50 years later, Operation Homecoming a ‘symbol of the last warriors’ returning from Vietnam (Guarino)

Operation Homecoming, which freed now-retired Col. Tom McNish and more than 600 prisoners of war from Vietnam 50 years ago this spring, was the best military operation of McNish’s 34-year career.

“Due to Operation Homecoming and the totally nourishing environment that it put us in immediately after getting out of that situation, we had a hardly noticeable incidence of PTSD,” the 81-year-old said. “All of us, with very rare exceptions, we have had exceptionally successful and good lives since we got home.”

The North Vietnamese shot down McNish’s F-105D Thunderchief on Sept. 4, 1966. Then, they imprisoned him for six-and-a-half years inside the Hanoi Hilton and other POW sites. That’s how he met four National Guardsmen — Col. Bud Day; Maj. Wes Schierman; Brig. Gen. James Robinson “Robbie” Risner; and Col. Larry Guarino.

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