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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

SCUBAPRO Sunday – How Elvis Saved the U.S.S. Arizona

Sunday, December 8th, 2019

The Japanese attacked on Pearl Harbor killed 2,403 military and civilians personal. A further 1,178 people were injured in the attack. 19 ships were sunk or damaged, and 188 aircraft destroyed. The efforts of the greatest generation raised all but three (The Arizona, The Utah, and The Oklahoma). 


The wreck of the Arizona immediately became a memorial. Passing ships rendered honors to the Arizona and her crew throughout WW2 and still due to this day. Proposals for a permanent memorial started as early as 1943, but not until 1949 did an organized effort began to take shape with the creation of the Pacific War Memorial Commission (PWMC). As the PWMC considered ideas to formally recognize the role of Hawaii during the war, which would include a memorial to the Arizona, Admiral Arthur Radford had a flagstaff placed on the wreck in 1950. He ordered that the colors be raised at the site every day. This modest memorial was later expanded to include a wooden platform and a commemorative plaque.

In 1958, President Dwight Eisenhower signed Public Law 85-344 that allowed the PWMC to raise money on the Navy’s behalf for the construction of a memorial to the Arizona. A fundraising goal of $500,000 was set and the initial response from the public was promising. An episode of the popular T.V. series This is Your Life dedicated to Medal of Honor recipient Rear Admiral Samuel Fuqua. (Then Lieutenant Commander Fuqua serving as the U.S.S. Arizona ship’s Damage Control Officer and first lieutenant, and was on board her during Japan’s December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor. Though knocked unconscious by a bomb that hit the ship’s stern early in the attack, he subsequently directed firefighting and rescue efforts. After the ship’s forward magazines exploded, he was her senior surviving officer and was responsible for saving her remaining crewmen.)

That initial call for donations raised over $95,000. However, the project quickly stalled as donations dried up. By the start of 1960, only $155,000 had been raised.  

“Colonel” Tom Parker read about the struggling campaign in a newspaper and spotted an opportunity. As Elvis Presley’s manager, he was eager to get a bit of positive publicity for his client who had been out of circulation for a couple of years after being drafted into the U.S. Army. Parker surmised that a benefit concert for the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial would raise much-needed awareness of the fundraising campaign while also demonstrating that Elvis still had drawing power. Elvis was not only pleased to be able to perform for an audience. He was a patriot who genuinely believed in the cause and wanted to help.

The PWMC accepted Elvis’s generous offer and began making arrangements with the Navy to use the 4,000 seats Bloch Arena at Pearl Harbor as the venue for the concert. It was the same arena that had hosted the “Battle of Music” the evening before the attack in 1941. The “Battle of Music” was a spirited competition to determine the best ship band in the Pacific Fleet. Although they had been eliminated from contention, the band from Arizona was present and played dance music for the attendees. They would never perform again. The entire band was killed in the explosion on the ship the next morning.

With the venue secured and the show scheduled for March 25, 1961, Parker set ticket prices ranging from $3 to $100 and announced that everyone would have to buy a ticket to see the show. Rank usually has its privileges. Still, Parker seemed to take pleasure in rebuffing admirals and generals who approached him about complimentary tickets. When he said he everyone had pay, he meant everyone had to pay — even the performers. Elvis bought a $100 ticket for himself then bought dozens more to give to staff and patients at a military hospital.

After a brief introduction by Rear Admiral Robert Campbell of the 14th Naval District, Elvis took the stage as hundreds of teenagers screeched in excitement. The King looked resplendent in his signature gold lame jacket with silver sequin lapels. He let out a brief yell of his own in response to the ecstatic audience before launching into his hit “Heartbreak Hotel.” All accounts state that Elvis was in peak form, giving an enthusiastic and energetic performance that included favorites “All Shook Up,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Are You Lonesome Tonight,” and “It’s Now or Never.” He finished the show with a rollicking version of “Hound Dog,” during which he slid across the stage on his knees. The 15-song set, and 45 minutes of stage time were among the longest of his career. The concert would also be his last for 8 years.

The benefit was a resounding success. Ticket sales accounted for $47,000 with additional donations ($5,000 coming from Elvis), pushing the total take to over $60,000. Funding for the memorial was still well short of its target. Still, the electricity of Elvis had generated the jumpstart the campaign needed. In 1961, Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye got legislation passed to secure another $150,000 in federal funds. Money began to flow from other sources. The combination of public funds and private donations (including $40,000 from Revelle raised through sale of model kits of the Arizona) reached the goal of $500,000 by September 1961 – just 5 months after the concert. The end of the year completed

construction on the memorial.

The U.S.S. Arizona Memorial was officially dedicated on May 30, 1962. Elvis certainly took pride in his role in building a permanent memorial to the crew of the Arizona. He made several visits to the site on subsequent trips to Hawaii. The memorial has reached its own iconic status and welcomes 1.5 million visitors a year.

Elvis did not forget the Arizona, and the Navy did not forget Elvis. When Elvis passed away in 1977, the Navy showed its gratitude by placing a wreath for him at the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial.

Much of today’s upkeep comes from the fundraising of the American Veteran (AMVETS), a veteran’s service organization that helped to secure around $250,000 in total for the memorial during the 1950s. The organization is responsible for the upkeep of the white marble wall inscribed with the names of the men who perished aboard the U.S.S. Arizona. In 1983, and again in 2014, AMVETS raised funds needed to replace the deteriorating Wall of Remembrance.

A Date Which Will Live In Infamy

Saturday, December 7th, 2019

President Roosevelt called December 7th, 1941, “A date which will live in infamy.”

Today is the anniversary of the surprise Japanese attack on the US fleet at Pearl Harbor. Sadly, we no longer even hold ceremonies commemorating that day.

We have raised generation after generation who take what we have for granted and vilify the sacrifices of our forebearers.

Every year there are fewer and fewer of out greatest generation among us. Let us always honor their sacrifices to keep America, and the world, free.

I’d also like to take a moment of silence for the 2402 Americans who were lost on that day, along with the hundreds more, who were wounded during the attack.

75th Anniversary of Menton Day

Friday, December 6th, 2019

FORT BRAGG, North Carolina – Seventy-five years ago, on December 5, 1944, the combined U.S.-Canadian First Special Service Force (FSSF) paraded one final time at their Villeneuve-Loubet camp, near the town of Menton, in southeastern France.

The FSSF was an elite commando unit activated in July 1942 to attack hydroelectric plants in Nazi-occupied Norway. Consisting of a headquarters, three combat regiments, and a service battalion, the unit prepared for combat with a rigorous program of physical fitness, close combat fighting, airborne, demolition, mountaineering, amphibious, and winter warfare training.

Commanded by U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Robert T. Frederick from July 1942 to June 1944, the FSSF earned the nickname the ‘Devils Brigade’ by the German Army for their aggressive night patrols defending a section of the Anzio beachhead in Italy.

Despite its effectiveness, a manpower crisis in the Canadian Army led to the unit’s inactivation. Having become a ‘band of brothers’ during combat operations in Kiska, Italy, and Southern France, the FSSF soldiers assembled at 1400 hours for a somber farewell. The order announcing the Canadian’s departure was read, followed by remarks from the commander, Col. Edwin A. Walker, the roll of the fallen, prayers, and a playing of taps. After the FSSF colors were sheathed, the order was given: “All Canadians fall out!” The 620 Canadian soldiers paraded, and received a salute from the Americans.

A Canadian sergeant from the 2nd Regiment remarked years later, that “It was the saddest day of my life, I think…Canadians were falling out that I thought were Americans and Americans were standing still who I thought were Canadians…There was no nationality in that bloody unit.”

The next day the Canadians boarded trucks taking them to ships bound for Italy. The FSSF Canadian veterans were reassigned to their parent unit, the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, or sent home based on overseas time served. Most American veterans volunteered for an airborne division, or were assigned to the 474th Infantry Regiment (Separate).

Commemoration of Menton Day on December 5, began thirty-five years ago when Army Special Forces honored its lineal connection to the FSSF. Over the years, various headquarters and units have observed Menton Day. Since September 11, 2001, some unit activities have grown to a week. Now, the 1st Special Forces Group, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, has a memorial wreath laying, physical fitness competition, range day, a U.S.-Canadian parachute jump, and formal ball with a noted guest speaker.

Since 2006, Canadian Army Special Operations Forces (CANSOF) in their distinctive uniforms, tan berets, and badges incorporating a FSSF V-42 fighting knife, are seen at Menton ceremonies in the U.S. These ceremonies keep soldiers of both nations connected to their history and serve as a reminder of a tremendous legacy. The 1st Special Forces Regiment and all U.S. Army SF groups trace their official lineage to the FSSF.


By Robert Seals, USASOC History Office

SCUBAPRO Sunday – Thanksgiving

Sunday, December 1st, 2019

Thanksgiving is a time when many people take the time to gather with family and friends to feast, give thanks and celebrate from the comfort of their own homes.

But during wartime, however, the Thanksgiving holiday is slightly different. During WW1 AND WW2 on the home front, people were encouraged to cut back on food items such as sugar, meat, fats, and wheat so food could be sent to troops fighting overseas. Many newspapers across the country printed alternative recipe ideas that cut back on food items, especially sugar.

American families were asked to grow their own gardens and use homegrown food in their Thanksgiving meals instead of buying food from the local food market.

The menu at Camp Wadsworth in 1918 included celery, pickles, olives, roast turkey with dressing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, salted wafers with cheese, bread and butter, pumpkin pie, fruit cake, ice cream, and coffee.


My first military Thanksgiving was in 1987 at NTC Great Lakes. A couple of years later, I would be in my second combat zone during the first gulf war, it would eventually be called Operation Desert Storm, but I first got there it didn’t have a name. I was stationed in Saudi Arabia on the border of Kuwait. Our meals normally constated of two MREs a day. But on Thanksgiving, we got our two MREs and a meal of hamburger meat that was made into spaghetti. We were some of the first troops on the ground and had nothing but two MREs a day since the day we arrived in late August. About two days before Thanksgiving, we had a Mess Specialist 1st class (MS1) assigned to our camp, his first role was to go around with our corpsman and make sure all the water we were getting was good for us to drink. We had bottled water until the commandant of the Marine Corps decided he didn’t want his Marines drinking Gucci water. It didn’t matter that we were not Marines because we got our supplies from them. So, we had to get out water from the fire hydrants and store it in water buffalos where it was heavily chlorinated. Once a week we would take turns going to the port of Al Jubail to get supplies and you could sometimes get a hot meal there.


Back to Thanksgiving. It was the first real hot meal we had had in about three months. It was one of the best spaghetti dinners I have ever eaten. I take that back – it’s one of the best meals I have ever had, period. It was a simple spaghetti meal with bread and bug juice (a Kool-Aid like drink), but I genuinely feel that the MS1 put all his heart into it. There was no apple pie, no football, no family — nothing you would think of as Thanksgiving. We were living in tents, abandoned buildings, and also Mil-van’s in about 110F heat. Over my 26 years in the military, Thanksgiving would genuinely get a hell of a lot better. Some of the ones I had while I was in Iraq, had just about anything you could want — from steak, lobster, turkey and ice cream. But still one of my favorite Thanksgivings of all time was in that tent during the first Gulf War/Operation Desert Shield/ Storm. Thanks to all support people who try every day to make places like Iraq, Afghanistan and other holes you might end up in, just a little bit better with food and other contributions that make being far away a little closer to home. 

The McRae Industries Story – Part 3, War In The Desert

Wednesday, November 27th, 2019

> When war broke out in the Persian Gulf, McRae Footwear shored up its workforce to deliver a new product. The desert boot was designed to stand up to the arid climate and sandy terrain of the Middle East.

Keeping out the heat

BY JULY 1990, times were tough for McRae Industries. The Cold War was over, military spending was down, and Defense Department demand for combat boots had ground to a halt. To weather the financial storm, company founder and CEO Branson McRae laid off nearly half of the company’s 287-person workforce and began to pursue other lines of business. It was the first furlough since McRae Footwear began making military boots in 1967.

“Many in our workforce had been with us for more than two decades,” says Victor Karam, who at that time headed up McRae’s footwear division. “Sending them home was heartbreaking.”

“No one wanted to see the U.S. in another war. But we took great pride in knowing these boots would make life better for our troops.”

— Victor Karam, Director, McRae Industries

Responding to the surge

Just a month later, war broke out in the Persian Gulf.  In response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the U.S. joined 38 other countries in an allied coalition, and laid-off McRae Footwear employees returned to work. Their orders? To produce a new desert combat boot for American troops.

“The government called us up to Philly on a Saturday morning, ” Victor remembers. “We were given a contract to produce 250,000 pairs of boots. Desert Storm came so quickly that our country wasn’t prepared to supply boots suited for the desert sand.”

Desert combat: The Persian Gulf War called for new tactics-and new boots.

As troops were scuttled to the Gulf, McRae Footwear operated at peak capacity, churning out 200 cases of boots a day, 12 pairs a case, until the war ended in February 1991. To meet the demand, McRae Footwear also subcontracted with three other manufacturers and relied on its recently purchased western boot factory to help fill the government’s order.

Following Stormin’ Norman’s specs

The war required ground forces to operate in desert conditions – an environment not encountered by U.S. troops since the North African campaign of World War II. McRae Footwear was one of four companies the government selected to manufacture the new boot, again using vulcanization to attach the outsole to the upper and create a bond of invincible strength.

General Norman Schwarzkopf, U.S. commander in the Persian Gulf region, served as a key advisor in developing boot specs. He found that the black, leather, and canvas boot originally crafted for the Vietnam War was not suited to desert conditions. For example, drainage vents designed to keep out jungle moisture were letting sand in, and steel plates in the soles that protected against booby traps were retaining heat.

Along with removal of the vents and steel plates, Schwarzkopf’s specifications for the desert combat boot were many: tan fabric, padded collar, leather ankle reinforcement,10 speed-lace eyelets for easy tying and untying, and a Panama-sole tread pattern on the bottom of the boot, designed to easily shed debris. Boots were also insulated to provide extra protection from ground temperatures that could reach as high as 130 degrees.

Strict specifications: General Schwarzkopf set a high bar for designing the new desert combat boot.

After the war, the government continued to procure desert combat boots from McRae Footwear for ongoing operations in the Persian Gulf, as well as for use in other hot-weather regions. The original boot formed the basis for the hot-weather Army and Marine Corps combat boots of the 2000s. Today, the boot is produced using a rubber Vibram Sierra outsole, providing exceptional shock absorption and durability.

Mutual appreciation: Branson McRae meets President George H.W. Bush, who led the nation through the Persian Gulf War.


SCUBAPRO Sunday – Ryan’s Orphans

Sunday, November 17th, 2019

For Frogmen, the battle of Tarawa marks the birth of the UDT and the start of a very long history for Naval Special Warfare. Because the Higgins boats that were taking the Marines to shore got stuck on coral reefs, the Marines would have to jump out in some case far from shore. More Marines drowned or died in the water from enemy fire then killed in the next two days of fighting. So, the Navy came up with the Underwater Demolition Teams to recon landing sights to make sure the Marines could land. 

 But for the Marines, it was another day in an already long history. The Battle of Tarawa was fought on 20–23 November 1943. It took place at the Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands, in the Pacific Theater of WW2 and was part of Operation Galvanic, the U.S. invasion of the Gilberts. Nearly 6,400 Japanese, Koreans (forced labor by the japenese), and Americans died in the fighting, mostly on and around the small island of Betio, in the extreme southwest of Tarawa Atoll. The U.S. had similar casualties in previous campaigns, like the six months of the Guadalcanal Campaign, but the losses on Tarawa happened in 76 hours.

The Battle of Tarawa was the first American offensive in the critical central Pacific region. It was also the first time in the Pacific War that the United States had faced severe japanese opposition while conducting an amphibious landing. Previous landings met little or no initial resistance. As the Japanese strategy was to let them land and attack after they let their guard down. (but that didn’t work against the USMC). On Tarawa, the 4,500 Japanese defenders were well-supplied and well-prepared, and they fought almost to the last man, exacting a heavy toll. The Japanese said it would take the U.S. “one million men 100 years to take Tarawa.” That is saying a lot for a piece of land that was only 3 miles long and about 800m wide. The Japs had fortified the island with about 500 pillboxes, four eight-inch gun turrets, and numerous artillery and machine-gun emplacements. A coral and log seawall ringed most of the island, and 13mm dual-purpose anti-boat/antiaircraft machine guns protected the beaches.  

On the morning of November 20, following a naval bombardment, the first wave of Marines approached Betio’s northern shore in Higgins boats. The men encountered lower tides than expected and were forced to abandon their Higgins Boats on the reef that surrounded Betio and wade hundreds of yards to shore under intense enemy fire. When the Marines reached the Red beach, they struggled to move past the sea walls and establish a secure beachhead. By the end of the day, the Marines held the extreme western tip of the island, as well as a small beachhead in the center of the northern beach. In total, it amounted to less than a quarter of a mile.

There were immediate issues from the start. The naval gunfire stopped at 0900, while the Marines in their Landing Vehicles, Tracked (LVT), were still 4,000 yards offshore. Because of the lower than expected tide, the Higgins boats carrying later waves would not be able to make it over the reefs in the bay. As the Marines approached the shore, they realized the naval bombardment had been rather ineffective. They started taking heavy fire from the Japanese as they made their way across the lagoon.

The first two assault companies, K and L, suffered over 50 percent casualties in the first two hours of the assault. The following waves were in even more trouble. Embarked in Higgins Boats, they had no choice but to unload at the reef due to the low tide. They had to wade ashore over 500 yards under heavy fire.

This was how the men of L company under Major Mike Ryan made it ashore. Rather than leading his men directly into the carnage of Red Beach 1, Ryan followed a lone Marine he had seen breach the seawall at the edge of Red Beach 1 and Green Beach, the designated landing area that comprised the western end of the island. Ryan’s landing point caught the eye of other Marines coming ashore they headed towards Ryan’s position.

As more Marines from successive waves and other survivors worked their way to the west end of the island, Ryan took command and began to form a composite battalion from the troops he had. These men would come to be known as “Ryan’s Orphans.”

On the beach, the Marines of 3/2 continued to fight for their lives. After managing to wrangle two anti-tank guns onto the beach, they realized they were too short to fire over the seawall. As japanese tanks approached their positions, cries went up to “lift them over!” Men raced to get the guns atop the seawall just in time for the gunners to drive off the Japanese tanks. Maj. Ryan’s Orphans and others had acquired a pair of Sherman tanks. Learning as they went, the Marines coordinated assaults on pillboxes with infantry and tank fire. This gave the Marines on Betio their most significant advance of the day as Ryan’s orphans were able to advance 500 meters inland.

3rd Battalion was severely mauled in the initial assault on Betio. Surrounded by strong Japanese fortifications, the survivors on Red Beach 1 would fight for their lives for the remainder of the battle. Ryan’s orphans made a significant contribution to the battle in opening up Green Beach, so men of the 6th Marine Regiment could come ashore to reinforce the battered survivors. Now reformed, 3/2 would take part in one of the final assaults to secure the island, helping to reduce the dedicated Japanese fortification at the confluence of Red Beaches 1 and 2.

By November 23, 1943, after 76 hours of fighting, the battle for Betio was over. More than 1,000 Marines and sailors had been killed, and nearly 2,300 were wounded. Of the roughly 4,800 Japanese defenders, about 97% were thought to have been killed. Only 146 prisoners were captured — all but 17 of the Korean laborers.

Maj Ryan was awarded a Navy Cross. Four Marines would be awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions during the battle — three of them posthumously.

The military learned vital lessons from the invasion of Tarawa. The organization of amphibious landings was changed, and by D-Day, they would be far more effective. The tactics techniques and procedures of using tanks and infantry together to fight a well-intrenched enemy and other lessons learned would be used for the rest of the war. To this day, the lesson learned on Tarawa is used for a base for all amphibious operations.

For more information, visit www.marines.mil.

Viral Filmmaker Honors Life of America’s Most Deployed Soldier Killed in Action

Monday, November 11th, 2019


On the 75th anniversary of D-Day, one of YouTube’s most popular filmmakers, Devin Super Tramp, traveled to Normandy with a team of Special Forces soldiers, veterans and Gold Star Mother Scoti Domeij, to document as they jumped from a WWII aircraft to honor the life of Sgt. 1st Class Kristoffer Domeij. Domeij was the most deployed U.S. soldier (14 deployments) to have been killed in action (Oct. 22, 2011).

The film will debut on YouTube on Veterans Day, 11/11, and will be sent to film festivals worldwide. We’d be honored if you’d consider covering this moving piece on service and memorializing someone who gave all to our country this Veterans Day.


“Participation in the 75th Anniversary of D-Day was a lifetime experience of lifetime experiences,” said Matthew Griffin, former Army Ranger and Co-founder of Combat Flip Flops. “A team of Rangers, Green Berets, pilots and filmmakers came together to honor a legend, Army Ranger Kris Domeij. We did this to memorialize his character, provide perspective, and honor the sacrifice of the thousands that lost their lives on D-Day to ensure freedom for the oppressed.”

“We took on this project not knowing exactly what we were going to capture or even how, but we knew it was the opportunity of a lifetime and that we had to be a part of it,” said Devin Graham, Director/DP at Devin Super Tramp. “It ended up being a more meaningful experience than we could have imagined. Due to the subject matter, historical locations, and the personal stories shared, each day after filming there was an immense emotional weight. It genuinely opened our eyes and changed our perspectives on sacrifice, family and gratitude.”

“While we by no means want to compare ourselves to the veterans we had the privilege to work with there, we chose Here Am I, Send Me for the title of the documentary feeling it not only represented so many of these soldiers but also fell right in line with how we felt when this project was first presented to us. Filming these veterans, and a Gold Star mother, and sharing with them this experience in Normandy, was an intimidating and overwhelming responsibility but we essentially raised our hands and said “we’ll do it, send us!” and we are forever grateful that we did.”

SCUBAPRO Sunday – Veterans Day

Sunday, November 10th, 2019

“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.” — President George Washington

November 11th, 1919 was the first observance of Armistice Day, it was created to honor the fallen from WW1. In 1938 it was made a legal holiday. In 1945 it was changed to honor all military veterans.

I wanted to share some stories of POW through the history of the U.S. There have been over 500,000 Prisoners of War held thru out the history of the U.S. Many did not make it home. I wanted to share this on Veteran’s Day as I feel they gave a lot more than most ever will. 

Prison ships of the Revolutionary war

During the Revolutionary, War prisoner were held on prison ships on New York harbor. They were held in some of the worst conditions, and at one point, 12 prisoners were dying a night, from diseases like smallpox, typhoid, and yellow fever. By the end of the war, 11,000 soldiers would die in British ships, more than were killed in all the battles combined (4,500). Many died a slow and painful death within the confines of the HMS Jersey and other prison ships. During the evacuation of New York, British forces abandoned and set fire to all the prison ships in the harbor. Eight thousand prisoners were still onboard when it was set on fire. For years after the war, bones continued to wash up on the Brooklyn shore. In 1902, while extending one of the docks, workers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard unknowingly pierced the hull of the ship. Her resting place was finally discovered.


U.S. Civil War- Andersonville

Andersonville Prison, formerly known as Camp Sumter, was a Confederate military prison that only existed for 14 months during the American Civil War. It opened in early 1864 near Andersonville, Georgia, and closed in April of 1965. The prisoner’s lack of food, poor sanitation, disease, and also praying on each other, made Andersonville the worst prison of the war. Of the 56,000 prisoner-of-war deaths that occurred during the war, 13,000 were at Andersonville Prison.


WW2 POW of the Japanese

There were more than 350,000 prisoners captured by the Japanese in the Philippines, more than half were native, the natives were dying at such a high rate, that the Japanese released them. They said they were releasing them for propaganda purposes. Over 140,000 allied prisoners (U.S., UK, Aussies, Dutch, Canada, and Kiwis) were held in the Japanese POW camps. Of these, one in three died from starvation, work, and punishments. The death rate was 27% compared to 4% of POW help by German and Italy. About 5 million Chines died in captivity; over 25 million died at the hands of the Japanese.  


Korea and Vietnam

As we started to fight communism, a new type of prison of war camp was encounter. Now, prisoners began to be “reprogramed.” North Korean, the Chinese and North Vietnamese guards, used extreme torture to try and “reprogram” the prisons. The most notorious prison during the Vietnam war was the H?a Lò, a name loosely translated as “hell hole.” It was nicknamed the Hanoi Hilton by the POWs. It is infamous as one of if not the worst prisons in history. From the beginning, U.S. POWs endured miserable conditions, including inadequate food, unsanitary conditions, and torture. Although North Vietnam was a signatory of the Third Geneva Convention of 1949, which demanded “decent and humane treatment” of prisoners of war, severe torture methods were employed, such as rope bindings, irons, beatings, and prolonged solitary confinement. The North said that since the US never declared war, they didn’t have to follow the Geneva Convention.  In 1972 jane fonda visited the Hanoi Hilton. While she was there, she called out some of the prisons as faking being mistreated and being hungry. She also posed on an NVA anti-aircraft gun. When she returned, she called out returning POWs “hypocrites and liars,” adding, “These were not men who had been tortured. These were not men who had been starved. These were not men who had been brainwashed”.