American airman Dewey Wayne Waddell, held prisoner in Vietnam, 1967

Downed US Airman Davy Waddell was taken prisoner by Vietnamese communist fighters in 1967, and was released in 1973. A photo taken by GDR war correspondent Thomas Bilhart shows a female guerrilla holding an American soldier captive and leading him down a country road.

The picture was made for propaganda purposes, so a really small woman was used as a guard to make the captured airman look more ruthless. Photographer Billhart met Davy Waddell in 1998. Waddell told him that the photo had left his family and the U.S. has made a positive impact on their lives by helping them to know that they are alive.

North Vietnam's dealings with American airmen in invaded and occupied North Vietnam was the subject of controversy and concern throughout the Vietnam War.

From the beginning of the war, North Vietnam's stated position was that American prisoners captured in North Vietnam were "war criminals" who had committed crimes against the North Vietnamese people during an illegal war of invasion and were therefore American prisoners of the Geneva Convention. are not entitled to the privileges and rights granted to prisoners of war (POWs) under the terms of the

The Vietnamese were accused of brutally torturing their captives – beating them with fists, clubs, and rifle butts, hitting them with rubber whips, and severing their joints in an attempt to uncover information about American military operations. pull with a rope.

The Americans were forced to record taped "confessions" of war crimes against the Vietnamese people and to write letters urging the Americans at home to end the war. Poor food and medical care were the standard.

In addition to being denied communication with family members, prisoners were often isolated to prevent communication between each other. American prisoners were sometimes killed in captivity, from wounds sustained in battle, or at the hands of their captives.

On January 27, 1973 in Paris, American and Vietnamese representatives signed agreements for the cessation of hostilities and the repatriation of prisoners of war. Operation Homecoming began the following month and ended in April.

During that period, 591 American P.O.W. returned home. Representatives of the US military returned for information on the more than 2,000 Americans still listed as missing.

According to the government, none of the PoWs was able to provide definitive information about any remaining detainees. Both the Nixon administration and the Vietnamese government concluded that all surviving P.O.W./MI.A. has been returned.

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