tv Book Discussion on Defiant CSPAN May 28, 2016 4:00pm-4:51pm EDT
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injured infamous prisons and the one who never returned. he reports how they were held in solitary confinement and faced repeated torture. this was recorded at the national aviation museum in 2014. it is 45 minutes. >> good morning and welcome to all of you. today for our discovery saturday series we have a special at guest, an author who has written four books and he is going to discuss the latest of those four
books. i have it here in my hand. it's entitled "defiant" -- the pows who endured vietnam's most infamous prison, the women who fought for them and the one who never returned. he's going to tell us about his book and then hes going to answer some questions and then he will be available to autograph copies of that book if you would like to see them. now we are privileged in the course of his presentation to also have some of the pows that are mentioned in the book with us here today. we have ross. who is sitting right over here, sir. we have ralph gaither who is sitting over here and scotty morgan. where is scotty morgan? scotty morgan right over here. are there any others? any others? [applause] listen, gentlemen.
let me tell you two things by way of introduction of our author. his name is alvin townley but i was given a copy of this book about a week ago. i thought well ok if i'm going to introduce alvin i probably ought to see with this book is all about. i have read several other accounts by stock dale and others relative to the p.o.w. experience in vietnam and i have had extensive conversations with admiral stock ale over the course of time both as a mentor and as an advisor at the navy
war college and i had the privilege of going through the hanoi hilton while it was still on active duty and seeing it as it is today which is basically a tourist attraction. i thought i probably ought to read it and the way i'm going to do this is i'm going to read an early chapter, going to read a middle chapter and then read the last chapter. it doesn't work. it doesn't work. it is a great book. it is written in a very captive capturing narrative style. it's the kind of book that picks you up and absolutely embraces you with the human spirit and our ability to adapt and the heroic measures that were taken by those that were captured and held for extended periods of time. but i'm not going to tell you about it and i'm not going to read the book. i'm going to let the author do that for you and without further ado folks alvin townley. it's an honor to have him here with us.
[applause] alvin: thanks general. what the general didn't tell you is he's a marine corps general and he didn't tell you was the reason he was only going to read three chapters is because that's about all a marine can do. [laughter] any marines in the audience by the way? we have one, two, three. first i want to say what an honor just to be here speaking for skyhawks which is a unique experience and i'm thrilled to have for former pows former convicts in the audience with us. everywhere i go i think the pows like to make sure one or two folks in the audience keep me honest. so if i mess up you guys let me know.
i want everybody to imagine for one second that you are a lieutenant commander bob shoemaker, 30 years old, you have a wife and a newborn son at home. you are at the top of your class at the u.s. naval academy. you're a finalist in the apollo astronaut program. you are a navy fighter pilot and for those of you who know navy fighter pilots that means you think you're the finest fighter pilot in the world. applause, there you go, maybe. sorry gentlemen. it might be a rough morning for you. you are 30 years old and you are flying these machines all of these jet machines around you. you think that you can control the uncontrollable because basically stressing in two and a because basically strapping into an a4 because basically stressing in two and a four or f. six r. f. eight is like strapping onto a rocket.
nobody can control that but you have the confidence to think that you can. you are in complete control of your world. it's february 9, 1965 the first day of the air war against north vietnam. you are 100 miles off the coast. it is february 9. all of those character traits and all that confidence, that is who you are.
this is bob shoemaker on february 11, two days later. being captured by the north vietnamese in a flooded field somewhere in north vietnam. in 15 seconds bob shoemaker went from being in complete control of his world and completely sure that nobody in the entire country of north vietnam could shoot him down. there was no way. that is what happened. he gets hit. he was trying to say me day and the recently got out the syllable may and realized if he didn't punch out he never would have finished the medication. he ejected under 1000 feet and his shoot opened at 35 feet maybe 50 feet and in training he learned to do multipoint landing so you disburse the impact of the landing several different body parts and you roll. he said he basically did a one-point landing right on his rear end and he fractured his back and there he was in north vietnam without his aircraft, without his weapons, without his squadron without his aircraft carrier without all those things that made him the world's best fighter pilot. so he is sitting there thinking about his situation and the
first thought that came to his head wasn't what should i do next or how my going to get out of this. he actually went back to a couple of weeks before he deployed and a life insurance salesman had come by his house offering to sell life insurance. and he declined and there on the ground in north vietnam he wished he had bought more. so that began his stent in captivity. he was taken captive february 11, 1965 and this really wasn't that big of a problem because the war was just beginning and we were the united states of america. there is no way the united states is going to leave one of their best fighter pilots in north vietnam as a p.o.w.. figured he would be home by christmas. that was 1965. he was there all of 1965 and he was there all of 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969. we have a new president. 1970. the united states begins withdrawing troops from north
vietnam or south vietnam rather and they began wondering is america going to leave us? the war is not over. what's going to happen to us? 1971, 1972, the pows did not come home until 1973. bob schumacher if you are still imagining you are bob schumacher that meant that you were in prison for eight years. eight years were you didn't know if you are going to get home ever but you made it through that and you were there with a bunch of other guys in 1965. these guys who you are with were state wrestling champions. the air force guys will appreciate one of the guys was they former air force thunderbird pilot. they were fathers, they were husbands, they were sons and they all ended up in the prison.
wherever anyone was shot down they would take him to hanoi and some of the pows here can tell you it wasn't a very pleasant journey. they all came together in while the prison built in 1800's by the french. the french have been in north vietnam for decades and the country was basically a colony. so for decades this prison held vietnamese captive, in the p.o.w. said when he came in to that prison you could almost hear the screams and the agony of 70 years of prisoners. so very quickly these guys realized the north vietnamese were trying to isolate them because from their own experience in this prison that prisoners could communicate with prisoners that were hard to deal with so they tried to separate
the prisoners and keep them in separate cells when they could. the pows realize this and they knew they needed a way to communicate where they wouldn't be of this it freely and talk with one another. they came up with what was known as the tap code. this was the life blood of the pows in vietnam. very fortunately a couple of pows remember this code from a coffee break conversation in air force school. schumacher and a couple of other guys were together in the spring of 1965 for just a couple of weeks and they realized they needed some kind of communication. they came up with the code called the schmitt e. harris tap code after schmitt e. harris. he noticed there were 25 letters of the alphabet so was taking out k and use c for k so now we have 25 liters -- letters. the deal was he wanted to send ross.
a message. let's say i'm going to send the letter b to ross. i'm going to tap once because beet is in the first row and i will tap twice because it's in the second column. my generation sometimes thinks we are the ones that embedded abbreviated text messaging. these pows were saying g for goodnight and tm for tomorrow great so they would sit there all day sometimes and tap through the wall and they might deal to get five or six words a minute but once they got efficient and if they guess the word coming through they would give a quick double wrap to the person sending the message and move onto the next word. that was the first challenge they had to overcome how to communicate. the next challenge abided by the code of conducts every military pilot shot down in vietnam had learned the code of conduct and
basically this correlated with the geneva convention for treatment of prisoners of war. the code of conduct basically said you were going to tell your enemy anything other than your name, your rank your service number and your date of earth. you certainly weren't going to make any statements against the united states. you were going to write any propaganda. you weren't going to sell out your fellow servicemen. so nels tanner who is ross. 's pilot it was one of his early interrogations. when the interrogator came in and started asking other questions about america nell said wait a second. i'm protected by the geneva convention. the interrogator said oh yes we know all about the geneva convention. we are just not going to abide by it. this is the situation these pows faced. they expected to be in a
situation where the enemy would honor these international agreements ended in a situation where the enemy would tell their families that they have survived , in a situation where they wouldn't be put under duress to give statements. that is not what they found. in late 1965, we don't know exactly why but north vietnam decided they weren't getting enough good military intelligence or good propaganda out of the p.o.w. so someone in hanoi decided they needed to go ahead and get some information. so a gentleman showed up. the pows never knew any of the names of their captors or their interrogators. they nicknamed them so there was eye, there was rabbit, there was cat and big hug. aviators can tell you what that means.
eye one of the most famous because he was the one that administered a lot of the torture. i want everybody to sit forward in your seats a little bit except for the former pows. i want you to put your arms behind your back and clasp your hands together. that was the first thing they did and they would ask you before this gets bad don't you want to gn this statement? don't you want to say that america is an imperialist power? do you want to say that this is an immoral for? that you want to say you were announced what america is doing? if you do we will give you some good food. we will let you play volleyball. we may let you go home early. you are an american fighter pilot so you are competitive and there is no way that you are going do these things. you are going to beat these guys so they say all right. now pretend somebody has ropes around your elbows and they're pulling your elbows together. can anybody touch their elbows? it's pretty hard, isn't it? your shoulders feel like they are going to pop out of your sockets in your sternum is going to pop open.
they still won't tell them. come on lieutenent lieutenent just signed his confession. we won't even tell anybody. trust us we won't tell anybody. no one will ever know. american fighter pilot and an american aviator are not going to do that. and in air force guy too. they are not going to do it either. if you complete your legs out straight in front of you imagine a pair of leg irons on your ankles. knees are flat against the floor, the concrete floor. it's a small room and they take those arms and they are ropes together almost popping your shoulders out and they pull them up over your head and they drive your face and nose down to your knees. they called it the rope check and at some point -- there is no
way that your body can take that. you guys can come out of the stress position now. imagine being in those positions for hours sometimes. sometimes they would make it so that that you would break quickly. every american aviator that did this was by himself so the first time -- time he signed a confession and gave more than his name service number and date of birth he thought he was the only guy that couldn't hold the line. these guys were just crushed. they would come back to their cells and through the tap code they learned that they weren't the only guys, that nobody could hold out so the pows came up with their own system. they had to figure out a way for them to return home with honor. they have to come up with a system that would allow them to deal with this new reality this
terrible brutal reality in a way that let them feel good about themselves and let them know they had done their best and they had done their best for their buddies. so they came up with a code, their own code. they called it back us. commander jim stockdale was one of the folks that helped come up with this. he was one of the leaders of the pows. and so back us and of course you know tap code now so you know there is no k and tap codes so baccus. b stood for don't bow them public. never let the world's cameras see an american fighter pilot bow in front of a captor. a stood for say off the air. unless they really work you over your not supposed to make any broadcast of any propaganda on the air. c was confessed no crimes. the north vietnamese never
called the american aviators anything other than a war criminal. from the second they landed they were a war criminal, war criminal, war criminal. commander stockdale wanted to make darn sure that our pows knew that they were not criminals, they were soldiers. they were never to confess to any crimes. and then c is for don't kiss up and don't kiss them goodbye. so don't curry any special favors. don't try to kiss up to these guys and whenever that was going to be when you go home and they didn't know what is was going to be. whenever that was every american should remember how terribly they were treated and never forget that. back us. the u.s. was the most important tenet of this code. the u.s. stood for unity over self. the pows knew to survive this and maintain a common battle line against their interrogators
they have to be unified. they had to remember that their unity was the most important thing that they should always have their brother pows in mind whenever they were being tortured, whenever they were writing anything. how could they support their brother pows and that is the way these men got to the situation by supporting each other. now there were four or 500 pows in north vietnam and maybe more times so there was a real organized resistance. jim was one of the key leaders in that resistance. but it didn't matter what type of prison he was in. there were several prisons around hanoi. his orders made it to all the p.o.w. camps at one point the vietnamese brought him in front of a tribunal and cat who was
the commander of the prison camps came up to him and said you have caused us a lot of trouble. criminals and camps miles away. know your orders. reeducation program set two years. jim stott dail said he never received a finer compliment than that. jim stockdale and his leadership team there were a lot of senior officers that the north vietnamese realized that these guys were causing trouble and they had to get rid of them. so they identified 11 pows most of whom are senior ranking navy commanders and they needed to kick them out of the hanoi hilton. the other thing this tells you is how to get kicked out of the p.o.w. camp. jim stockdale and jeremiah denton received the medal of honor which he accepted on behalf of all the pows when he came home. jeremiah denton became a u.s.
senator for the state of alabama and quite famously some of you all may remember this they put jerry denton on tv for a live interview and he did two things. one, he didn't say what he was supposed to say. he said what he wanted to say so he knew he was getting in trouble for that and he did get in trouble for that. but he also sat there and he blinked a lot. i think everybody thought he was just blinking because the studio lights were kind of right that jerry denton was a lot smarter than i am because i can barely talk and read the same time that jerry denton could talk and blinked torture in morse code again and again with his eyes, torture, torture, torture. george mcknight, george coker. george mcknight was a boxer from oregon. george coker was a wrestling champion from new jersey. these guys were like a molotov
cocktail. these guys were probably two of the most incendiary prisoners they had over there because the second they landed in north vietnam they hated their captors and they let them know it and they never let them forget it. in fact these two escaped. i'm not owing to tell you what exactly happens because i want you to read the book and find out that one of the best side stories of the entire p.o.w. era is what these two characters did and how they got out of their cells and how far they got. it's an amazing story. these two men were both commanders, squadron commanders, ended up being kind of the laurel and hardy the and frack of the pows. they were never more than 30 feet apart for almost eight years and for the first two years they never even saw each other.
they were just taps through the walls. jim mulligan and sam wallace and both made it out and today they share grandchildren so jim's son married sam johnson's daughter . and they now have what they collectively called the p.o.w. grandchildren. sam is now a congressman from the state of texas and was the elite solo pilot for the thunderbirds. ron stores is one p.o.w. from this group of 11 that didn't make it home. it was wrong. when you read the book and i want you to read the book not because i wrote it but because it's the most incredible story you will ever hear. when you read the story and you read about ron the kind of understand how terrible, mentally terrible that whole
situation was. nell tanner. nelson ross. they flew together. they were on the carl's ep they -- they were on the carl's sea. they got shot down. nels was not a senior officer but he ended up in this group of 11 and i will tell you why. and i love this story. they realize they were going to have to write this confession. they decided they weren't going to write a nice confession. they were going to write a subversive confession. nells could barely use his hands. their officersut who had protested the war and they mentioned one of those officers was clark kent.
the vietnamese didn't notice this. they thought that was just fine. a couple of months later they just use nells'name on the press release. they thought they had this great confession. well, they got a phone call from the united states other couple weeks later, and one friend told them that clark kent was superman. they came, they took nells along with these other folks to alcatraz. a little prison a mile north of the hanoi hilton, 13 cells, and i'm not sure why they left two empty. probably forgot to include a couple of these guys in there. and they lived -- these 11 guys lived for two years in nine-by-four foot cells.
so think about this. this is your world for 23 hours and 15 minutes a day. so nine feet is about that. this is about four feet. this is where those guys lived for two years. there were no windows. they would walk in this space. if they had enough energy -- they didn't get much food so they couldn't do pushups. or they were so injured this -- they couldn't do that. this was their world. all they had. they couldn't see out of it. it was cold in the winter. and it was like a furnace in the summertime. and they had nothing to do. so when i was writing the book i thought the worst part about being a p.o.w. might be the torture. when i told him i was writing the book, commander george coker said, why? it was boring?
i thought he didn't know what he was talking about. i got a friend who built me a replica alcatraz p.o.w. cell in my garage in my backyard. one night he came and kidnapped me. and i had a bucket and a blanket, a pair of pants and a t-shirt. and a little bottle of water, and josh locked me in the cell. i didn't think this was a problem, because i knew he was going to kidnap me so there was a key padlock, and i stashed a key inside the cell. so if it got kind of rough i could get out. and so that first night i probably had been in there for eight hours and i was bored and and it wasn'td, comfortable. i thought, i'm going to get a blanket and no one is going to know. i'm just going to take my key and open the little fielding
whole -- hole and unlock the padlock. i don't know what that's says but josh anticipated i might do this and changed the padlock. in a tiny way, a tiny way i got a small taste what it get like to be my age and taken as a p.o.w. and really lose control. you can't get out of the box you're in. the next couple of days went by and i was in the box. i learned what george coker meant when he said it was boring. it drives you crazy. you're trying to find a crack to see outside and hope the shadows move so you can have something that changes. when these guys got alcatraz, they left them there. they made them just sit there. forgotten. rotting away so these guys had to come up with ways to keep themselves occupied, and other p.o.w.'s did this in other cells. they had to come up with ways to
keep occupied. so they would tap poems to each other. they would build houses. sit there for days and tap each other find out, sam johnson, was about a billing contractor before he joined the air force, and they found houston how much lumber costs and brick costs and would build elaborate homes in their minds. bob shewmaker said his took a particularly long time to build because his chimney kept collapsing. they came up with ways to keep their mind occupied. and you know, again, remember, they didn't know when they were going to get out. they might not have gotten out had it not been for their wives. has anybody seen this flag, this emblem? this is one of the most extraordinary women's movements in history, and almost nobody knows it. the wives of these guys realize they had to take action to get
their husbands home. so earlier i asked you to pretend you're book shoemaker and then imagine you're civil stockdale. navy wife, four kids, your husband flying over north vietnam. a sedan pulls up at your house. a senior officer, his wife, and a chaplain, get out. they walk to your door. you know your husband has been shot down or killed. they come in and say, ma'am, your husband has been shot down. we think he is alive. we're not really sure. north vietnam won't tell us one way or the other. we'll try to find out. we ask you be quiet. don't talk to anybody about this. just keep quiet. don't talk to the press. don't tell anybody you don't have to, and we'll take care of it. so in 1965, you're sybil stockdale, military wife you do what you're told to do. you accept this, you trust the
government. well, threw in ingenious, you learn that the treatment for the p.o.w.s isn't very good. communiqué, you learn your husband is at the hands of people that are expert in torture and he is in leg irons for 16 hours a day. and your government is still not doing anything about it. so these wives started organizing before the country, before they had e-mail. before they had cell phones. they would spend hours and days on the telephone, talking with one another, and virginia beach, san diego, jacksonville, and organizing, and starting to put pressure on our politicians and our government, on the press, to talk about this issue and to bring their husbands home. they created an absolutely extraordinary movement that we still recognize today, and i expect a bunch of you all wore p.o.w./m.i.a.
bracelets at one point. there will over five million minted and people from all sides of the political spectrum wore them. vietnam was a tremendously divisive war. but because of this women, and this pow/mia movement, the country came together around the pows and around the men fighting, so for the first time our nation was in a position where we had to differentiate between the political goals of the war and the men who were fighting it. and these brave women helped our country do that. three of the founders of this national league of pow-miya families, were the wives of this group of pows known as the alcatraz 11. because of their work, all they did, in 1973, the pows finally were able to come home.
after eight years, bob shewmaker was reunited with his family. last time he saw his son, grant, grant's eight in this picture. last time he saw grant, grant was two months old. can you imagine that? but there has never been a situation like this before, and i hope never be one again. but their shared experience, there in the alcatraz prison, brought this group together. they stayed a cohesive group and to this day still keep up with one another, and one of the big -- selfishly, wind the biggest gifts this book has given me is getting to know these people. i never thought my good friends would be 80-year-old pows but that is what happened throughout this journey for me, and that has been so special.
when we look at this, it's important to remember that this story is not just about the alcatraz 11, and it's not just about all the pows. it's about the values and the virtues of the american military the values and virtues that make america what it is. when you think about this group of service men and women, prisoners of war in vietnam, you have to realize there has never been another group of american military service men and families that has endured more for longer, ever, in american history. and we should never forget that. the other thing to take away from this, is that any day, that you can open your door and walk outside, not a bad day. so, everyone, thank you for coming and once again, pows, thank you so much for being here, for your service.
[applause] >> alvin, thank you so very much. he has graciously accepted some time to answer your questions. if you have any. spend a few minutes with q & a. if you have a question, please stand up. because this is being recorded i will repeat the question so that it's in the recording. do you have any questions in the audience? alvin: that's right. this is being taped on c-span. so, check back with the museum to let you know when it's going to air. >> yes, sir. [inaudible question] alvin: i do.
>> excuse me, excuse me. the question was, what happened to harry jenkins? [inaudible question] alvin: i did. the gentleman flew long easy, which are experimental home made aircraft with harry jenkins. he was 6'5", they call him the ichabod crane of the pows, and somehow harry, this 6'5" of human, into an a-4 skyhawk. we're not sure how he did that. but he did. he always loved flying and came home and built his own airplane, in a garage, in a house i've been in, in coronado, and sadly he was killed in 1999 in a small plane accident, and his family has been wonderfully supportive of this, and i just -- it kills me i didn't get to meet him. everyone says he always had a
laugh and just very extraordinary. [inaudible question] >> -- every other year to oshkosh in the long easy, and he told me about this. he never told me about this pow experience but told me every year he to connect withis sons he would fly one in the front, fly from the back seat, and went up to oshkosh there in '99, and i flew in a couple months earlier, and on his way back, he landed at the high desert in arizona, i think around phoenix somewhere, and it was a hot day, very hot day in phoenix, and oshkosh occurs in late july, april. and he was overloaded in his long easy and was taking off early evening, and he was going down the runway and couldn't get airborne. kept going and couldn't stop the air plane and went through a
chain-link fence, and the crossbar of the fence hit him in the head and what's what met his demise. alvin: the great thing about these guys is they were all fighter pilots and stayed that way throughout their lives. >> absolutely. alvin: >> thank you for sharing that. >> thank you. another question. yes, sir. >> can you speak about doug hadnal at all? alvin: george coker thought he would be the youngest pow. he was just turning 23 when he got shot down. this is a former wrestler that escaped. but he wasn't the youngest pow because there was an 18-year-old seaman that got washed overboard. oops. and actually when he showed up in hanoi, everyone thought he
was a plant because they thought, surely, there's no way somebody is going to get washed overboard and end up in the hanoi hilton. well, that's what happen. so, doug henningle was there, and for a couple reasons they thought he might get to go home early. so dick stratton and a couple other commanders had him memorize the names of all the pows. and so he did. over 200 names. and in his mind, but he couldn't say them slowly. he had them to tune of "old mcdonald had a farm" and would say him so fast they had to debrief him over several days so they could figure out who he was saying in his presentation. it's an amazing story. he was one -- for some families like the johnson family, the jacobs family and rut ledge family, who still didn't know if sam or howie or harry were alive, when doug got home', he brought the first word to those families their husbands and fathers were still alive good question.
>> a question right behind you. >> me. you talk about survival and how they survived in isolation. i am sure you have heard about fred purrington and his way of survival was playing music in his mind. alvin: a great story. bob shewmaker, in addition to being a ph.d in our -- air -- aeronautics and a brilliant man, he was a musician. he got toilet parent and matches and laid out a piano keyboard. they'd roll it out during the day. and bob would also write music using bunter matches and e -- and toilet paper. so between him and his cell mates they would play music all day long, and alvarez, the first
pow, was in a neighboring cell. bob said, hey, listen up, we're going play you a tune. and so they proceeded to play on their piano, and after a couple of minutes he taps back and says, not bag for ragtime. they had to be tremendously creative. >> the picture you showed of bob being captured. is that a true picture or is that the one they tortured him for to go out and retaining propaganda picture of his capture. alvin: good question. that one ran in 1965 in the paper after they were released. they still had his flight suit. i think that's it. the torture of -- i think he played a different part in the torture scene. there was an east german film
crew trying to find some folks to play the part of american pows and tried to convince bob to do this, and bob didn't want to do it so they worked him over and beat him it pretty badly so he ended up not having to play the american aviator. but they did need the par of the american aviator. so with his face black and blue he fit the part so he had to play the wounds aviateddor, and the vietnamese had done the makeup john for him. that is very interesting. [inaudible] alvin: i'm going to double-check that. that's very interesting. and before we get dismissed here i want to make sure all the pows -- if you come up here afterwards, please. >> yes, sir. >> how was the story being received in the america today and where can i get a copy of
the book? alvin: i get e-mails from people. i got an e-mail from new zealand this morning. honest to god. a pilot in new zealand who had read this book, and had been moved by it. some people had wore pow bracelets. i i've gotten e-mails from people who wore harry jenkins bracelets, and it's been more rewarding than i ever imagined. we're already in our second printing. it's been out for a month. and america is just, i think, enamored in some ways with the story, which is so important because so many of us have forgotten what that period meant, what these men service men and women service men, and my general situation was barn -- born after the war. so we don't know the story of the vietnam pows. my mission is to bring this story a whole new generation so our country could never forget
what these men did. >> let me get you the mike. >> >> i know he doesn't want me to say anything, but i know this is about alcatraz. my husband was shot down and carried into china and held in iron basket prison for five and a half years no n solitary -- in solitary confinement. i just want that to be known. [applause] alvin: there are so many stories about the vietnam war, the vietnam period, that we need to know, and sadly we don't know, and i hope that other people will come along and share their stories, and then america understands what so many people sacrificed in a very difficult war, for their country and ultimately for each other, and what the families went through. one of my big lessons has been learning how important the military families are.
to the old enterprise of naval aviation or military aviation or armed service. i think it's something we always need to remember what the family goes through and how to support them. so thank you for sharing that and thank you for doing that. that's incredible. >> any other questions. ladies and gentlemen, let me add one more endorsement to the book. i personally read arguably three different accounts, three different books, on the pow, the american pow experience in vietnam. this is by far the most readable, the most easily understood, and the best account that i have personally ever read, and i encourage you to pick up a copy. i encourage you to pick up a copy and read it. you also had the opportunity to have him autograph it today, and i encourage you to do that. i want us all to give alvin another round of applause for
taking the time and writing such a wonderful book and such a wonderful account. [applause] alvin: thank you. >> the autographs will actually occur up by the book store over here. the flight deck shop. behind you. up against the wall. he'll be there to sign the autographs and you can pick up a book. ladies and gentlemen, thanks for coming today. >> thank you all. [applause] >> on history bookshelf, here from the country's best-known american history writers of the past decade every saturday. watch any of our programs at any ,ime, visit our website
chesapeake bay talks about the war of 1812 battle. he explores the reasons why the area was so vital to the americans and british. the u.s. naval memorial hosted this event. weber: i'm proud to have you all here for another of our office on deck book series. today we are welcoming chip reid to discuss his recent book, "lion in the bay: the british invasion of the chesapeake, 1813-14." it was published last autumn by the naval institute press. chip is an award-winning reporter and editor, and a licensed ship captain, historian and cold war veteran. that about covers it all. that's pretty cool. he has cover the wars in iraq and afghanistan, as well as baseball, international soccer and international piracy.