Summary

A highly decorated naval officer who was a POW for more than 7 years during the Vietnam War. Later received the Medal of Honor.

Conflict Period:
Vietnam War 1
Branch:
Navy 1
Rank:
Rear Admiral 1
Birth:
23 Dec 1923 2
Abingdon, Illinois 2
Illinois 1
Death:
05 Jul 2005 2
Coronado, California 2
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Personal Details

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Full Name:
James Bond Stockdale 2
Full Name:
James B Stockdale 1
Birth:
23 Dec 1923 2
Abingdon, Illinois 2
Illinois 1
Death:
05 Jul 2005 2
Coronado, California 2
Burial:
US Naval Academy Cemetery 3
Annapolis, Maryland 3
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Birth:
Mother: Mabel Edith Bond 4
Father: Vernon Beard Stockdale 4
Marriage:
Sybil Stockdale 4
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Vietnam War 1

Branch:
Navy 1
Rank:
Rear Admiral 1
Enlistment Location:
Illinois 1
Award:
Medal of Honor 2
Date:
04 Sep 1969 1
Location:
Hoa Lo prison, Hanoi, North Vietnam 1

Other Service 2

Branch:
Navy 2
Rank:
Vice Admiral 2
Service Start Date:
1947 2
Service End Date:
1979 2
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Employment:
Position: US Vice Presidential Candidate 5
Start Date: 1992 5
Education:
Institution: US Naval Academy 4
Place: Annapolis, Maryland 4
From: 1943 4
To: 1946 4

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Stories

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while senior naval officer in the Prisoner of War camps of North Vietnam. Recognized by his captors as the leader in the Prisoners' of War resistance to interrogation and in their refusal to participate in propaganda exploitation, Rear Adm. Stockdale was singled out for interrogation and attendant torture after he was detected in a covert communications attempt. Sensing the start of another purge, and aware that his earlier efforts at self-disfiguration to dissuade his captors from exploiting him for propaganda purposes had resulted in cruel and agonizing punishment, Rear Adm. Stockdale resolved to make himself a symbol of resistance regardless of personal sacrifice. He deliberately inflicted a near-mortal wound to his person in order to convince his captors of his willingness to give up his life rather than capitulate. He was subsequently discovered and revived by the North Vietnamese who, convinced of his indomitable spirit, abated in their employment of excessive harassment and torture toward all of the Prisoners of War. By his heroic action, at great peril to himself, he earned the everlasting gratitude of his fellow prisoners and of his country. Rear Adm. Stockdale's valiant leadership and extraordinary courage in a hostile environment sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. 

POW and Medal of Honor recipient

Hanoi, Vietnam

In September 1965, Stockdale, then age 40 and an air group commander, was shot down over Vietnam. He was taken prisoner of war and sent to Hoa Lo Prison, where he remained for seven and half years, four of those in solitary confinement and two in leg shackles. As the highest-ranking naval prisoner, he was repeatedly tortured yet resisted attempts to use him for propaganda, even going so far as to disfigure his scalp, beat his own face beyond recognition, and slit his wrists in protest.

After his release, he was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1976 for “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.” Stockdale became one of the mostly highly decorated naval officers, with 26 personal combat decorations.

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