Vietnam POW seeks healing at infamous Hanoi Hilton (James W. Williams)

When retired Lt. Col. James W. Williams returned to Southeast Asia this past fall, to the site of the worst 313 days of his life, the last thing he expected to find was himself.

For a period spanning 1972-1973, Williams, a former U.S. Air Force pilot, was a prisoner at the infamous Hanoi Hilton.

As he walked through what’s left of the prison, now a propaganda-filled museum, someone stopped him in his tracks and pointed at a photograph on the wall.

There he was.

Tall. Handsome. Full afro. The only black soldier, he was leading a line of POWS, the last to leave, out of Vietnam.

“I had never seen that photograph before,” the Norcross resident told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Looking at it, I get a flashback, thinking about how happy we were to be going home. It was rough in there, but we knew that our day was coming.”

At the time the photograph was taken, Williams wouldn’t have been able to imagine coming back to the prison voluntarily. But, in October, he was one of a handful of Vietnam veterans who returned to Hanoi in a trip organized by Valor Administration, a Dallas-based group that supports combat veterans and their families.

Other Books You Might Be Interested In

Contact Us