February 12, 1973 – April 4, 1973. To the 591 American Prisoners of War in Vietnam, and their loved ones waiting with anticipation for their return, these dates are very significant. Once a ceasefire with North Vietnam was agreed upon, American military forces withdrew from South Vietnam making way for their release. This deal became known as Operation Homecoming. While Operation Homecoming brought closure for many rescued within the confines of this deal, we want to acknowledge it did not bring everyone home. What was life like for those who were able to be put on a plane back to freedom?
We will find out as we share the first event of our Heritage Series to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Operation Homecoming. A special panel of former POWs will speak on their Operation Homecoming experience at the Museum of Aviation on 21 April 2023. As a part of the Heritage Series, we plan to offer future events honoring the anniversaries, missions, aviation, and the heroic airmen who made and continue to make our military great. Please save the date, we look forward to seeing you here!
- April 21, 2023
- 1:00 – 3:30
- Century of Flight Hangar – Building 2
- Free Event to the Public
- Listen to the Stories of America’s Vietnam POWs
- Questions and Answers Session
Free Seating Reservations – FREE Event
Speakers will include:
Brig Gen (Ret) James “Jim” Sehorn
Jim Sehorn is a Middle Georgia Native who flew combat missions as a Lieutenant with the 469th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat Royal Thai AFB, Thailand. In November 1967, and he was forced to eject from his stricken F-105 over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War for 1,917 days.
Col (Ret) Leon “Lee” Ellis
Lee Ellis received his pilot wings in August 1966 at Moody AFB, GA and was assigned to fly the F-4C Phantom fighter-bomber. In 1967 Colonel Ellis was assigned to Danang Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, where he flew 68 combat missions with 53 over North Vietnam. In November 1967, he was shot down, captured and held as a prisoner of war for more than five years.
Capt (Ret) William “Bill” Arcuri
Following B-52 Stratofortress Combat Crew Training, Bill Arcuri’s first assignment was as a B-52 copilot with the 744th Bomb Squadron of the 456th Bomb Wing at Beale AFB, California. He was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War in December 1972. After spending 55 days in captivity, he was released during Operation Homecoming on February 12, 1973.
Capt (Ret) Will Robinson
While serving as a crew chief aboard a U.S. Air Force Rescue helicopter, Airman First Class William A. Robinson was shot down and captured in Ha Tinh Province, North Vietnam, on September 20, 1965. After a brief stint at the “Hanoi Hilton,” Robinson endured 2,703 days in multiple North Vietnamese prison camps, including the notorious Briarpatch. As a speaker, he gives understanding of the difficult transition POWs face upon returning home and the toll exacted on their families.
Dr. Douglas Kennedy, Assistant Professor of History at the Air Force Academy
A SPECIAL THANK YOU