Air Force Col. James L. Hughes was captured in May 1967, and spent nearly six years as a POW. Years after his release, he said “It's a miracle I'm still alive. My captors told me the only reason they didn't kill me was because I was a useful bargaining tool.” (U.S. Air Force photo)
American prisoners of war (POWs) in Southeast Asia endured inhuman torture, political exploitation, filthy living conditions and endless attempts at communist indoctrination. North Vietnam treated U.S. servicemen not as POWs but as foreign invaders and criminals bent on subverting Vietnam's communist revolution. Most POWs were held in camps in North Vietnam, but some were imprisoned in South Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and even in China. POWs' families at home could not be sure if prisoners were alive or dead, and the question of POW treatment became a major public issue during the war.
Click on the following links to learn more about the Return with Honor: American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia exhibit at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.