Vietnam War POW to speak of experiences and military strategy

KINGSTON, R.I. — October 5, 1999 — Just six months after Porter Halyburton was deployed to Vietnam as a carrier-based fighter pilot, he was shot down and captured in North Vietnam. He was held as a POW for eight years, and moved 35 times within eight camps before he was released. As part of the University of Rhode Island’s fall honors colloquium series, “Legacies of the Vietnam War,” Halyburton will speak on the personal and professional lessons learned from his war experience and their relevance to military strategy. Halyburton, of Newport, R.I., will speak in the Barry Marks Auditorium, Room 271 of the Chafee Social Science Center on URI’s Kingston Campus, Oct. 12 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Born in Davidson, N.C., Halyburton attended Naval Preflight School in Pensacola, Fla. and following commissioning was stationed in Glynco, Ga. and Key West, Fla. while earning his wings as a naval flight officer. His first squadron was VF-84 flying the F-4B fighter. In May of 1965 they left for Vietnam aboard the aircraft carrier Independence. During the following six months, Halyburton flew 75 combat missions over Vietnam before he was shot down and captured on Oct. 17, 1965. He was the 40th American prisoner taken in North Vietnam. The number of American soldiers imprisoned would later reach 600 before the end of the war. After his capture, he was listed as killed in action, and his hometown held a memorial service in his honor. A year and a half later, a Vietnamese informant revealed that Halyburton was still alive and his status was upgraded to prisoner of war. In February of 1973 he was released following the signing of the Paris Peace Accords. Upon his return to the United States, Halyburton was assigned to the Naval ROTC Unit at Georgia Tech. During this time, he finished his graduate studies in Journalism at the University of Georgia. Halyburton was then assigned to the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., where he has been on the faculty since his retirement from active naval service as a commander in 1984. Halyburton’s military decorations include the Silver Star, three Purple Hearts, the Legion of Merit, three Bronze Stars, seven Air Medals, a Navy Commendation Medal, and the POW Medal. The Department of the Navy awarded him the Meritorious Civilian Service Award. Currently, Halyburton serves as chairman of the Blithewold Advisory Council of Blithewold Mansion and Gardens, vice-chairman of the Heritage Trust of Rhode Island, and President of the Delta Group. He is a guest lecturer at Brown University. He has served as president of the DeKalb Council for the Arts, and was chairman of the Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities. URI’s Colloquium series runs Tuesday nights from 7:30 to 9 p.m. and is free and open to the public. x-x-x For More Information: Jan Sawyer, 401-874-2116