40th anniversary of Operation Homecoming
Remembering the release Vietnam POWs
- Duration 3:32
- Date Mar 8, 2013
Remembering the release Vietnam POWs
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Welcome back it has been forty years since 591.
American POWs were released from captivity in north Vietnam back to US custody in what was called operation homecoming.
-- is one of those remarkable man friend of FOX & Friends he was held as a Prisoner of War for over five years in Hanoi.
He's also the author of the book leading with honor and leadership lessons from the Hanoi Hilton.
Colonel we Ellis joins us this morning colonel welcome back to the show nice to see you.
Remind playing good to be here for years.
Down the road so to speak you have forty years when you look back and you think about this anniversary we usually think about.
We usually think about anniversaries is something we want to celebrate something positive.
We look at this we think about all of these American soldiers who were trapped there and held in the released something to celebrate that time weeks after the peace accords were signed.
Take us back to that moment what was going on in your mind and those of those other soldiers.
Well after five and a half years we were waiting to make sure it was really gonna happen because we didn't want to be too disappointed and we knew how negotiations can go.
But one day it did happen and John McCain and myself and about another 120 guys got on three C 140 once and came out.
Of Hanoi and were released and that was a great day.
So for some historical context the warhead officially and yes the peace accords were signed right and then -- negotiations began to have these soldiers released to -- over a period of few weeks take us through that.
Well the negotiation this was part of the Paris agreement that -- into the war but about every two weeks they would release a group of about a 10220.
From the first of February through the end of march analysis part common agreement.
The US withdrawing from the POWs coming home so tit for tat.
Now you're in the Hanoi Hilton you're hearing this information about what sort of information or -- -- being given as a Prisoner of War are you getting.
Little tidbits from fellow soldiers who have been released how -- you even receiving information.
We had one piece of information and that was crucial as part of the agreement Henry Kissinger negotiated that we would be given a copy of the protocol to the agreement Paris.
That dealt with the release of POW so we actually knew that they had to release us over a period of sixty days in accordance with the US final withdrawal.
What was the response from those soldiers boarding that aircraft when you're looking around -- other individuals.
I can amass as some in many many who were tortured or just horrible things and for American soldiers and and how Americans see you arrive back on American soil what was a response from the American public.
That time well first of all our response was caution until we actually got airborne and then we started cheering and yelling and screaming.
The American people actually turned out well for us everywhere we went so.
The POWs are probably the only group that got a great reception when we came home from the war we had a red carpet treatment so to speak all the way home and after we got home.
And even had a little parade in my hometown of commerce Georgia.
When you want most Americans this morning waking up watching us to remember about this.
I think the most important thing is -- remember freedom.
And the value of freedom and freedom the sacrifice they come -- required to have freedom you know I didn't see the stars.
For several years -- insists sunrise for several years to POWs that.
And to be able to have the freedom to walk out and to make choices.
To be with family to enjoy life and pursue the things who were able to do in this country.
That's what I want to remember.
Whether it will colonel Leo it's great to have you here this morning thank you for sharing thank you collect his.