“Long-Term Non-Specific Optimism”: Surviving The Hanoi Hilton (Porter Halyburton)

Porter Halyburton was born in 1941 and grew up in Davidson, North Carolina, with his grandparents because his parents divorced when he was young. His grandfather taught at Davidson, and Porter later attended that university. He enjoyed sports and being outdoors, often roaming the area around Davidson with a .22 rifle and a slingshot. His mother sent him to Sewanee Military Academy to better prepare him for Davidson, where he majored in English literature. His got engaged to his wife Marty after he graduated from college (she had attended Queens College in Charlotte) and they were married in December 1963. Porter had received ROTC credit for attending Sewanee and did not have to take ROTC in college. However, after graduation, when many of his friends were commissioning, he decided to join the Navy and was attracted to Naval Aviation. He trained as a RIO (Radar Intercept Officer) on the F-4 Phantom. In 1965, when his daughter Dabney was five days old, he deployed aboard USS Independence to the South China Sea off the coast of Vietnam.

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