Historical Highlight for August 13, 2023 – “The Son Tay Raid” – here’s a short historical fact from the history of the Vietnam war and the POW experience shared in the new ‘Captured by Love’ book:
The night of November 21, 1970 will always be a night to remember for Vietnam POWs. I was resting in the arms of the POW’s best friend—sleep. It was our escape from the harsh, crushing reality of the camp and from the pain of missing our families.
Suddenly we were awakened as the building shook from the explosions of a nearby air strike. Later we learned that it was a diversionary tactic for a raid on the Son Tay POW camp some 12 miles away.
Son Tay had housed 52 of us for the previous two years, but we had been moved to this new camp four months earlier. The move was a key step in the North Vietnamese strategy to improve their international image by housing us in a “showplace camp.”
The US raid, conducted by an elite team of Green Berets and Air Force specialists was brilliantly executed—but the camp was empty. Many people in America called this raid a failure, but you could never convince the POWs of that. For you see, it turned out to be the greatest unifying factor that ever happened to the prisoners in North Vietnam.
As a result of this raid, the V moved us back to the Hanoi Hilton—to an area that had previously held hundreds of Vietnamese prisoners. With 335 of us together in one camp, we were for the first time locked in cells of 40 to 60 guys each. That may seem uncomfortably cramped, but to us it was more exciting than any Christmas one could imagine! We could talk freely, play games, conduct classes, and hold church services.
The Green Berets and all those supporting that courageous undertaking are our heroes. They came deep into enemy territory to get us, and they left us a gift that kept on giving.
To all the Raiders, we say a big thank you, or as we soon learned during our language lessons in those big rooms: “Merci Beaucoup,” “Danke,” and “Muchas Gracias.”
Purchase your copy of ‘Captured by Love’ at powromance.com.