Most of those long-term POWs who were held in and around Hanoi were aircrew members who were shot down. There were others captured in South Vietnam and a few in Laos. Why Laos? The Ho Chi Minh Trail, the main supply route for war supplies to the Viet Cong in South Vietnam pivoted into Laos as it approached the DMZ which was much more protected by South Vietnamese and US Soldiers.
Soldiers captured in the South and Laos had a much higher death rate due to the harsh conditions in the war zone camps hidden away in the mountains and jungles of Vietnam and Laos. Less than a hundred who were captured during the Tet attacks of 1968 made it to the camps near Hanoi. These soldiers, almost all Army and Marines, were marched for weeks and months into the North and many of the prisoners died due to injuries, neglect, and disease. But they were never in the “Hanoi Hilton” system.
The Hanoi Hilton system was named such because the Hanoi Hilton was the primary interrogation and “in processing” prison for almost all those captured in the North. Some remained there for months and years, but most were moved around to other camps in the system for reasons only a typical bureaucracy would understand. Those who were POWs for more than five years typically lived in 5-7 different camps during their incarceration.
Those captured in the South and brought North were isolated from the Hanoi Hilton system in unrelated camps in and around Hanoi until after the peace agreements were signed. In this book, you will read the story of one of amazingly brave and creative Army officer who was captured in the South and made it into one of those isolated camps in the North.