More than 75 unique artifacts from around the country will be displayed together for the first time. Highlights include the flight suit of Rear Admiral James B. Stockdale, the most senior naval officer held captive in Hanoi and the prison-issued pajamas of U.S. Navy Captain Jack Ensch. Additional artifacts include items from the Hanoi Hilton, remnants from a helicopter crash in Vietnam, letters sent between POWs and their loved ones and personal effects left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.
The exhibit is made possible because of the generous support of Sarah and Ross Perot, Jr. in honor of Ross Perot, Sr. Ensuring authenticity, Nixon Foundation Board Member Commander Everett Alvarez, USN (Ret)., who spent over eight years as a POW at the Hanoi Hilton, served as a consultant for the exhibit. Lending institutions include the Coronado Historical Association, Hoover Institution, the Perot Family Collections and the National Naval Aviation Museum. It is presented by the Richard Nixon Foundation and National Archives and Records Administration.
Fifty years ago the signing of the Paris Peace Accords secured the release of American POWs in Vietnam. From February to April 1973 nearly 600 POWs returned in Operation Homecoming. The Nixon Library is the official reunion site for the POWs and the grand opening of the exhibit is a cornerstone of the commemoration. One of President Nixon’s two non-negotiable conditions in his administration’s negotiations with the North Vietnamese in an attempt to end the Vietnam War, was the return of all American Prisoners of War. As he states in his memoirs, “...each POW was an individual to me, and obtaining their release became a burning cause.” This is the chance to hear their stories. Captured: Shot Down In Vietnam opens on May 24, 2023, for a limited time. Admission to the special exhibit is included with admission to the Nixon Library. The Nixon Library is open seven days a week from 10 AM to 5 PM.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day 2023, CHA members will receive 25% off admission tickets at any level of admission. All they need to do is show their CHA membership card at the admissions desk to receive the offer.