RALEIGH — Three men who survived years of terror as prisoners of the North Vietnamese Communist government will share their stories during a symposium presented by N.C. Vietnam Veterans Inc.
Each will speak during the pro-gram American POWs and Vietnamese Re-Education Camps on Monday at 7 p.m. at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. Admission is free.
The event is sponsored in part by the N.C. Museum of History, N.C. Vietnam Veterans Inc. and the 50th Anniversary Commemoration Program.
•Cmdr. William (Bill) Tschudy retired from the U.S. Navy in 1981 after 20 years of active duty as a naval flight officer. When his plane was shot down during the Vietnam War, he became a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for more than seven years.
After retiring from the Navy, Cmdr. Tschudy worked in the aerospace industry until 1993, when he relocated to Raleigh and owned and operated Sunbelt Business Brokers. In 2005, he retired again and resides in Cary with his wife, Janie.
•Brig. Gen. Norman C. Gaddis spent 30 years and three months in the U.S. Air Force. Six of those years — 2,124 days — were in a North Vietnam prison.
The first senior officer captured, he was a prisoner of war in the infamous Hanoi Hilton at the same time as Sen. John McCain and hundreds of other men. Here, Brig. Gen. Gaddis was tortured, interrogated and then placed in solitary confinement for 1,004 days.
Gaddis was on his 73rd combat mission in Vietnam when his F-4 was shot down on May 12, 1967.
•Col. Hien Vo was a major in the Chau Phu District, Chau Doc Province, of South Vietnam. He served in the South Vietnamese military for nearly 15 years and was in a South Vietnamese Ranger unit in the 22nd Infantry Division of the 2nd Corps, 5th Infantry Division.
On April 30, 1975, Col. Vo’s unit was ordered by South Vietnam’s President Duong Van Minh to turn over its guns and surrender to the North Vietnamese Communist troops.
Col. Vo was imprisoned in Thu Duc, South Vietnam, and was later sent to re-education camps (prison camps) in North Vietnam, where many former South Vietnamese troops died.
About every six months, he was moved to a new re-education camp, where he received very little food and no medication. While he was in the camps, the Communists took everything his family owned.
Vo was released in 1982 and came to the United States in 1983. He and his family live in Raleigh, and he is a colonel in the U.S. Army Veterans Support Command.
Vo is a United States citizen and remains active in supporting the local Vietnamese community, as well as American veterans.
For information about the N.C. Museum of History, a Smithsonian-affiliated museum, call 919-807-7900 or access ncmuseumofhistory.org or follow the museum on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ or YouTube.