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Vietnam War

There are six Citadel alumni still alive who are known to have been prisoners of war on the side of the United States during the Vietnam War:

Cdr. Alfred Agnew, USN (Ret.) '62
Col. Quincy Collins, USAF (Ret.) '53
Lt. Col. William J. Elander, USAF (Ret.) '57
Capt. Alan J. Kroboth, USMC (Ret.) '69
Capt. Henry E. Lesesne, USN (Ret.) '58
Lt. Col. Glen Myers, USAF (Ret.) '64

Al Agnew
Al Agnew, '62

Home again on
April 1, 1973

United States Navy Commander Alfred Agnew, ’62, was shot down during a reconnaissance mission over Hanoi on December 28, 1972. Though he safely ejected from his RA-5C and was not badly injured, he was captured and held until March 29, 1973.

Agnew recalls that during his 91-day imprisonment at "The Zoo," he passed the days holding on to the hope of soon being released. Agnew was the last POW to be released by the North Vietnamese when he was returned to the United States on April 1, 1973.

He now lives in Mullins, S.C.

 

Quincy Collins, '53
Quincy Collins, '53
Collins at Christmas service at the Zoo in Hanoi.
Collins at Christmas
service at the
Zoo in Hanoi.

On September 2, 1965, United States Air Force Colonel J. Quincy Collins, ’53, was on a mission to destroy a bridge 80 miles southwest of Hanoi when he was shot down. Collins ejected but suffered head and back injuries, along with a severe leg injury, which left his femur broken in three places.

He was captured and, after having his leg operated on, was sent to the "Hanoi Hilton," where he stayed several weeks. He was then transferred to "The Zoo," where he spent the next five years of his captivity. There he endured torture, despicable food and little medical treatment.

The prisoners there were held in solitary confinement and learned to communicate through tapping on the walls. In 1969, Collins was transferred to the "Camp Faith" prison for a short time before being sent back to the "Hanoi Hilton," where he stayed until he was released February 12, 1973.

Collins lives in Charlotte, N.C.

William Elander
William Elander '57

United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonel William Elander, ’57, was shot down on his 42nd combat mission over North Vietnam on July 5, 1972. He remained in captivity until March 29, 1973.

Elander now lives in Sparks, NE.

 

Al Kroboth
Al Kroboth '69

United States Marine Lt. Alan Kroboth, ’69, was the navigator on an A-6 on July 7, 1972 when the plane was shot down. Kroboth survived the ejection but was seriously injured, suffering a broken back, neck and left scapula.

The Vietcong captured Kroboth and when he was able to walk again, he was forced to trek barefooted from the jungles of South Vietnam to a prison in Hanoi – a march that lasted three months.

Once he arrived at the POW camp, Kroboth’s condition worsened. He could not keep any food down, and his body was covered with skin infections. He lost 80 pounds during captivity and credits the support of fellow POWs and determination to survive as paramount in saving his life. Kroboth was released March 27, 1973.

Kroboth lives in Roselle, N.J.

 

Henry Lesesne
Henry Lesesne '58
One of his three daughters greeting Lesesne on his return.
One of his three
daughters greeting
Lesesne on his return.

On July 11, 1972, United States Navy Captain Henry Lesesne, ’58, was deployed aboard the USS Hancock flying A4Fs with Attack Squadron 55 when he was shot down over downtown Hanoi while flying an A-4 with Attack Squadron 55. He was captured and held in Hanoi for more than nine months until March 28, 1973 when he was released.

He returned home to his wife and three daughters on 1 April 1973.

Captain Lesesne retired from the Navy with 31 years of service. He lives in Ponte Verda Beach, Fla.

Glen Myers
Glen Myers '64

United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Glen Myers, ’64, was captured August 9, 1967 when his RF-4 was shot down while on a low-altitude reconaissance mission over North Vietnam. During his 67-month internment in many camps, Myers was subjected to many hardships.

When he ejected, he was not injured but he was immediately approached by a Vietcong soldier who demanded that Myers give him his Citadel class ring.

As he was parachuting down to certain captivity, Myers remembers thinking, "My job just changed. My job is no longer to fight; it is to survive. The survival instinct took over and you do what you have to do."

It was 2 1/2 years after his capture when his family finally learned he was a POW. He remained in captivity until March 14, 1973.

Myers retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1985. He lives in Culleoka, Tenn.

Complete listing:

Class Name Service Date of Capture
1953 Quincy Collins AF 2 Sept 1965
1957 Bill Elander AF 5 Jul 1972
1958 Henry Lesesne Navy 11 Jul 1972
1962 Al Agnew Navy 28 Dec 1972
1964 Glenn Myers AF 9 Aug 1967
1969 Al Kroboth USMC 7 Jul 1972