Vietnam PoW for more than seven years (John Reynolds)

Jon A. Reynolds, a retired U.S. air force brigadier-general who spent more than seven years as a prisoner of war after his plane was shot down over North Vietnam in 1965, died April 16 at his home in Bethesda, Md. He was 84.

The cause was lung cancer. Reynolds was on his second tour of duty when his F-105 Thunderchief was struck on Nov. 28, 1965.

He was captured and taken to the “Hanoi Hilton,” the first of nine prison camps in which he was held. His injuries, which included a fractured jaw and two broken shoulders, were so severe that he could not feed or clean himself.

The prisoners could communicate by tapping on walls. One asked Reynolds why guards entered his cell several times a day. Only then did he explain the guards were feeding him.

Not long afterward, Reynolds’s captors tried to get him to denounce the war in a letter. When he refused, he was denied food for eight days.

Through wall-tapping, he was told to wait in his cell until the guard fell asleep. A fellow PoW, Robert “Percy” Purcell, would arrange to get him some food.

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