Former POW inspires audience with experiences, wisdom (David Hoffman)

Members of Ramstein Air Base honored prisoners of war and those missing in action at a luncheon Sept. 17 here.

Members of the 435th Air Ground Operations Wing hosted the event in remembrance of National POW/MIA Recognition Day, featuring guest speaker retired Navy Capt. David Hoffman.

“Thank you for that very warm welcome; I can’t wait to hear what I’m going to say,” said Captain Hoffman, who was a POW in Vietnam for 15 months, setting the light tone for the event.

Captain Hoffman chronicled his experience while held in Hanoi, Vietnam, by describing how his aircraft tail was blown off 25,000 feet above northern Vietnam. He broke his arm when he ejected and was shot through his foot as he descended in his parachute.

Once in North Vietnamese captivity, his time was less than comfortable as he was almost immediately chained to a plank and put in isolation.

The Naval Academy graduate said for breakfast, they were given half a cup of powdered milk and half a baguette. The other meal consisted of soup — either pumpkin or cabbage boiled in water, depending on the time of year.

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