Monday, January 21, 2019

Vietnam POW, author to speak at post's Memorial Day observance


Eugene McDaniel Portrait

Fort Belvoir’s Memorial observance is at 10 a.m. May 24 at the Cold War Memorial on Long Parade Field. Retired U.S. Navy Capt. Eugene B. “Red” McDaniel, author of “Scars and Stripes: The True Story of One Man’s Courage Facing Death as a POW in Vietnam,” is guest speaker.

“I feel it is a great opportunity for all Americans across all generations to gather and observe this special day of recognition, paying well-deserved tribute to those who have paid this ultimate sacrifice,” McDaniel said. “This is especially important for our younger generation to see their parents, grandparents, teachers, leaders, etc., gathering together in recognition of this special day of honor.”

During the observance, McDaniel said he will recount his story as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. “I will remind all listening that the freedom we all have and enjoy is a gift, a gift from God,” he said. “To live free is a responsibility we all share equally. And, this I know with certainty: to die free is an obligation.”

McDaniel’s A-6 Intruder aircraft was shot down May 19, 1967, while he was flying over North Vietnam. He was being held prisoner by the Hanoi government and had been listed as missing in action until 1970. He was a prisoner of war for six years until his release in 1973.

His book details his six-year ordeal as a prisoner in Vietnam, where he was tortured after attempting an escape with other prisoners.

After his release to the U.S., McDaniel was awarded the Navy Cross, the Navy’s highest award for bravery. He also received other medals, including two Purple Hearts, the Legion of Merit with Combat “V” and two Silver Stars.

Eventually, McDaniel continued serving in the military where he became commanding officer of the USS Niagara Falls and the USS Lexington. He was also the director of Navy/Marine Liaison to the U.S House of Representatives. He retired in 1982 and went on to found the American Defense Institute, which advocates for having a strong national defense.

“Memorial Day is an important reminder for us all to remember and pay tribute to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in defending our great nation and its values,” McDaniel said.


Search the Belvoir Site:

 Site Map   Interactive Customer Evaluation (ICE)   Find a Garrison
Important Notices

Website Mission, Privacy and Security    Operations Security Notice    Accessibility/Section 508
No Fear Act    FOIA
This Web site contains official Government information.