7 July 2005
Vice Adm. James B. Stockdale, 15th president of The Citadel, dies on July 5Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale, the 15th president of The Citadel and a decorated Naval aviator, senior Navy Prisoner of War in Vietnam, Medal of Honor recipient and author, died on July 5 at his home on Coronado, Calif. He was 81.
Stockdale served as president of The Citadel from Aug. 28, 1979 until Aug. 18, 1980.
A native of Abingdon, Ill., Stockdale graduated from the Naval Academy in the Class of 1947. He is best remembered for his leadership as the senior naval officer taken as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War.
According to a Department of Defense news release, Stockdale was imprisoned for 7 and a half years during which time he was tortured, forced to wear heavy leg irons and spent four years in solitary confinement. He organized fellow prisoners to be defiant of their North Vietnamese captors by developing a secret code they could use to communicate and gain a sense of solidarity. He was released in 1973 and received the Medal of Honor in 1976 for his extraordinary heroism.
According to the Medal of Honor citation, Stockdale "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 their employment of excessive harassment and torture of all prisoners of war."
He succeeded Lt. Gen. George Seignious II as the 15th president and held that office almost one year.
After leaving The Citadel, Stockdale and his wife, Sibyl, co-authored a book later made into a movie about the family's ordeal during the Vietnam War years.
In 1992, Stockdale returned to the national scene as Ross Perots running mate in his unsuccessful bid as an independent presidential candidate.
Stockdale is survived by his wife, Sybil, of Coronado, Calif. and four sons: James of Beaver, Pa.; Sydney of Alburqueque, N.M.; Stanford of Denver, Colo.; Taylor of Claremont, Calif.; and eight grandchildren.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation, 291 Wood Rd., Beach Hall, Annapolis, Md. 21402, telephone 410.295.4116 or the Monmouth College Fund, 700 E. Broadway, Monmouth, Ill., 61642, telephone: 309.457.2316.