lcs-8 uss montgomery - seaforces online

HOME | US Navy - ships | US Navy - air units | USMC - air units | International Navies | Weapon Systems | Special Reports

 

 

US Navy - Guided Missile Destroyer

DDG 106 - USS Stockdale

 

ddg-106 uss stockdale insignia crest patch badge destroyer us navy uss stockdale ddg-106 arleigh burke class guided missile destroyer us navy flight iia 

 

Type, class: Guided Missile Destroyer - DDG; Arleigh Burke class, Flight IIA
Builder: General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, USA
  
STATUS:
Awarded: September 13, 2002
Laid down: August 10, 2006
Launched: February 24, 2008
Commissioned: April 18, 2009
IN SERVICE
 

Homeport: San Diego, California
 Namesake: Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale (1923-2005)
Ships Motto: RETURN WITH HONOR
Technical Data: see: INFO > Arleigh Burke class Guided Missile Destroyer - DDG

 

ship images


ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2016 02 san diego
San Diego, California - August 2016

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2016 03
Pacific Ocean - July 2016

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2016 04 mk-45 mod.4 gun 5" 62 caliber
Mk-45 Mod.4 (5"/62 caliber) gun fire exercise - Pacific Ocean - July 2016

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2016 05 exercise rimpac
during exercise RIMPAC '16 - Pacific Ocean - July 2016

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2016 06 pearl harbor hawaii
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii - June 2016

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2016 07
Pacific Ocean - June 2016

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2016 08
Pacific Ocean - June 2016

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2016 09 mk-25 mod.2 25mm machine gun system
Mk-38 Mod.2 machine gun fire exercise - Pacific Ocean - June 2016

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2016 10 south china sea
Mk-45 Mod.4 gun fire - South China Sea - May 2016

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2016 12 mark 45 mod.4 5 inches 62 caliber gun
Mk-45 Mod.4 gun fire - South China Sea - May 2016

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2016 11
MH-60S Seahawk (HSC-14) delivers cargo - South China Sea - May 2016

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2016 14 busan korea
Busan, Republic of Korea - March 2016

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2016 15
March 2016

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2016 16 mk-45 mod.4 5"/62 gun fire exercise
Mk-45 Mod.4 (5-inches/62-caliber) gun fire - February 2016

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2016 17 mk-41 vertical launching system vls
February 2016

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2016 18 san diego
San Diego, California - January 2016

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2016 19 coronado california
Coronado, California - January 2016

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2015 20
November 2015

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2015 21 mk-45 gun
Mk-45 Mod.4 gun fire exercise - November 2015

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2015 23 rim-66 standard missile sm-2mr mk-41 vls
a RIM-66 Standard Missile SM-2MR was fired from the Mk-41 VLS - November 2015

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2015 24 rim-66 standard missile sm-2mr sam mk-41 vls
a RIM-66 Standard Missile SM-2MR was fired from the Mk-41 VLS - November 2015

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2015 22 rim-66 sm-2mr standard missile mk-41 vertical launching system vls
a RIM-66 Standard Missile SM-2MR was fired from the Mk-41 VLS - November 2015

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2015 25 san francisco california
San Francisco, California - October 2015

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2015 26
Pacific Ocean - April 2015

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2015 27
Pacific Ocean - April 2015

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2013 28 san diego
San Diego, California - November 2013

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2013 29 san diego
San Diego, California - November 2013

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2013 30
Pacific Ocean - November 2013

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2013 31 5th fleet aor
5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) - September 2013

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2013 32 5th fleet aor
5th Fleet AOR - September 2013

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2013 33 bridge helm
5th Fleet AOR - August 2013

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2013 34 mk-45 mod.4 5"/62 caliber gun fire exercise
Mk-45 Mod.4 gun fire - 5th Fleet AOR - August 2013

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2013 35 suez canal
Suez Canal - May 2013

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2013 36 mk-41 vertical launching system vls mk-45 gun
5th Fleet AOR - May 2013

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2013 37 suez canal
Suez Canal - May 2013

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2013 38 mk-32 torpedo tubes
Mk-32 torpedo tubes exercise - 5th Fleet AOR - May 2013

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2013 39 mk-45 gun
Mk-45 gun fire - 5th Fleet AOR - April 2013

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2013 40
5th Fleet AOR - March 2013

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2013 41 mk-45 gun fire exercise
Mk-45 5"/62 gun - 5th Fleet AOR - March 2013

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2013 42 mark 36 srboc chaff decoy launcher
Mark 36 super rapid bloom offboard countermeasures chaff and decoy launching system (SRBOC) - March 2013

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2013 43 singapore
Singapore - February 2013

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2013 44 china sea
South China Sea - February 2013

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2013 45 south china sea
South China Sea - February 2013

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2013 48
Pacific Ocean - January 2013

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2013 47
Pacific Ocean - January 2013

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2013 49
Pacific Ocean - January 2013

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2013 50 san diego
San Diego, California - January 2013

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2012 51 san diego
San Diego, California - September 2012

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2012 52 san diego
San Diego, California - September 2012

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2012 pearl harbor
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii - June 2012

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2011 54 san diego
San Diego, California - July 2011

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2011 55 gulf of thailand
Gulf of Thailand - February 2011

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2011 56 gulf of thailand
Gulf of Thailand - February 2011

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2011 57
Pacific Ocean - January 2011

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2011 58
Pacific Ocean - January 2011

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2011 59
Pacific Ocean - January 2011

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2011 60 replenishment at sea
Pacific Ocean - January 2011

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2011 61
Pacific Ocean - January 2011

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2010 62
Pacific Ocean - December 2010

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2010 63 san diego
San Diego, California - November 2010

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2010 64 san diego
San Diego, California - November 2010

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2009 66 commissioning ceremony naval base ventura county port hueneme
commissioning ceremony at Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, California - April 18, 2009

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer us navy 2009 65 commissioning ceremony naval base ventura county port hueneme
commissioning ceremony at Naval Bse Ventura County, Port Hueneme, California - April 18, 2009

ddg-106 uss stockdale destroyer bath iron works maine general dynamics
under construction at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Maine
 

 

USS Stockdale (DDG 106):
 
USS Stockdale (DDG 106) laid down on August 10, 2006, in Bath, Maine, by the Bath Iron Works Corporation. After sailing around the United States and through the Panama Canal to her homeport in San Diego, USS STOCKDALE was commissioned on April 18, 2009. Commander Fred Kacher was the first to take command of the destroyer.

On November 30, 2010, STOCKDALE departed on her maiden deployment to Southeast Asia. The deployment was a great success, and included visits to Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Cambodia, Guam and Hawaii. In July 2011, the crew received the opportunity to conduct exclusive missile testing off the coast of Hawaii. STOCKDALE and her crew returned safely home on July 22, 2011.

In September 2010 DDG 106 participated in a tactical manuevering exercises, as part of the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Carrier Strike Group, off the coast of southern California. In November USS Stockdale departed Naval Base San Diego for her maiden deployment.

In January 2011 The USS Stockdale maneuvered and conducted helicopter operations with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) destroyer JS Kurama (DDH 144) during a Passing Exercise (PASSEX). In February the guided missile destroyer participated in Cobra Gold 2011 with the Essex (LHD 2) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG). In July USS Stockdale returned to San Diego after an extended eight-month deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility. In September the guided-missile destroyer was off the coast of southern California conducting operations with the USS Carl Vinson CSG.

In January 2012 The Stockdale commenced a two-month Selected Restricted Availability (SRA). In June USS Stockdale pulled into Pearl Harbor for the in-port phase of the multi-national exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012. In November DDG 106 returned to homeport after completing a four-week Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) and Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX), in the SOCAL Op. Area, with the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Carrier Strike Group. In December the Stockdale returned to Naval Base San Diego after a week-long underway off the coast of southern California.

In January 2013 USS Stockdale departed Naval Base San Diego for a scheduled Middle East deployment. Later that January DDG 106 completed a three-day Undersea Warfare Exercise (USWEX) 13-1 in the Hawaiian Op. Area with other destroyers from the USS Nimitz CSG Surface Action Group.

 

James Bond Stockdale

captain james bond stockdale a-4 skyhawk 02
Captain James B. Stockdale shortly before he was shot down over North Vietnam - 1965

capt james bond stockdale pow vietnam 03  capt james bond stockdale pow vietnam travis afb 1973
former POW Captain James Bond Stockdale after he was released from war captivity - Travis AFB, California - February 1973

radm james bond stockdale medal of honor president gerald r. ford 1976  rear admiral james bond stockdale medal of honor president gerald r. ford 1976
President Gerald R. Ford presents the Medal of Honor to Rear Admiral James Bond Stockdale - March 4, 1976

rear admiral james bond stockdale us navy 07  james bond stockdale us navy 08 naval war college nwc
1979

vice admiral james bond stockdale us navy 09

james bond stockdale 10  james bond stockdale 11


james bond stockdale vice admiral captain decorations us navy pow medal of honor
james bond stockdale us navy decorations description
   

 

Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale (December 23, 1923 - July 5, 2005):

Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale was one of the most highly decorated officers in the history of the United States Navy.
Stockdale led aerial attacks from the carrier USS Ticonderoga (CV-14) during the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Incident. On his next deployment, while Commander of Carrier Air Wing 16 aboard the carrier USS Oriskany (CV-34), he was shot down over enemy territory on September 9, 1965. Stockdale was the highest-ranking naval officer held as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He was awarded 26 personal combat decorations, including the Medal of Honor and four Silver Stars. During the late 1970s, he served as President of the Naval War College.

Stockdale was candidate for Vice President of the United States in the 1992 presidential election, on Ross Perot's independent ticket.


Early life and career

Stockdale was born in Abingdon, Illinois and, following a brief period at Monmouth College (1946), he attended the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland from which he graduated with the class of 1947 (which was in 1946 due to the reduced schedule still in effect from World War II). Stockdale had promised his father that he would try to become the best midshipman at the Naval Academy. Concerning his time at the Naval Academy, he would later say "Plebe year of education under stress was of great personal survival value to me."

Shortly after graduating, Stockdale reported to Naval Air Station Pensacola, in Florida, for flight training. In 1954, Stockdale was accepted into the United States Naval Test Pilot School at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River base in Southern Maryland. It was there that he tutored a young Marine aviator named John Glenn in math and physics. In 1959 the Navy sent Stockdale to Stanford University where he received a masters degree in International Relations and Marxist Theory. Stockdale preferred the life of a fighter pilot over academia, but later credited Stoic philosophy with helping him cope as a POW.


Vietnam War

Gulf of Tonkin Incident

On 2 August 1964, while on a DESOTO patrol in the Tonkin Gulf, the destroyer USS Maddox (DD-731) engaged 3 North Vietnamese Navy P-4 torpedo boats from the 135th Torpedo Squadron, commanded by Le Duy Khoai. After fighting a running gun and torpedo battle, in which the Maddox fired over 280 5-inch shells, and the torpedo boats expended their 6 torpedoes (all misses) and hundreds of rounds of 14.5mm machinegun fire; the combatants broke contact. As the torpedo boats turned for their North Vietnamese coastline, four F-8 Crusader jet fighter bombers from the aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga (CV-14) arrived, and immediately attacked the retreating torpedo boats. Commander James Stockdale and LTJG. Richard Hastings attacked torpedo boats T-333 and T-336, while Commander R. F. Mohrhardt and Lt. Commander C. E. Southwick attacked torpedo boat T-339. The four pilots reported scoring no hits with their Zuni rockets, but reported hits on all three torpedo boats with their 20mm cannons.

On August 4, 1964, Squadron Commander Stockdale was, again, one of the US pilots flying overhead during the second attack which occurred in the Tonkin Gulf; unlike the first attack, which was an actual sea battle, this second naval engagement is believed to have been a false alarm. In the early 1990s, he recounted: "[I] had the best seat in the house to watch that event, and our destroyers were just shooting at phantom targets - there were no PT boats there.... There was nothing there but black water and American fire power." Stockdale said his superiors ordered him to keep quiet about this. After he was captured, this knowledge threw a burden upon him. He later said he was concerned that his captors would eventually force him to reveal that he knew this secret about the Vietnam War.


Prisoner of war

On a mission over North Vietnam on September 9, 1965, Stockdale ejected from his A-4E Skyhawk, which had been disabled from friendly fire after the mechanical malfunction of his wing-man's ordanance. Stockdale ejected and parachuted into a small village, where he was severely beaten and taken into custody.

He was held as a prisoner of war in the Hoa Lo prison for the next seven years. Locked in leg irons in a bath stall, he was routinely tortured and beaten. When told by his captors that he was to be paraded in public, Stockdale slit his scalp with a razor to purposely disfigure himself so that his captors could not use him as propaganda. When they covered his head with a hat, Stockdale beat himself with a stool until his face was swollen beyond recognition. He told them in no uncertain terms that they would never use him. When Stockdale was discovered with information that could implicate his friends' 'black activities', he slit his wrists so they could not torture him into confession.

Little did Stockdale know that the actions of his wife, Mrs. Sybil Stockdale, had a tremendous impact on the North Vietnamese. Early in her husband's captivity she organized The League of American Families of POWs and MIAs, with other wives of servicemen who were in similar circumstance. By 1968 she and her organization, which called for the President and the U.S. Congress to publicly acknowledge the mistreatment of the POWs (something that they had never done even though they had evidence of gross mistreatment), was finally getting the attention of the American press and consequently the attention of the North Vietnamese. Mrs. Stockdale personally made these demands known at the Paris Peace Talks and private comments made to her by the head of the Vietnamese delegation there indicated concern that her organization might catch the attention of the American public, something the North Vietnamese knew could turn the tide against them. The result could not have been more fortunate for James Stockdale at the very time he slit his wrists.

Stockdale was part of a group of about a 11 prisoners known as the "Alcatraz Gang": George Thomas Coker, George McKnight, Jeremiah Denton, Harry Jenkins, Sam Johnson, James Mulligan, Howard Rutledge, Robert Shumaker, Ronald Storz and Nels Tanner; which was separated from other captives and placed in solitary confinement for their leadership in resisting their captors. "Alcatraz" was a special facility in a courtyard behind the North Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense, located about one mile away from Hoa Lo Prison. In Alcatraz, each of the 11 men were kept in solitary confinement, where cells measured 3 feet by 9 feet that had a light bulb kept on around the clock and they were locked each night in irons by a guard.

In a business book by James C. Collins called Good to Great, Collins writes about a conversation he had with Stockdale regarding his coping strategy during his period in the Vietnamese POW camp.
"I never lost faith in the end of the story, I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade."


When Collins asked who didn't make it out of Vietnam, Stockdale replied:

"Oh, that’s easy, the optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, 'We're going to be out by Christmas.' And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they'd say, 'We're going to be out by Easter.' And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart."

Stockdale then added:
"This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end - which you can never afford to lose - with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

Witnessing this philosophy of duality, Collins went on to describe it as the Stockdale Paradox.


Return to the United States

Stockdale was released as a prisoner of war on February 12, 1973. His shoulders had been wrenched from their sockets, his leg shattered by angry villagers and a torturer, and his back broken. But he had refused to capitulate.

He received the Medal of Honor in 1976. Stockdale filed charges against two other officers who, he felt, had given aid and comfort to the enemy. However, the Navy Department under the leadership of then-Secretary of the Navy John Warner took no action and merely retired these men "in the best interests of the Navy."

Debilitated by his captivity and mistreatment, Stockdale could hardly walk or even stand upright upon his return to the United States, which prevented his return to active flying status. Out of respect for his courage, and out of high regard for his intellect, the Navy kept him on the active list, steadily promoting him over the next few years before permitting him to retire as a Vice Admiral. He completed his career by serving as President of the Naval War College, from October 13, 1977, until August 22, 1979.


Civilian academic career and writings

After his retirement in 1979, he became the President of The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina. His tenure there was short and stormy as he found himself at odds with the college's board as well as most of its administration, by proposing changes to the college's military system and other facets of the college, including the curbing of student hazing. He left The Citadel to become a fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in 1981.

During the following two decades, Stockdale wrote a number of books both on his experiences during the Vietnam War and afterwards. In Love and War: the Story of a Family's Ordeal and Sacrifice During the Vietnam War was co-written with his wife Sybil and published in 1984. It includes several letters sent between the Stockdales while he was a captured POW. It was later made into an NBC television movie, watched by 45 million people.

Admiral Stockdale was a member of the board of directors of the Rockford Institute, and was a frequent contributor to Chronicles: A magazine of American Culture.


Vice-Presidential candidacy

Stockdale came to know businessman and presidential candidate H. Ross Perot through Sybil Stockdale's work in establishing an organization to represent the families of Vietnam POWs. On March 30, 1992, Ross Perot announced that he had asked Stockdale to be his provisional Vice Presidential nominee Vice President on the 1992 Reform Party ticket at a news conference at the Loews Annapolis Hotel in Annapolis, Maryland.

Perot eventually re-entered the race in the fall of 1992, with Stockdale still in place as the vice-presidential nominee. Stockdale was not informed that he would be participating in the October 13 vice-presidential debate held in Atlanta, Georgia, until a week before the event. He had no formal preparation for the debate, unlike his opponents Al Gore and Dan Quayle. Stockdale infamously opened the debate by saying, "Who am I? Why am I here?" Initially, the rhetorical questions drew applause from the audience, seeming to be a good-natured acknowledgment of his relatively unknown status and lack of traditional qualifications. However, his unfocused style for the rest of the debate (including asking the moderator to repeat one question because he didn't have his hearing aid turned on) made him appear confused and almost disoriented. An unflattering recreation of the moment on Saturday Night Live later that week, with Phil Hartman as Stockdale, cemented a public perception of Stockdale as slow-witted. He was also often parodied for his repeated use of the word "gridlock" to describe slow governmental policy.

As his introduction to the large segment of American voters who had not previously heard of him, the debate was disastrous for Stockdale. He was portrayed in the media as elderly and confused, and his reputation never recovered. In a 1999 interview with Jim Lehrer, Stockdale explained that the statements were intended as an introduction of him and his record to the television audience:

It was terribly frustrating because I remember I started with, "Who am I? Why am I here?" and I never got back to that because there was never an opportunity for me to explain my life to people. It was so different from Quayle and Gore. The four years in solitary confinement in Vietnam, seven-and-a-half years in prisons, drop the first bomb that started the ... American bombing raid in the North Vietnam. We blew the oil storage tanks of them off the map. And I never - I couldn't approach - I don't say it just to brag, but, I mean, my sensitivities are completely different.

Perot and Stockdale received 19 percent of the vote in the 1992 presidential election, one of the best showings by an independent ticket in US electoral history, although they did not carry any states.


Final years

Stockdale retired to Coronado, California, as he slowly succumbed to Alzheimer's disease. He died from the illness on July 5, 2005. Stockdale's funeral service was held at the Naval Academy Chapel and he was buried at the United States Naval Academy Cemetery.


Legacy

In January 2006, the Navy announced that the USS Stockdale (DDG-106), an Arleigh Burke–class guided missile destroyer, would be named for him. It was christened on May 10, 2008 in a ceremony at Bath Iron Works. The ship was Commissioned in Port Hueneme, Calif. on April 18, 2009, and will be homeported at Naval Station San Diego, Calif.

On August 30, 2007, the newly built main gate at Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado, California, was inaugurated and named after Vice Admiral James Stockdale.

The headquarters building for the Pacific Fleet's Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) school at NAS North Island was also named in his honor.

In July 2008, a statue of him was erected at the Southeast entrance of Luce Hall (Naval Academy), which houses the Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership.

A luxury suite at the Loews Annapolis Hotel, the hotel where Perot announced his candidacy, was named in Stockdale's honor.

Electoral history

1992 election for U.S. President/Vice President - popular vote share
Clinton/Gore (D), 43.0% (370 Electoral Votes)
Bush/Quayle (R), 37.7% (168 Electoral Votes)
Perot/Stockdale (I), 18.9% (0 Electoral Votes)

source: wikipedia

--------------------

from the DDG-106 website:

With 26 personal combat decorations, he was one of the most highly decorated officers in the history of the Navy. His awards include four Silver Star medals in addition to the Medal of Honor.

On September 9, 1965, Commander Stockdale launched his A-4E Skyhawk off the flight deck of the USS ORISKANY, not knowing it would be his final mission flying over North Vietnam. Upon approaching his target, his plane was riddled with anti-aircraft fire that set his engine aflame within seconds. With no way to maneuver, Stockdale had no choice but to punch out from the aircraft, and he watched as his plane slammed into a rice paddy and exploded in a ball of fire. Recalling the incident years later, Stockdale said, "As I ejected from the plane I broke a bone in my back, but that was only the beginning. I landed in the streets of a small village. A thundering herd was coming down on me. They were going to defend the honor of their town. It was the quarterback sack of the century."

They tore off his clothes and beat him mercilessly. Stockdale suffered a broken leg and a paralyzed arm in the scuffle. A military policeman took Stockdale into custody as a prisoner of war, making him the highest ranking naval officer to be held as a POW in Vietnam.

Stockdale was taken to Hoa Lo Prison - the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" - where he spent the next seven and a half years under brutal conditions. He was physically tortured no fewer than fifteen times with beatings, whippings, and a form of rope torture that caused near-asphyxiation. For four years, he was kept in solitary confinement in total darkness. For two years, he was chained in heavy, abrasive leg irons. In violation of the Geneva Convention he was also starved, denied medical care, and deprived of letters from home.

Through it all, Stockdale's captors offered a promise of better treatment if he would admit that the United States was engaging in criminal behavior against the Vietnamese people. Stockdale refused. He drew strength from principles of stoic philosophy, which teach that a man should accept that which he cannot change, and focus his efforts on that which he can control: his actions and his emotions. Stockdale took these teachings to heart. As the senior officer in the camp, Stockdale was an exemplary leader. He developed a system of covert communication amongst the prisoners that promoted resistance to their captors, unit cohesion and morale. Unable to identify how the prisoners communicated, the prisoners increased punishments against Stockdale, but he continued to fight back by all means available.

When Stockdale was told that he was going to be paraded in front of foreign journalists, he slashed his scalp with a razor and beat his face with a wooden stool. He correctly reasoned that his captors would not dare display a prisoner who appeared to have been beaten. When he learned that his fellow prisoners were dying under torture, he slashed his wrists to show their captors that he preferred death to submission. Stockdale literally gambled with his life - and he won. Convinced of Stockdale's resolve, the Communists ceased trying to extract bogus confessions from him. The torture of American prisoners ended. Upon his release in 1973, Stockdale's extraordinary heroism became widely known, and he received the Congressional Medal of Honor in the nation's bicentennial year. With 26 personal combat decorations, he was one of the most highly decorated officers in the history of the Navy. His awards include four Silver Star medals in addition to the Medal of Honor.

After serving as the President of the Naval War College, Stockdale retired from the Navy in 1978 and embarked on a distinguished academic career. Stockdale served a term as President of the Citadel and fifteen years as a Senior Research Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. In 1992 he ran for office as the vice presidential candidate of the Reform Party with presidential candidate Ross Perot. Though unsuccessful, his campaign was marked by the same integrity and dignity he epitomized throughout his career. Admiral Stockdale and his wife lived peacefully on Coronado Island until his death in 2005.


Medal of Honor citation:
Rank and organization: Rear Admiral (then Captain), U.S. Navy.
Place and date: Hoa Lo prison, Hanoi, North Vietnam, 4 September 1969.
Entered service at: Abingdon, Illinois.
Born: 23 December 1923, Abingdon, Illinois.

Citation:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while senior naval officer in the Prisoner of War camps of North Vietnam. Recognized by his captors as the leader in the Prisoners' of War resistance to interrogation and in their refusal to participate in propaganda exploitation, Rear Adm. Stockdale was singled out for interrogation and attendant torture after he was detected in a covert communications attempt. Sensing the start of another purge, and aware that his earlier efforts at self-disfiguration to dissuade his captors from exploiting him for propaganda purposes had resulted in cruel and agonizing punishment, Rear Adm. Stockdale resolved to make himself a symbol of resistance regardless of personal sacrifice. He deliberately inflicted a near-mortal wound to his person in order to convince his captors of his willingness to give up his life rather than capitulate. He was subsequently discovered and revived by the North Vietnamese who, convinced of his indomitable spirit, abated in their employment of excessive harassment and torture toward all of the Prisoners of War. By his heroic action, at great peril to himself, he earned the everlasting gratitude of his fellow prisoners and of his country. Rear Adm. Stockdale's valiant leadership and extraordinary courage in a hostile environment sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
 

patches

 

 

| seaforces.org | USN ships start page |