United States Negotiates Release of POW's from North Vietnam through Operation Homecoming
Operation Homecoming was a series of diplomatic negotiations that in January 1973 made possible the return of 591 American prisoners of war held by North Vietnam.
On Feb. 12, 1973, three C-141A transports flew to Hanoi, North Vietnam, and one C-9A aircraft was sent to Saigon, South Vietnam to pick up released prisoners of war. The first flight of 40 U.S. prisoners of war left Hanoi in a C-141A, later known as the "Hanoi Taxi" and now in a museum. From February 12 to April 4, there were 54 C-141 missions flying out of Hanoi, bringing the former POWs home.
Imagine your imprisoned in a cage, imagine the cage surrounded by the smell of feces, imagine the rotted food you eat is so infested with insects that to eat only a few is a blessing, imagine knowing your life could be taken by one of your captors on a whim at any moment, imagine you are subjected to mental and physical torture designed to break not bones but instead spirit on a daily basis. That was being a prisoner of North Vietnam. Then imagine one day, after seemingly endless disappointment you are given a change of clothes and lined up to watch an American plane land to return you home. That was Operation Homecoming.