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News ::
Another PoW experience - Man CAGED TWO YEARS in VN (english)
22 Feb 2003
The Hawaii 30 year celebration went very well. Except for some rain
the first few days, it was as nice as I remember it.
The Hawaii 30 year celebration went very well. Except for some rain
the> first few days, it was as nice as I remember it. While there, I agreed to talk to the 352nd Information Operations Squadron
> since my escort is from that Sqd.
To my surprise Maj. Robert White, USA
Ret. was also there and made a presentation to the 352nd.
His story was a revelation and astounded me. I will relate his story as I remember it:


In 1969 while flying with a LtCmdr over the delta in an OV-10, the
aircraft was hit at low altitude by ground fire. With smoke and fire
in
the cockpit, they both bailed out and landed near the beach while the
aircraft continued out to sea for about a mile before hitting the
water. They were captured very quickly and Bob was tied to a tree. A
cobra helo showed up a little later and Bob could see the pilots but
was
hidden in the foliage so they did not see him.
After a couple of months, the LtCmdr escaped and tried to swim for it
across a river. Bob never heard from him again. Bob lived in a cage
for
two years with the typical problems we would expect: malaria,
starvation,
vitamin deficiency etc.. The next year+, he was allowed out of the
cage
and was able to hunt for rats, birds, fish and other small animal with
the
snares the VC showed him how to make. It was a story of survival that

had not heard personally before.
Now the most interesting part: No one knew he was there except his
immediate captors. By accident, he heard about the POW release
conditions
from a small transistor radio the guard let him listen to. He knew
that
all the POWS were to be released in 60 days. After about 63 days, he
started agitating about still being there. The guards were willing to
pass
the info up the chain and sure enough, the NVN did not know he was
there. The US delegation was notified to see if they were interested
and
Roger Shields got involved. Roger set up the helo to pick him up and
Maj.
Robert White became the last POW to be released sometime in the first
part
of April. He had his own aircraft out of Vietnam, he had the Clark
hospital to himself, and he landed at Hickam AFB by himself (he said
about
300 people turned out to meet him at Hickam at 03:00).
After about three and one-half years by himself in the Delta, Bob still
prefers to be alone and on the fringes of our organization. He felt
uncomfortable at the ice-breaker and left very early despite my
suggestions
that he stay so I could introduce him around. Later, I informed all
the
POW's I could talk to that he was attending the reunion. Roger Shields
talked to him at length the next day and they relived their association
during his release. Over the next few days, we all talked to him with
off
and on to try to make him feel part of the group. Orson Swindle was
the
main speaker at the Saturday dinner at the O-Club. He related Bob's
story
to everyone there and Bob received a standing ovation from all present.
I had not heard of Bob White before going to Hawaii and I suspect most
of
you had not either. I still do not know him except for the info above.
He
did say that he was mostly ignored by the Army and felt he was an
embarrassment to the Army after he got back. I know he lives some place
in
Colorado and repairs clocks. He is one of us and had a very unique
story. Thought you would like to know.

Tom Norris
See also:
http://www.soft-vision.com/hanoi/
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