The Marine who was held longest as a Vietnam POW has passed away (Harlan Chapman)

When Lt. Col. Harlan Chapman arrived in Hawaii  after his release from seven years in North Vietnamese prisoner of war camps,  Marine Lt. Gen. Louis Wilson was there to meet him. 

“Welcome back to the Marine Corps,” Wilson told Chapman.

“Thank you, general,” Chapman replied, “But I never left.”

Chapman spent more time as a prisoner of war than any other Marine held in captivity during the Vietnam War, according to an official Marine Corps history of the conflict (the longest-held American of the war was an Army Special Forces officer, Col. Floyd James Thompson who spent nine years in captivity).

On May 6, Chapman died at the age of 89, his family told Task & Purpose on Friday. The Marine aviator’s military awards include the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with “V” device, and Prisoner of War Medal.

“Despite extreme cruelties during interrogation periods and severe maltreatment on a continual basis, Lieutenant Colonel Chapman distinguished himself by his indomitable spirit and dogged tenacity,” his Silver Star citation reads. “Refusing to provide the enemy with information, even that of a biographical nature, he aroused the increased wrath of his captors.”

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