The isolated POW Camp Faith (Dan Hoi) was situated nine miles to the west of Hanoi, North Vietnam. This renovated complex, consisting of refurbished barracks and communication facilities, was inaugurated in July 1970 when prisoners from the Zoo Annex and Plantation POW camps were moved from Hanoi while restrained in buses with blacked-out windows. Simultaneously, all 52 POWs from the Son Tay POW camp were also relocated to this site.
Conditions at Camp Faith adhered to the Geneva Convention Agreements more than any other camp. The facility was comprised of six separate compound buildings, each surrounded by 16-foot-high walls. Within each building there were five large cells capable of holding 10 to 20 prisoners each. The rooms were freshly white-washed and furnished with individual beds. Large open but barred windows provided ample air circulation. Only four of the six compounds were utilized to house the newly arrived 220 POWs from the other camps.
Within each compound, the newly adopted “open door policy” enabled prisoners to participate in a range of activities. However, the four occupied compounds were treated differently. The Vietnamese were continuing to experiment with their “step-by-step” policy of trying to entice the POWs to resist less and to lessen their hostile attitudes. In exchange, the captors would increase privileges and improve treatment. The POW groups were experimentally being treated like laboratory rats as their captors carefully study the results of differing policies.
Some compounds were allowed to play basketball, exchange mail, move about freely, and congregate with others. Others were not.
Better food was provided, including bananas and oranges every other day. Flour was added to thicken the soup which was still served twice daily. Medical care was enhanced with efforts to hold down infections.
On the night of 20 November 1970, distant gunfire and explosive flashes could be seen on the horizon over the compound walls, approximately 10-miles distant. All prison lights were extinguished, and guards angrily pointed their rifles through the barred windows at the POWs. Their orders were stern: “Sit on your beds and do not move.” The POWs complied. The guards glowered with hate in their eyes. This was no time for any theatrics showing resistance. The POWs softly wondered why? The answers would not come until release, over two years later when the freed POWs learned details of the Son Tay Raid. In retrospect, if the Raiders had proceeded to their secondary target, Camp Faith, all the POWs in that camp would have been shot and killed.
Following the Son Tay Raid on 21 March 1970, the entire population of Camp Faith POWs was relocated to the Hanoi Hilton on 24 November 1970. The new camp within the walls of Hoa Lo would quickly be named Camp Unity.
Thanks to Scott Dillingham for his research and composition of the above introduction to the “Camp Faith POW Camp.”