Kevin McManus, 65; Vietnam War POW

Kevin McManus, 65, an Air Force pilot shot down over North Vietnam who spent nearly six years as a prisoner of war and later retired as a lieutenant colonel, died of lung cancer July 31 at his home in Oakton.

Two weeks before he was scheduled to leave Vietnam, and two months after a four-day honeymoon with his childhood sweetheart, then-Capt. McManus was shot down northeast of Hanoi on June 14, 1967. He and his co-pilot, Edward J. Mechenbier, parachuted to earth and were immediately captured, bound and marched as war criminals through villages leading to a Hanoi prison complex.
They remained in captivity for five years and eight months. Both were released in February 1973.
On his way home, Capt. McManus told reporters at Clark Air Base in the Philippines that he had no qualms about leaving Vietnam and returning to freedom. “I’ve talked to my wife and she hasn’t changed, and that’s what really counts,” he said. He also said they “decided to have 16 kids — after that it didn’t matter.”

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