ORSON G. SWINDLE (R) V. REPRESENTATIVE NEIL ABERCROMBIE (D)
In November 1966, on the 205th and last scheduled combat mission of his tour in Vietnam, Marine Corps pilot Orson Swindle took off from DaNang in an F-8 Crusader to attack a target a few miles north of the Demilitarized Zone. Earlier that day, two Air Force F-4 Phantoms had been shot down in the same area. As Swindle began his bombing run, his aircraft was disabled by antiaircraft fire. He parachuted right into the enemy's hands and spent the next six years as a prisoner of war. "Within hours after capture, I found myself subjected to intense interrogation and then, after refusing to answer questions, severe torture," Swindle said. The North Vietnamese tried to keep each POW isolated to break his spirit, but Swindle and others managed to pass messages to their comrades by whispering or by tapping a code on the prison walls.
A quarter-century earlier, Daniel K. Inouye had returned to his native Hawaii after losing an arm while fighting the Nazis in Italy. Inouye belonged to the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, composed of Japanese Americans who signed up to prove their patriotism after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Known as the "Go for Broke" regiment, the 442nd was awarded the most combat medals of any unit in World War II.