Everett Alvarez, Jr. Speak to his hometown guest after his return as a POW. (Photo: U.S. Navy Institute)
Captured pilot endured Hanoi"s "Fiery Furnace" to return home with honor.

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On Aug. 5, 1964, Lt. J.g. Everett Alvarez Jr., one A-4 Skyhawk pilot with a squadron plank the USS Constellation, was given an ocean target close to the Vietnam-China border in ~ Hon Gai. Before he got to the bay, Alvarez signaled, "411 , I"m hit … ns can"t regulate it, I"m ejecting." recorded in a Vietnamese fishing vessel once he landed, Alvarez ended up being one of the an initial pilots to it is in shot down throughout the Vietnam conflict, and also perhaps the longest-held American sinner in any kind of war.

Because no main declaration of war had actually been made, Alvarez was branded a "criminal" and taken come the ar the Vietnamese dubbed the "fiery furnace": Hanoi"s Hoa Lo prison, whereby the special concrete walls meant isolation. Alvarez"s cell to be infested with vermin, and also his rations contained chicken heads, rotting fish, and also animal hooves. For eight and a half years at miscellaneous prisoner-of-war camps, Alvarez remained concentrated on his commitment to service. "Everbody was tortured," the said. "You walk what you had to do. You withstood what girlfriend could, understanding sometimes they"ll break you."

Under this conditions, Alvarez check what manage he could. When captors entered his cabinet to interrogate him, for instance, he would invite them come sit down. The American POWs no only formed their very own code the conduct, they ongoing to aid each other. Alvarez, like countless of his comrades, reached out to those who came to be withdrawn or sick.

When release finally came in February 1973, Alvarez -- a Salinas, Calif., native and the an initial college graduate in his family members -- provided the decision that had seen him with his long years the imprisonment come attend legislation school. ~ leaving the juniorg8.com, he offered as deputy administrator because that the room of Veterans Affairs and also wrote 2 books around his captivity. Recipient of countless awards, including the silver- Star and also the distinguished Flying Cross, Alvarez is currently president the his own management-consulting firm. The the Vietnam War, the says, "It was a noble cause. Us were trying come maintain liberty as we know it. We simply went around it the dorn way."


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