|Published: 10:33 AM, 09/30/2013
||Last updated: 10:34 AM, 09/30/2013
Author: Staff Report
Source: The Monroe County Advocate
The Department of Defense reports that
more than 83,000 service members, including more than 200
Tennesseans, are missing or unaccounted since World War II.
Gov. Bill Haslam designated the week of
Sept. 20-26 as a tribute to service members captured by enemies or
still missing. In honor of those men and women, the well-known
POW-MIA Flag will flew over the Tennessee State Capitol Friday
marking the start of POW/MIA Recognition Week.
Many facts and stories from previous
conflicts remain in the spotlight long after they have passed. One
that seems to elude many is the name of the longest surviving POW- Madisonville resident and USAF Airman First Class William Andrew
Robinson. If asked, how many individuals would even be able to
answer which conflict Bill was involved in?
According to the Armed Forces Museum
website, Bill's story begins on a typical mission day in Vietnam- September 20, 1965. By the end of the day though, the mission would
result in a life that was anything but typical. And while most POWs
have been interned for a number of years, Bill Robinson would endure
7 years and 5 months of captivity- the longest POW internment in
US military history.
The mission of the Huskie Helicopter
that Robinson and several others boarded that morning remains
unclear. The chopper was shot down, however, and Robinson and those
aboard were all taken prisoner.
Robinson was transported to what was
known as the "Hanoi Hilton Prison" by the North Vietnamese Army.
For the next seven years, Bill Robinson survived unthinkable
conditions. He was beaten, starved and often witnessed the death of
his fellow prisoners.
See full story in the Sunday, Sept. 28, edition of The Advocate & Democrat.
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