Vietnam POW speaks to 15th Wing senior leaders (Thomas Norris)

The 15th Wing opened Readiness Day, where senior leaders discussed maintaining optimal mission readiness, Aug. 24 here, at Hollister Auditorium, with a speech on individual readiness and resiliency from a former prisoner of war.

Retired Air Force Col. Thomas Norris, then a captain, was shot down Aug. 12, 1967, after dropping bombs on a bridge near the center of Hanoi, Vietnam.

Norris was then captured and transported to a prison camp in Hanoi, where he faced physical and mental cruelty from North Vietnamese soldiers, but found solidarity with other POWs.

Organizing themselves into a military structure, the POWs developed a way to remind themselves of the camaraderie they had in their units before they were captured.

“The military structure helped us take care of each other by giving us something that was familiar,” Norris said. “We used ‘Unity over self’ as our guideline to get through everything as a team. It helped us stay together and survive.”

Other Books You Might Be Interested In

Contact Us