At our 45th Reunion, the ’78 Reunion Prayer Breakfast featured classmates and recent Distinguished Graduate selectee Cecil Haney (29th Co.).
In addition to hearing Cecil’s testimony, a video of an interview with Vietnam POW Captain Eugene ‘Red’ McDaniel, USN (Ret.) by Mark Fox (18th Co.) was shown. Captain Red McDaniel was an A-6 Intruder pilot with VA-35 stationed at NAS Oceana and deployed aboard USS Enterprise (CVN-65) when he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and taken as a Prisoner of War on May 19, 1967. After spending 2,117 days in captivity, CDR McDaniel was released during Operation Homecoming on March 4, 1973. In the face of unrelenting barbaric and sadistic torture, Captain McDaniel remained a source of hope and strength for his fellow POWs by clinging to his faith in even the darkest of hours.
“There is no feeling quite like knowing you are in a strange country, surrounded by a people who know no rule but death to the enemy,” said McDaniel of his time in captivity. “Still, the one thing they could not take from me was my faith. There were many times in my lonely cell when my victories were known only by me and God.”
Following his military retirement, McDaniel and his wife Dorothy settled in the Mount Vernon section of Alexandria. He authored a book, Scars and Stripes, recounting his time in captivity and how his faith kept him grounded. Dorothy McDaniel published her own book, After the Hero’s Welcome, detailing her experience as the wife of a POW and advocate for nearly 20 years following her husband’s return. Captain McDaniel graduated from then Campbell Junior College, and was featured in a wonderful article in the Campbell University alumni magazine if you’d like to learn more about him.
Links to the five minute video shown at the breakfast and the video of the entire interview are below: