Mac's Facts no. 45 (Room 7, Hanoi Hilton)
November 17, 2001
Note: In late 2000, CAG Stockdale (Room 7 SRO) asked his old friend, By Fuller to provide a list of the roommates of Room 7, Hanoi Hilton as of Christmas 1970. The roommates of this room were extraordinary, both at the time of incarceration, and then later in freedom.
Room 7 had the first organized church service to be held in the prisons of North Vietnam. Permission was asked for by Stockdale, and twice denied by the Camp Commander. The room was warned not to do it. Room 7 decided to do it anyway. They even had a choir. Their solemn service quickly caught the eye of the guards and authorities. Armed guards rushed into the room to break up the "ominous" unauthorized meeting. Ringleaders, Risner, Coker and Rutledge were led out of the room with guards at each arm (they were headed for more Heartbreak Hotel, solitary confinement and lots of punishment). Bud Day was the one who then jumped up on his bed and started to sing "The National Anthem" and "God Bless America." The entire room burst into song. Then Rooms Six, Five, Four, Three, Two and One joined in succession.These songs of pride and defiance were loud enough to be heard outside the 15-foot walls of the Hanoi Hilton. As Robbie marched out the door, his back straightened with pride. He held his head high.
Robbie later recalled his thoughts as his roommates burst out in song, "I felt like I was nine feet tall and could go bear hunting with a switch." Thirty one years later, on November 16, 2001 a nine-foot tall bronze statue of Brigadier General Robinson Risner, USAF would be dedicated on the central plaza of the United States Air Force Academy. To Bud Day (principal speaker), Ross Perot (the sponsor of the project), and dozens of Robbie's Room-Seven roommates at the ceremony, it seemed more fitting to call the statue "life size." Photos: Dedication of B/Gen Robbie Risner's Statue - USAFA 16-18 November 2001
CAG, knowing what the V reaction would be, was heard to remark something to the effect, "Well, I guess we just can't stand prosperity." Our camp, yet unnamed, from that moment on became known as "Camp Unity."The guards protested, but the songs continued. Shortly thereafter, Vietnamese troops entered each room in force. They had their hats secured with chinstraps in place, they had fixed bayonets, and they were mad! They quickly backed the POWs against the walls with a bayonet in each POW's stomach. The singing immediately ceased as the troops burst through the doors. The V later claimed that they had put down a riot. It wasn't a real riot, but it was a lot of funÍuntil the soldiers entered the room. Several roommates of Room 7 were jerked out the next day. The next day, Orson Swindle in Room 6 tapped the following message on the wall: "Damn, you'd have to get in line to get in trouble in that crowd!!"
Thanks to By Fuller for the gut work of putting together this Mac's Facts. Paul Galanti and Mike McGrath assisted.This historical document is dedicated to a fearless leader, Vice Admiral Jim Stockdale. CAG, here's what the men of Room 7 accomplished:
Roster of "Room 7" on 26 December, 1970 (Hanoi Hilton):
Name: Shootdown rank: Days captive:
1. Brady, Al Cdr, USN 2236
2. Coker, George Lt (jg), USN 2381
3. Coskey, Ken Cdr, USN 1650
4. Craner, Bob (Deceased) Maj, USAF 1911
5. Crayton, Render LCdr, USN 2562
6. Crow, Fred LCol, USAF 2170
7. Crumpler, Carl LCol, USAF 1713
8. Daniels, Vern Cdr, USN 1966
9. Daughtrey, Norlan Capt, USAF 2751
10. Day, Bud Maj, USAF 2027
11. Denton, Jerry Cdr, USN 2766
12. Doremus, Rob LCdr, USN 2729
13. Dramesi, John Capt, USAF 2163
14. Dunn, Howie (Deceased) Maj, USMC 2624
15. Fellowes, Jack LCdr, USN 2381
16. Finlay, Jack LCol, USAF 1781
17. Franke, Bill Cdr, USN 2729
18. Fuller, By Cdr, USN 2060
19. Gillespie, Chuck (Deceased) Cdr, USN 1968
20. Guarino, Larry Maj, USAF 2801
21. Gutterson, laird Maj, USAF 1846
22. Hughes, Jim LCol, USAF 2130
23. James, Charlie Cdr, USN 1761
24. Jenkins, Harry (Deceased) Cdr, USN 2648
25. Johnson, Sam Maj, USAF 2494
26. Kasler, Jim Maj, USAF 2400
27. Kirk, Tom LCol, USAF 1964
28. Lamar, Jim LCol, USAF 2474
29. Larson, Swede LCol, USAF 2130
30. Lawrence, Bill Cdr, USN 2076
31. Ligon, Vern (Deceased) LCol, USAF 1942
32. McCain, John LCdr, USN 1966
33. McKnight, George Maj, USAF 2655
34. Moore, Mel Cdr, USN 2185
35. Mulligan, Jim Cdr, USN 2521
36. Pollard, Ben Maj, USAF 2120
37. Risner, Robbie LCol, USAF 2706
38. Rivers, Wendy LCdr, USN 2715
39. Rutledge, Howie (Deceased) Cdr, USN 2633
40. Schoeffel, Pete LCdr, USN 1988
41. Shumaker, Bob LCdr, USN 2923
42. Stockdale, Jim Cdr, USN 2713
43. Stockman, Hervey LCol, USAF 2093
44. Stratton, Dick LCdr, USN 2250
45. Tanner, Nels LCdr, USN 2338
46. Webb, Ron Capt, USAF 2093
47. Gary Anderson (Deceased) Lt (jg), USN 2151
Total days in captivity: 108,116
Man-years in captivity: 296.21
Here's a brief history of the 47 men:
5 Made Admiral rank (Stockdale O-9, Lawrence O-9, Shumaker O-8, Denton O-8,
1 Made General rank (Risner O-7)
40 Others stayed in the military and attained the following ranks: (USMC 1 Col--Dunn; Navy 1 Cdr--Coker; AF 1 LCol--Daughtrey; AF 19 Colonels--Craner, Crow, Crumpler, Day, Dramesi, Finlay, Guarino, Gutterson, Hughes, Kasler, Johnson, Kirk, Lamar, Larson, Ligon, McKnight, Pollard, Stockman, & Webb; Navy 18 Captains--Brady, Coskey, Crayton, Daniels, Doremus, Fellowes, Franke, Gillespie, James, Jenkins, McCain, Moore, Mulligan, Rivers, Rutledge, Schoeffel, Stratton, & Tanner. No. 47 yet to be determined.)
1 Became U.S. Congressmen (Johnson, Texas; McCain, Arizona).
2 Became U.S. Senators (Denton, Alabama; McCain, Arizona).
1 Was a Vice Presidential candidate (Stockdale).
1 Was a Presidential candidate (McCain).
2 Received the Medal of Honor (Stockdale, Day). Day resumed his career as a lawyer.
3 Received the Navy Cross (Denton, Coker, Fuller). (3 of the 4 POWs to receive this award were from this room. Red McDaniel was the 4th POW to receive the award).
4 Made escapes. All were recaptured, all were tortured. (Dramesi, Coker, McKnight, Day).
2 Were jet aces from the Korea War (Risner: 9 kills in F-86; Kasler: 6 kills in F-86).
1 First pilot to fly over Russia in U-2 spy aircraft (Stockman).
1 Was shot down 4-15-1944 in Germany. POW until April 1945. 26th mission in P-47 (Ligon)
1 Shot down 3 German planes during WW II. Flying British aircraft (Guarino). Flew 156 missions in Sicily, India, China and Indo-China.
1 Flew 62 missions in Korea War. Got credit for 1 kill, 1 damaged, 1 probable kill against
Mig ˝15s (Johnson).
7 Received the Air Force Cross (Kasler--3 awards; Risner--2 awards; Dramesi: 2 awards, Day, Kirk, Guarino & McKnight each received one award).
4 Were Navy Test Pilots (Stockdale, Lawrence, Gillespie, & Franke).
1 Flew with the Thunderbirds (Johnson).
11 Were USNA graduates (Brady '51, Denton '47, Fellowes '56, Fuller '51, Gillespie '51, Lawrence '51, McCain '58, Rivers '52, Schoeffel '54, Shumaker '56, & Stockdale '47).
2 Were Landing Signal Officers (LSOs); (Stockdale, Tanner).
1 Escaped the B-52 community and got into combat flying the F-105G (Larson).
1 Has a daughter who is an astronaut, gone into space three times (789 hours). She is presently in training as a crewmember of the International Space Station. (Lawrence).
1 Was a Navy Air Wing Commander (CAG): (Stockdale, (COMAIRGRU 16).
1 Commanded a Navy Carrier, USS America. Later became Battle Group Commander ˝CARGRU 4 Commander (Fuller).
10 Were Squadron Commanders (Coskey (VA-85), Day (TBD), Denton (VA-75), Franke, Fuller (VA-76), Gillespie, Jenkins VA-163), Lawrence (VF-143), Ligon (11th TRS) and Larson (469th TFS) when shot down), Schoeffel (VA-83).
5 Were Squadron Executive Officers (Daniels, Moore, Mulligan, Rutledge, & Brady). They were shot down before they could make Squadron Commander.
10 Authored books:
a. Day: Return With Honor.
b. Denton: When Hell Was In Session.
c. Dramesi: Code of Honor.
d. Guarino: A POW's Story: 2801 Days in Hanoi.
e. Johnson: Captive Warriors: A Vietnam POW's Story.
f. McCain: Faith of My Fathers.
g. Mulligan: The Hanoi Commitment.
h. Risner: The Passing of the Night.
i. Rutledge: In the Presence of Mine Enemies.
j. Stockdale: Courage Under Fire; In Love and War; A Vietnam Experience; Thoughts of a Philosophical Fighter Pilot.
4 Became Presidents/Commandants/Superintendents of institutions of higher learning: (Stockdale:President of the Citidel and President of the Naval War College; Lawrence: Superintendent of the USNA; Shumaker: Superintendent of the Naval Postgraduate School; and Í(TBD)Í; Denton: Commandant of Armed Forces Staff College).
2 Built their own airplanes: (Jenkins: Long EZ; Shumaker: Glassair).Pollard is currently flying sail planes.
1 Was the first active duty Naval Aviator to fly Mach II (Lawrence).
1 Was first Naval Aviator to land on an aircraft carrier in 0/0 fog with a newly developed Aircraft Carrier Landing System (Gillespie). Yes, it was an emergency low fuel state!
2 Naval Aviators were in the final selection groups (before shootdown) for the Mercury Astronaut Program (Lawrence, Shumaker).
Many of the members of Room 7 either served during wars prior to Vietnam, or who saw combat in theatres other than Vietnam:
Vern Ligon: USA Air Corps, 25 missions, P-47 pilot, POW in Stalag Luft 1, 1944-45, escaped once, recaptured.
Larry Guarino: USA Air Corps, 156 missions in Sicily, India, China and Indo-China. Spitfires.
Hervey Stockman: USA Air Corps. 68 missions, P-51.
Jim Kasler: USA Air Corps, 7 missions as tail gunner, B-29.
Harry Jenkins & Gordon Larson were Navy V5 cadetsÍand Fred Crow was an Army Air Corps aviation cadet when WW II ended.
Bud Day: Corporal, USMC, 30 months in south and central Pacific, April 1942-Nov 1945.
By Fuller and Carl Crumpler: Enlisted in US Navy summer of 1945. Saw boot camp by the end of WW II.
Fred Crow and Al Brady: were Navy dependents at Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.
Robby Risner: USAF, 108 missions, F-86. Mig Ace with 9 kills.
Jim Kasler: USAF, 100 missions, F-86, Mig Ace with 6 kills.
Howie Rutledge: USN, 200 missions, F9F-2 as a Flying Midshipman.
Harry Jenkins: Served aboard USS Fred T. Berry (DD-141) off coast of Korea. Flying Midshipman.
Tom Kirk: Flew missions in Korea (we need more information from Tom).
Larry Guarino: USAF, Air Defense Alert missions.
Jim Lamar: USAF, 100 missions in F-80 and P-51.
Wendy Rivers: Served on a destroyer off the coast of Korea.
Laird Gutterson: USAF, flew 60 missions, P-51.
Verlyne Daniels: Flew AD-4 missions, March-August 1953.
Sam Johnson: USAF, flew 62 missions, F-86, 1 kill, 1 probable, 1 damaged against Mig 15s.
Bud Day: USAF, air defense missions, F-84s.
Bill Lawrence: (F2H-3) and By Fuller (F9F-5) arrived off the coast of Korea in October 1953. They were flying off the USS Oriskany. Too lateÍthe war was over!
Fred Crow: Had various commands stateside during the Korean War.
Carl Crumpler: Flew F-86s at George AFB. War was over too soon for him to participate.
(We need more information from the men of this room to continue this paper. In particular, we need Air Force positions such as Wing Cdr, Base Cdr, Ops Officer, or other terms us Navy guys aren't familiar with. Please submit corrections or additions to: firstname.lastname@example.org).