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Old 11-30-2009, 23:10   #3
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 3,751
They started to try to fatten us up with large bowls of potatoes laced with canned meat. No one else in the prison was getting it. As a result I told Doug we couldn’t take it. We could either not touch it and turn it back in; in which case the guards would eat it. Or we could dump it in the slop bucket so that no one could eat it without getting sick. Doug thought this was a bit on the scrupulous side, but went along with it. I told the Camp Commander that under no condition would I accept an early release even if offered and if they threw me out I’d have to be dragged feet first all the way from Hanoi to Hawaii screaming bloody murder all the way. It was time to cut to the chase. Doug would have to go.
Doug did not want to go. We finally told Doug that as long as he did not have to commit treason, he was to permit himself to be thrown out of the country. He was the most junior. He had the names. He knew first hand the torture stories behind many of the propaganda pictures and news releases. He knew the locations of many of the prisons. It was a direct order; he had no choice. I know, because I personally relayed that order to him as his immediate senior in the chain of command.
Well throw him out they did. The 256 names he had memorized contained many names that our government did not have. He ended up being sent to Paris by Ross Perot to confront the North Vietnamese Peace Talk Delegation about the fate of the Missing in Action. He entered the Civil Service and is today a survival School instructor for the U. S. Navy and the James B. Stockdale Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Center [SERE], Naval Air Station, North Island, Coronado, California. And yes, he still can recite those names! You can watch him do it on the Discovery Channel special on Vietnam POW’s - Stories of Survival.
A while after Doug had been released, I was called over to an interrogation. It was to be a Soft Soap Fairy kind of gig since there were quality cigarettes, sugared tea in china cups, cookies and candy laid out on the interrogation table. A dapper, handsome Vietnamese, dressed in an expensive tailored suit and wearing real spit shined wingtip shoes came into the room with a serious look on his face - all business. "Do you know Douglas Hegdahl?" "You know I do." "Hegdahl says that you were tortured." "This is true." "You lie." Rolling up the sleeves to my striped pajamas [prison mess dress uniform] I pointed to the scars on my wrists and elbows and challenged: "Ask your people how these marks got on my body; they certainly are neither birth defects or the result of an aircraft accident." He examined the scars closely, sat back, stared and stated: "You are indeed the most unfortunate of the unfortunate." With that he left the interrogation room leaving me with all the goodies. Upon release I compared notes with Doug and we determined that time frame was the same time he accused the Vietnamese in Paris of murdering me [I had not written home once writing became voluntary] for embarrassing them in a Life magazine bowing picture. Thanks to Doug, despite the scars on my body, the Communists had to produce me alive at the end of the war.
"The Incredibly Stupid One," my personal hero, is the archetype of the innovative, resourceful and courageous American Sailor. These sailors are the products of the neighborhoods, churches, schools and families working together to produce individuals blessed with a sense of humor and the gift of freedom who can overcome any kind of odds. These sailors are tremendously loyal and devoted to their units and their leaders in their own private and personal ways. As long as we have The Doug’s of this world, our country will retain its freedoms.
Additional excellent writings by Captain Stanton can be found here:

Last edited by Dozer523; 12-01-2009 at 11:18.
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