On National POWMIA Day, we remember the brave Americans throughout history who were captured by the enemy or are still missing and unaccounted for. In addition to my short video message below, here’s just one story that I wanted to share about Captain Brazelton.
Please watch and then see the continued message below the video –
Captain Mike Brazelton was shot down by flak on 7 August 1966 on his 120th combat mission and captured as a POW. Here was his message upon his release in March 1973 –
“After spending six and a half years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, it is an understatement to say that ‘It’s good to be home.’ The experience that I and my compatriots underwent was, without a doubt, a filthy, frustrating, boring, monotonous, heart-breaking, uncomfortable, and (many times) painful existence.
“The extraordinary praise that has been directed at us since our return is, we feel, undeserved. It seemed obvious that we should have conducted ourselves as we did while prisoners. As military officers and men we did nothing more than what was our duty.
“The tremendous and enthusiastic reception that was part of home-coming has made me super-proud that I am an American. After looking at the face of the enemy for a considerable period of time, there is no doubt in my mind that the United States is the paragon of freedom regardless of imperfections that may exist.
“Those of us who were prisoners during this conflict have as much esteem and respect for our countrymen who supported their POWs as Americans seem to have for us. That support and devotion greatly helped our morale and physical well-being. Without it, many of us would not have returned with the good health, both physical and mental, that we did. And, perhaps, some might not have returned at all.
“When I try to think of the most profound statement possible with which I can express my thoughts, all I can say is: ‘It’s good to be home!'”
For his heroic service he was awarded four Silver Stars, the Distinguished Flying Cross, eight Air medals and two Purple Hearts. He has 330 hours combat flying time. Col Mike Brazelton retired from the Air Force in 1987 and retired as an American Airlines captain in 2002.