James Stockdale

js05James Stockdale spent his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam defying orders and doing everything in his power to stay true to his country. Stockdale remains one of the most highly decorated officers in the United States Navy, leading the U.S air squadron in the Gulf of Tonkin and earning 26 personal combat decorations, including four Silver Star medals. When his A-4 SkyRaider was hit by anti-aircraft fire, he was forced to eject from the aircraft and was taken prisoner upon landing. Stockdale spent the next seven years as a P.O.W., doing everything from beating himself up to avoid being paraded in public, to slitting his own wrists to show he would rather die than talk. Released in 1973, he received the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1976.