respected him and carried out his orders. His mother was concerned about his brothers getting drafted and sent to Vietnam and so was Sheils. He didn't think they had the makeup to survive in that war, unlike the Marines in his unit.
After Khe Sanh, Bob Averill and his division shipped down to Cam Lo, where they faced ample NVA fire. Here, he had to take the lead on throwing a grenade into the enemy bunker, leading to a close call as he quickly retreated away from the blast.
He thought it was hot when he stopped in Hawaii, but when Tracy Sheils got to Vietnam, he found out what hot really is. His 2nd night there, the base was targeted in a rocket attack. That's when he found out what scared really is. Soon, he would see action in Hue and the A Shau Valley, and earn a combat promotion.
His one trip to the hospital was memorable. Fed up with the chaos and screaming, Tracy Sheils couldn't wait to get back to his unit. He talks about surviving an ambush, how he took up smoking and why that was a good thing, and why his flak jacket was worthless.
After some intense time in-country, Bob Averill and his battalion got the chance to take a brief leave to the beach for some recovery time. Following his time on Hill 174, Averill was reassigned to command a Combined Action Company, taking him away from Hotel Company and into a new area of operations.
To Tracy Sheils, Vietnam was not a bad thing and it had a noble purpose, stopping the spread of Communism. He had to go home in civilian clothes to avoid any trouble and it did not sit well with him. Neither does the prosecution of Americans such as Lt. William Calley.