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'Reflections on Captivity' tells story of Navy lieutenant assumed dead who survived as a POW

American prisoners being paraded through the streets in Hanoi in 1977. (Courtesy of the Naval Institute photo archive)
American prisoners being paraded through the streets in Hanoi in 1977. (Courtesy of the Naval Institute photo archive)

50 years ago, Navy lieutenant junior grade Porter Halyburton was one of 591 prisoners of war who would be released and returned to the U.S. For a year and a half, Halyburton was listed as “killed in action” after being shot down over North Vietnam.

But he was actually alive, and he survived captivity as a prisoner of war for 7 years, 3 months and 28 days, enduring brutal torture and isolation.

He tells his remarkable story in his recent book, “Reflections on Captivity” and joins Here & Now‘s Jane Clayson.

Porter Halyburton’s mother arranged for this tombstone when she heard he had been killed in action. (Courtesy of Porter Halyburton)

Porter Halyburton (left) and Col. Fred V. Cherry, USAF (right) were imprisoned together and remained friends after being released. (Courtesy of Porter Halyburton’s mother arranged for this tombstone when she heard he had been killed in action. (Courtesy of Porter Halyburton)

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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